Latest Blog Post

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

The Senior Games Are Coming!

According to Sue Bohnsack, Recreation Supervisor at the Eden Prairie Senior Center, it’s never too late to maintain your ability and to stay in shape. Staying in shape maximizes one’s opportunities for social involvement and a high quality of life. The Eden Prairie Senior Center has lots of activities geared to individuals of varying abilities. Here are just a few of the things they offer: biking club, walking club, golf, pickleball, Zumba, yoga, tai chi, and bocce ball. They also partner with the Community Center for swimming, and physical fitness activities. So, is there an athlete in each of us, just waiting to be discovered? Yes! Just ask Sue and she will help you get started in the right direction.

Speaking of athletes, a great event is just around the corner, the Minnesota Senior Games, which will be held August 2 – 9. They’re looking for athletes to participate as well as volunteers. It’s not too late to get involved!

Registration for the Minnesota Senior Games is now open. The 2014 Minnesota Senior Games, featuring 21 medal sports for athletes over the age of 50, will be held August 2 – 9 in Bloomington, Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The state games are a qualifying event for the National Senior Games presented by Humana scheduled to take place in Minnesota in 2015.

The mission of the state and national games are to promote health and wellness to all aging Americans. Individuals and/or teams are encouraged to sign up, train and participate in a variety of sports, including: 5k race, 10k race, archery, badminton, basketball, billiards, bowling, cycling, golf, horseshoes, pickleball, racquetball, shuffleboard, softball, swimming, table tennis, tennis, track & field, and volleyball. To qualify, participants must be 50 years old as of December 31, 2014. The Minnesota State Senior Games are open to out-of-state residents. The top four athletes in each age group (these are in five year increments) for each event will qualify to participate in the National Games next year, which will be held in Minnesota. If you think you’re too old to get involved, think again. The oldest participants in the Senior Games have been over 100 years old!

The National Senior Games is the largest multi-sport event in the world for adults 50 and over with an expected 12,000 athletes competing and 30,000 guests attending. Competitions will take place July 3 – 16, 2015 at various venues throughout Bloomington, Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

July 21st is the deadline to register online for the Minnesota Senior Games that will be held this summer. If you want to be involved and don’t want to compete, volunteers are needed too! Visit mnseniorgames.com to get more information, register as an athlete, or sign up to volunteer in this summer’s Senior Games.

Submitted by EPPIA Members:
Holly Hansen, Senior Partner at www.BrilliantMovesMN.com
Sue Bohnsack, Recreation Supervisor at 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 meets five times a year to exchange information and problem solve in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA please visit our website at www.edenprairieaging.org.

Avoid Falls and Stay Active!

One of the biggest fears seniors have is losing their independence. This was recently confirmed by Eden Prairie seniors who took a city survey which asked seniors about services, activities, and attitudes. As we age, we cannot control everything in our lives that might affect our independence such as certain health problems or just getting old enough where we need a little help to manage our daily lives.

But we can ensure that we stay healthy and independent as long as possible by having good health habits, staying socially, mentally and physically active and avoiding falls. For an older person, a fall can easily result in a fractured hip or pelvis, and that can be an instant life changer that negatively impacts independence. We often think of falls as a risk during winter, which they are, but falls can happen in your home or outside on a summer day. There are many steps a person can take to reduce their risk of falling both at home and when out and about. Here are a few simple things you can do to reduce your risk of falling.

  • Eliminate scatter rugs.
  • Remove clutter and objects you could trip on.
  • Watch where you are walking: uneven or wet pavement can be a hazard.
  • If you spill, wipe it up promptly so you don’t slip.
  • Have a well-lit home; replace light bulbs when burned out.
  • Use a bench or chair in the shower.
  • Have grab bars in your bathroom.
  • Make sure you have sturdy railings indoors and outdoors.
  • When sitting, get up slowly and get your balance before walking.
  • Check with your doctor if you feel dizzy; some medications cause this.
  • Exercise regularly to stay strong and flexible.
  • Wear good shoes: avoid flip flops, backless slippers, or shoes that are too big or small.
  • If you need a cane or walker for balance – use it!

Taking a few simple precautions can help you stay healthy, active, and independent. If you would like to learn more about Eden Prairie seniors’ responses to the City’s survey, go to www. edenprairie.org, click on “Parks and Recreation” then “Senior Center” and you will see a news item and link to the “Baby Boomer Survey Results.”

Submitted by EPPIA Members:
Holly Hansen, Senior Partner at www.BrilliantMovesMN.com
Sue Bohnsack, Recreation Supervisor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Rhonda Kalal, CAREGiver Director at www.homeinstead.com

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA meets five times a year to exchange information and problem solve in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA please visit our website at www.edenprairieaging.org.

Care Options for Seniors

“When is it time to make a change?” This is different for each individual. Consider the medical, social, and financial implications of staying in place, engaging in-home services, or moving to a senior community. Determine in advance what your wants and health changes may be factors in making a decision to move or bring in services.

Choosing the best care for yourself or an aging parent can be complex and emotional. Before making decisions, ask questions and gather facts! Make a list of your current needs, future desires, and how much you are able or willing to pay. Research available resources/options and list the pros and cons when looking at services, care providers, and senior communities.

To help you get started, get a free planning worksheet at the Eden Prairie Senior Center. Other resources include the EPPIA website, www.edenprairieaging.org, and USA Today’s best seller Your Step-by-Step Guide: Stages of Senior Care by Paul and Lori Hogan, founders of Home Instead Senior Care. In assisting a loved one, it is important to listen to them and address their concerns and to include them in the process. If it becomes too difficult or overwhelming; this may be the time to have a professional step in to help. A short description of care options is listed below.

