2018 Conference Program


Wellness Agenda: Healthy Communities. Healthy You.

Friday, April 27, 2018 – Successfully completed
Earle Brown Heritage Center, Brooklyn Center, MN

Conference Session Handouts

Download the Conference Meeting Book

Conference Overview
7:30 – 8:30 am                   Registration, Continental Breakfast, Exhibit Hall Opens
8:30 – 8:45 am                   Welcome, About MGS
8:45 – 9:45 am                   Morning Keynote“Minnesota’s Healthcare Landscape”
–                                               Jim Eppel, Executive Vice President,
–                                               Chief Administrative Officer, HealthPartners

9:45 – 10:15 am                 Exhibit Hall – open all day; Healing/Relaxation Room – open all day
10:15 – 11:30 am               Concurrent Sessions (A: 1-5)
11:45 – 1:00 pm                 Luncheon: MGS Scholarships & Gerontologist of the Year Awards
1:00 – 1:45 pm                   Tai Ji Quan Demonstration; Healing/Relaxation Room;
–                                           Exhibit Hall; Student Networking
1:45 – 3:00 pm                   Concurrent Sessions (B: 1-5)
3:15 – 4:30 pm                   Concurrent Sessions (C: 1-5)
4:30 – 5:00 pm                   Executive Reception; Prize Drawings – in Exhibit Hall

Registration Fees:  MGS members receive a discount for the conference. A new or renewing membership with member registration saves $100 off the non-member rate. Membership rates are listed on the registration form. Membership must be active on April 27, 2018.

Registration Rates
Member                         $135
Non-Member                $235
Member Retired           $110
Non-Member Retired  $175
Student                          $60
Lunch Program only    $40

Donate to Sponsor a Student: Please consider adding $60 to your registration to pay for a college student’s registration. There is a donation area on the registration form.

Group Registration Discounts: are available for groups of 5 or more registering together from the same organization. Contact info@mngero.org
Partial Conference Discounts: A limited number of partial scholarships are available for low/moderate income individuals. To apply contact info@mngero.org
Student Scholarships: A limited number of scholarships are available for full-time higher education students. These are made possible from individual donations and sponsored by the Minnesota Association of Area Agencies on Aging.
To apply contact info@mngero.org

Hotel Accommodations:
Click here for several hotel options, including a special MGS rate at the Embassy Suites Minneapolis North attached to the Earle Brown conference center.

General Sessions:



8:45 – 9:45 am: Morning Keynote: Minnesota’s Healthcare Landscape
Jim Eppel, Executive VP, Chief Administrative Officer, HealthPartners
Minnesota has long been a national leader in health and wellbeing, ranking high in population health while modeling innovation in care and coverage. Today, these strengths are being tested by high costs, chaotic markets, an unpredictable policy environment, and other factors. As both an insurer and care provider, HealthPartners has a unique view on these challenges, both at the state and federal levels. Jim Eppel will share perspectives on what these challenges mean for Minnesotans in 2018. He’ll also offer ideas about where our priorities should lie for promoting the health and wellbeing of all those we serve – especially as Minnesota’s population continues to age.
Jim Eppel served as President and Chief Executive Officer at Minneapolis-based UCare before joining HealthPartners in July 2017.

9:45 am – 4:30 pm: Healing / Relaxation Room
NEW OFFERING – Enjoy a 10-minute personal session throughout the day with a healing practitioner. Sessions offered include yoga, acupuncture, chair massage, Tai Ji Quan, posture check, Qigong, art therapy, herbal teas and more.

11:45 – 1:00 pm: MGS Awards Luncheon


MGS presents five scholarships to higher education students studying in fields related to gerontology.
MGS also recognizes the 2018 Gerontologist of the Year Award recipient.

1:00 – 1:45 pm: Mini-Sessions; Healing/Relaxation Room; Exhibit Hall
(1) Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance® Demonstration – experience and practice deep breathing, weight shifting and the powerful interplay between stability and instability that impacts balance.
(2) Student Networking: A brief facilitated group to connect with aging-services peers and professionals.
(3) Healing/Relaxation Room;
4) Exhibit Hall

4:30 – 5:00 pm: Executive Reception and Raffle
Everyone is invited to attend the reception, which provides an opportunity to meet the exhibitors and to network with colleagues, students, professors and presenters from across Minnesota.  All participants receive one free beverage ticket. Multiple prize drawings for all who play Exhibitor Bingo (Must be present to win).

