Latest Blog Post

Read the latest article written by EPPIA members, published in the Eden Prairie News.

Becoming a Dementia Friendly Community

Dementia is an unfortunate growing trend, and it’s time to do something about it!

Over 50 million people worldwide are living with Alzheimer’s and other degenerative brain diseases. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia: a group of symptoms that describes a decline in mental ability and memory loss. In Minnesota alone, it is estimated that more than 92,000 older adults have Alzheimer’s. That number will increase to 120,000 by 2025, according to projections by the Alzheimer’s Association. As life expectancies continue to rise, the risk of dementia also grows and it is likely to touch everyone’s life in one way or another. ‘Dementia friendly communities’ can help. They are designed to change the way people see dementia, and how they treat those affected by this disease.

What is a ‘dementia friendly community’?
Minnesota is leading the way as one of the first states to adopt the concept of a ‘dementia friendly community’. This concept originated in the UK, where a 50 year old man diagnosed with mild dementia experienced rude treatment while out shopping. With the support and help of his family, he set out to expand awareness and have businesses, restaurants, streets, etc., see through the eyes of a person with dementia. His belief was that when the dementia worsens, a ‘dementia friendly community’ would be able to provide more understanding, support and care for their neighbors who struggle dealing with their loss of independence, loss of memories and more. Ultimately, a ‘dementia friendly community’ helps those with dementia keep much of their independence and helps them remain a part of the community.

Simple ways to become a ‘dementia friendly community’
As the population continues to age, so does the likelihood of dementia occurring among friends, families, neighbors, and co-workers. Many individuals go undiagnosed because they are frightened by the label and stigma of dementia. By taking steps to increase awareness and by paying attention to early warning signs, there are ways to show recognition and handle potentially stressful situations:

  • Use “compassion cards” – business cards that alert restaurant servers, clerks and others to show patience for the person with dementia.
  • Experience a ‘hands on’ dementia simulation – garbing up and experiencing what it’s like to have dementia. Many organizations provide this powerful tool to increase understanding of those afflicted.
  • Create simpler, easier to read signage in public places to minimize possible confusion.
  • Participate in a “Memory Café” setting to have those diagnosed with memory loss and their care partners engage with peers in a relaxed and friendly environment.
  • Provide memory aids and simplified instructions for tasks. Encourage trained team co-worker involvement and support in the workplace.
  • Attend caregiver education classes and support groups; many of these are offered free of charge.

Resources and support
Three outstanding resources are available that will help make communities more ‘dementia friendly’. Many of these resources are free -- and all are practical:

Have some HOPE
Making communities dementia friendly means improving quality of life for people with dementia, their families, caregivers, friends, neighbors and co-workers; and encouraging them to have HOPE:

H – Have patience. Be kind and friendly. Don’t rush things.
O – Offer assistance. Keep what you say simple and specific.
P – Participate. Encourage involvement, engagement and provide support.
E – Educate yourself. Learn more about dementia’s early warning signs.

Lori Gerval, Director of Marketing at All Saints Senior Living, Shakopee, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at

Ready, Set, Sell Your Home!

As winter is upon us it is exciting and a bit overwhelming to think of getting your house ready for the spring real estate market. We often think “How will I ever get there from here?”

With the right help and frame of mind, you will be ready to sell and looking forward to a new home; one that will better suit your lifestyle and needs. You will want to present your home in the best possible light to get the highest price and sell in the least amount of time. In order to not get overwhelmed as you prepare, it is best to work in steps.

Choose a Professional Real Estate Agent Early On. You may wish to interview a few to find the right one to partner with. They come with multiple levels of services.

Tip Alert: Choose a Realtor that will not only list your house, but one that will partner with you to bring resources and ideas on how to easily work through all of the steps.

Identify and Make Repairs. A good Realtor can look at your home and tell you what repairs would make a difference in sale price and which ones aren’t worth spending money on. They can make suggestions and help you find the right help if you need it. They have access to reputable and cost- effective painters, plumbers, electricians, cleaners, movers and even people that will help you with your yard.

Remove Clutter and Depersonalize. Buyers want to envision living in your home with their belongings. Remove knickknacks, photos, extra furniture and personal items. This makes the rooms look bigger and more inviting to buyers. Pay special attention to organizing closets and storage areas. Your Realtor will give you staging and furniture placement advice to help present your house at its best.

Tip Alert: Mark and identify items in each room into three categories: Move, Sell or Donate. Your realtor can help you with recommendations on ways to work with items in all three categories or help you find a moving specialist that can work with you “hands on” in this process if needed.

Make Front Door/Porch Look Inviting. This is the first thing buyers see and money spent in this area has the highest return on the price of your home. If needed replace or have the front door painted and add a new welcome mat.

Make Everything Shine. From light fixtures and floors to everything in between, make every surface shine. Scrub every inch of kitchens and bathrooms.

Improve the Landscape, Exterior and Clean Windows. As the weather warms, look to the outside of your home to make sure your yard is at its best. Trim bushes, clean the flower beds and lay down new mulch where needed.

Find Necessary Paperwork. Locate and gather prior disclosures, inspections and paperwork from when you bought your house. Make a list of all of the improvements that you have made and things that you love about your home and neighborhood for prospective buyers to see.

Tip Alert: As you progress through these steps, always count the things each day that you have accomplished more than the things that you still need to do. It will keep you in the right frame of mind and help you to not get overwhelmed in the process.

