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Aging Mastery program helps participants to age well

A new Aging Master Program through the Hastings Area Senior Center may be just the tool to help the older adult build their own plan for aging well.

The Hastings Area Senior Center is the first in the area to offer this new 10-week innovative health and wellness program to residents age 50 and older. It starts later this month.

The idea originated when Hastings Area Senior Center program coordinator Laurie Thrush attended a conference last spring. There, she heard about this program created by Jim Firman, CEO and president of the National Council on Aging on the East Coast. There was grant money available; Thrush applied and the senior center was one of 13 groups in Minnesota to receive some seed money. That was late last year and now the first of the planned four sessions (each 10 weeks) is set to begin.

“It is set up to help people so they do have that gift of longevity,” said Thrush. “How do you do aging? This program is designed so that people do see it as a gift.”

Thrush describes the Age Mastery Program as a “new fresh perspective, in which participants can learn from each other.”

That is hopefully achieved by offering 10 weekly meetings. They are held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, beginning April 20 at Schaar’s Bluff Gathering Center at Spring Lake Park. The last meeting on June 22 will also be held there. The other eight are scheduled for the Tilden Community Center.

The program encourages mastery, developing behaviors across many dimensions that will lead to improved health, stronger financial security and overall well-being.

Some of the areas discussed will be navigating longer lives, exercise, healthy eating and hydration, medication management, financial planning, fall prevention and community engagement.

An obvious offshoot of the program will be connecting with other people and building on the relationships. Thrush has already seen that in other senior center programs.

Some of the guest speakers are Bridget Gothberg, Scott Borchers, Bill Spinelli, Mary O’Brien, Thrush, Brian Waldo, Melissa Millner, Carrie Meier, Emily Justman and Donna Elbert.

As part of the seniors creating their own plan and developing their behaviors, efforts will continue after the session ends, said Thrush. For some, it may lead to a volunteer opportunity, participating in other programs and organizations in the community.

The registration for the program is underway and can be completed online at, by calling 651-480-7689, or stopping in at the Tilden Community Community Center, 310 River St. The registration fee is $49 per person or $89 per couple.

The other three sessions of the program will be scheduled for later this year, and in 2017.

For more information, call 651-480-7689.