  • In-Home Care offers varying levels of care in your home, whether you live independently or in a senior community. Care is personalized and may include light housekeeping, meal preparation, personal care, medication management, etc.
  • Independent Living offers seniors the most independence when leaving home. These are large communities with apartments, kitchens, activities, and optional meal plans. Amenities may include beauty salons, exercise equipment, pools, theaters, libraries, billiards, chapels, and common areas for socializing. Many facilities also provide a range of personal care services as one’s needs change, including on-site doctor and medical visits and personal assistance.
  • Assisted Living provides 24 hour care. Meals, housekeeping and laundry are generally included. Assistance with ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living) such as bathing, dressing, and medication management is also available. Seniors still enjoy independence with private apartments and bathrooms. These communities range in size, and may be integrated with independent living.
  • Long Term Care (LTC) facilities offer skilled nursing care. These facilities provide care for people with serious and complex medical conditions and they often accept people who cannot afford to pay privately and need financial assistance. These facilities offer various levels of care.
  • Memory Care serves individuals with various forms of dementia. This care is provided in specialized, secure units in many residential communities, and LTC facilities. Meals, housekeeping, assistance with ADLs, and activities are provided. Personal care services are offered on an a la carte basis or included in the monthly fee.
  • Residential Care Homes provide services in a smaller home-like environment with higher staffing ratios than assisted living, home cooked meals, and more personalized care. Residents may have a private or shared bedroom, and the rest of the home is commonly used. Activities, in-home beauty and medical services are generally available. Some homes have 24 hour staff and provide skilled nursing, dementia care, and end-of-life care.

When considering which of the above options is most appropriate for you, it is important that you know your needs, consider possible future needs, and visit a variety of facilities. In addition to the physical attributes, it is also important to consider such things as staff knowledge, level of staffing, activities, and last but not least, food!

Submitted by EPPIA Members:
Jonathan Rosenberg, Owner of Twin Cities Care www.twincitiescare.com
Rhonda Kalal, CAREGiver Director at www.homeinstead.com

Holly Hansen, Senior Partner at www.BrilliantMovesMN.com

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA meets five times a year to exchange information and problem solve in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA please visit our website at www.edenprairieaging.org.

A New View of Dementia

How do you feel about Alzheimer’s and dementia? Do you believe that all people with dementia are the same? Are you embarrassed by a family member or friend who has dementia? Do you make jokes about people who have dementia or treat them as if they have no feelings or intelligence? Our society is facing an “Alzheimer’s tsunami” as our population ages and lives longer. This is the elephant in the room that we need to acknowledge because it is not going away.

Although much medical progress has been made in the understanding and treatment of various forms of dementia over the last few decades, many people remain uninformed or misinformed about these diseases. Dementia, the broad term covering many brain diseases, is still portrayed in a derogatory manner in films and on TV, often to get a laugh. Those who are more informed and enlightened realize that people who suffer from these brain diseases are people who deserve to be treated with dignity. They have feelings and opinions, and are often highly intelligent, People with dementia include former professors, lawyers, doctors, nurses, and even a U.S. President.

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or any condition that results in memory loss does not mean the end of a meaningful life and happiness. There are programs and services that focus on people’s strengths instead of their losses and creating healthy, happy moments and safe environments where our loved ones can flourish. In these environments/communities, people are active participants in life. Instead of sitting on the sidelines they bake cookies, discuss current events and engage in creative projects, worship services, singing and more. In short, these are not the unhappy and scary people sometimes portrayed in movies and on television. They are people like you and me except they are experiencing changes or gaps in their abilities and need some assistance in closing those gaps. We need to start seeing them differently. We need to learn how to approach them on their terms, not ours. We need to learn to be in the moment with them. We need to understand that people with dementia have feelings and should be treated with dignity and respect. They are not objects. They are people. They belong.

We can no longer afford to hold onto false and outdated notions about dementia. As a society we need to talk about Alzheimer’s and related conditions to effectively face this growing challenge. We need to advocate for our loved ones when they cannot stand up for themselves. Although it can be difficult and painful for families and friends to “lose” a loved one to dementia, we need to understand that there is a new person that we need to get acquainted with. That person isn’t the same as the old one, but they still have feelings, opinions, and memories, and in the right environment they are engaged in activities that reflect their passions and personalities. In the right environment they are respected and celebrated and their lives can be happy, filled with love, laughter, joy and meaning.

There are many resources for learning more about dementia such as The Alzheimer’s Foundation (www.alzfdn.org) which provides information on the disease, care giving, support groups and more. Lovely, Still, a film produced by Nicholas Fackler that stars Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn, is an inspiring story of a husband and wife’s journey through dementia that will touch your heart.

Additional ideas and resources for family caregivers can be found at www.caregiverstress.com. For a list of community resources for those experiencing or caring for someone with memory loss, visit the Eden Prairie Professionals in Aging (EPPIA) website: www.edenprairieaging.org.

Submitted by EPPIA Members:
Theresa Klein, Cognitive Clinical Specialist at www.emeraldcrest.com
Holly Hansen, Senior Partner at www.BrilliantMovesMN.com
Rhonda Kalal, CAREGiver Director at www.homeinstead.com

EPPIA is a networking group whose members are committed to the welfare of seniors in our community. EPPIA meets five times a year to exchange information and problem solve in the field of aging. For more information on EPPIA please visit our website at www.edenprairieaging.org.

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