When you finish you can confidently know that your home will show in the very best light. The Realtor you have partnered with will list your home on MLS, and sell it for the best possible price and you will happily move on to your next home.

Peggy Melbye, Realtor - Coldwell Banker Burnet

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at

What Do Seniors Want?

What do seniors want? Not surprisingly, there are probably as many answers to that question as there are types of people. But even though there is no magic answer, there are a number of ideas that can help you find the right gift for that special senior in your life.
First, a few guiding principles that should help point you in the right direction:

  • Know your senior: What is their living situation (e.g. do they live independently, are they in assisted living or memory care?) Do they have any health issues to consider such as diabetes, impaired vision or hearing, mobility issues, etc.?

  • Know their needs: Many older adults have been frugal all of their lives and may have worn out items that are often used. Linens such as bath towels, sheets and blankets, dish towels, etc. are good items to update and replace. Do they need anything new for the kitchen like utensils, pans, a coffee pot or a toaster? Other gifts that might be appreciated can be mundane things as socks, underwear, robes, slippers, and pajamas as well. A new shirt, sweater or piece of jewelry can help your loved one spruce up for the holidays and make them feel special.

  • Know their likes: Do they have a favorite color, fragrance, author, music, etc. Do they have a hobby, use a computer, play a sport, like puzzles and games, go to movies, eat out, etc.? Gift cards to restaurants movie theaters, or stores where they tend to shop can also be welcome gifts and are especially good for the senior “who has everything.”

Many people are hesitant to tell you what they really want, so it is important to be observant and a little creative to come up with a gift that will be useful and meaningful. This is true at any age! It can be a little harder coming up with ideas for seniors, as many of them seem to have everything and if they want something many just go out and buy it. I’ve asked some of the seniors I know what they would recommend as gifts for seniors and here are a few of their ideas:

  • Time with my children and/or grandchildren. One at a time, so we can spend some quality time together.
  • An experience. This could be lots of things, depending on your budget such as tickets to a play or concert, sporting event, fishing outing, weekend getaway, etc.
  • Gift cards to restaurants, movie theaters, favorite stores, beauty salon, massage, etc.
  • A “certificate” to help with household chores and repairs.
  • A “certificate” to shop for and prepare a special dinner for your special senior.
  • Things that are consumable such as candy, fragrances, body lotion, special soaps, food items, a good bottle of wine, and chocolates to get your ideas started!
  • Books, magazine and/or newspaper subscriptions.
  • A calendar with family photos, framed photos of children, grandchildren, etc.

The thing is that when you start thinking about it, there are really a lot of good ideas you can come up with for your special senior. And I would suggest that this system can also work for seniors who need to buy gifts for their families and friends. So, if you are like me and haven’t finished your shopping yet, there is still time for coming up with great gifts for the special people in our life!

Holly Hansen, Senior Partner
Brilliant Moves –

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at

Changing Seasons = Changing Routines

Just when you were indulging in fruits and vegetables fresh from the gardens your thoughts begin to lean towards comfort foods, stews and soups.

Just when you built a routine of walking around the lake, block or apartment building your thoughts wander towards fireplaces, hot chocolate and a good book.

Just when you finally fit into those favorite blue shorts your thoughts turn to towards big sweaters and comfortable baggy pants.

But do we have to give up those healthy habits we formed during the summer just because it is getting cold outside? Uh oh, be alert my dear friends. History has told us that when we begin to toss out the awareness we gained of what we are eating, wearing and how we are moving that body in the summer months, we begin to change our minds towards cover up, comfort, and hibernating bear-like behavior.

Be purposeful as you make changes to accommodate fall weather. Fall is a great time to go through recipes and organize an exchange. Following nutritional suggestions of low fat and low salt meals browse your favorites to come up with five you would like to share with others. You can see the importance of growing your group! Everyone brings five recipes and before you know it you have a healthy recipe book with some of your favorites and some new ones to try!
TIP ALERT: Keep frozen veggies in your freezer to add to those soups to boost the nutrition and give your soups a little more volume. If you don’t care for so many veggies in your soups and stews you can always puree them for the benefits.

Moving that body might seem a little more complicated in the cooler months but that is the best time to grab a buddy and go for a walk. Many people don’t do well in the summer heat so encourage someone to take up your habit in the brisk fall air or indoors at a mall. Look in the paper or local offerings and try out a new strength training class. Research shows that strength training keeps depression away! What about that yoga, Tai Chi or Pilates class you have always thought sounded interesting? This is a great transition time to give it a whirl.
TIP ALERT: Create your own human checkerboard or chess game-think while you move.

If you are looking for new ways to get out and discover your community this fall set up a sightseeing adventure to the zoo, Fort Snelling, discovering of neighboring parks for an investigative walk. Organize a leaf find, bird watch or fall flowers around the park.

Keep in mind that working out and watching how you change your daily intake does matter through the changing of the seasons. After all we are not bears, so planning on pulling up those comfy pants and pulling that forgiving sweater over our head does not help our blood pressure, heart rate or overall health.

While the seasons change our focus on our wellness should not. Go ahead and enjoy the temperature change, arrival of fall colors and yes, a change in what we wear. But stay ever mindful of how you take care of your body, after all it is the only one you get. I wish you the very best of the third season of the year!

Terri Mattson
Beginning Today Lifestyle Wellness

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA members meet to learn, exchange information and discuss issues in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA and local senior resources, please visit our website at

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