Concurrent Sessions

Governor’s Consumer Work Group Combating Elder Abuse
Enhancing Wellness for Older Adults through Community Networks
Serving Older Adults: Community-Based Health Promotion Programming
Integrated Care for Older Adults: A Chiropractice Approach
Network in Action: Speed Questions Workshop
1:45 - 3:00 PM
Funding Long-Term Services & Supports in Minnesota
Therapeutic Landscapes –
Impacts of Urban Nature on Wellbeing in Later Life
Quality of Life at the End of Life – Hospice, Ethics, Palliative Care
Touch for Health and Wellbeing
Conversation Circles
3:15 - 4:30 PM
Future of Medicare and Medicaid
Shattered Dreams - Reasonable Hope: Essential Links
Cultural Awareness in Dementia Care
Wellness from Within
Poster Session Presentations

Concurrent Sessions: A: 10:15 – 11:30 am; B: 1:45 – 3:00 pm; C: 3:15 – 4:30 pm

A: 10:15 – 11:30 am

1A: Report from the Governor’s Consumer Work Group Combating Elder Abuse
   Moderator: Rajean Moone, Executive Director, MN Leadership Council on Aging
Mary Jo George, Work Group Lead, Associate State Director of Advocacy, AARP MN
Suzy Scheller, Counselor at Law, Scheller Legal Solutions, LLC
Jean Peters, RN, CNP, Vice President, Elder Voice Family Advocates
Last year, 25,226 allegations of abuse, neglect or mistreatment occurred in senior care facilities; 97% of those cases were never investigated. In response to highly publicized news reports, Governor Dayton appointed a consumer work group to gather input and make recommendations on what should be done to better protect Minnesota seniors. The panel will outline the Work Group’s findings, present recommendations, and give an update on the status of legislative and policy changes.

* Learn about the purpose of the Governor’s Consumer Work Group to combat elder abuse;
* Review the investigative findings about the current system of elder abuse;
* Describe the recommendations to improve abuse investigation staffing, timelines, and outcomes;
* Update the status of pending legislation, funding, and administrative overhauls to improve abuse prevention and investigation.

2A: Enhancing Wellness for Older Adults through Community Networks
James Falvey, CFRE, Executive Director, Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly
Julie Roles, MA, Program Director, Vital Aging Network
Creating the infrastructure needed for positive community support for people as they age can be challenging. Community-based networks, often formed and maintained by participants themselves, help older adults enhance their health, independence, and connectedness to their communities. Explore replicable and scalable models developed by two organizations. Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly enables neighbor-to-neighbor in-home visiting and social groups to help older adults connect in their communities while creating safe neighborhoods and caring environments. The Vital Aging Network’s Wellness 50+ program engages older adults to lead efforts that help people make positive change in their health and wellbeing.
* Summarize the social determinants of health and why community involvement/social connection is a significant determinant of older adult wellbeing;
* Learn about two innovative, cost-effective, and sustainable models for neighbor-to-neighbor networks that improve health and wellbeing for older adults;
* Discover how you or your organization can help foster neighbor-to-neighbor connections.

3A: Serving Older Adults through Community-Based Health Promotion Programming
Mary Hertel, RN, Healthy Aging Programs Coordinator, Minnesota Board on Aging
Dawn Simonson, MPA, Executive Director, Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging
Sara Lindquist, MD, Juniper Director of Healthcare Integration
Minnesota has been involved in growing evidence based health promotion programs (EBHP) for over 10 years. Through these community based programs, older adults learn tools and techniques that help them manage their health and health risks, so they can live as they choose and remain in their communities.
As part of this growth, there is increased interest and work to build networks that link community providers, participants, and healthcare providers within their communities and across the state. Join us for a discussion of the impact of these programs for older adults and how you can become part of this innovative movement.

* Learn about the types and history of EBHP in Minnesota;
* Understand how EBHP benefits older adults and helps them remain at home;
* Explore opportunities for organizations to participate in local and statewide EBHP efforts.

4A: Integrated Care for Older Adults: A Chiropractic Approach
Meghan Coleman, DC, Assistant Professor, Metropolitan State University
Paul Osterbauer, DC, MPH, Associate Professor, Geriatrics, Northwestern Health Sciences University
Cara Borggren, DC, Fairview Health Services, Assistant Professor, Northwestern Health Sciences University
A growing number of older adults are utilizing Complementary-Alternative Medicine (CAM) modalities such as chiropractic, massage therapy, acupuncture, nutrition, and lifestyle/wellness coaching. In addition to spinal manipulation, chiropractors often incorporate various CAM therapies as they work to reduce pain, improve physical function, promote healthy aging, and optimize wellbeing. They serve an important role in integrative care planning for older adults and their professional and informal caregivers. Drs. Coleman, Osterbauer, and Borggren will discuss the principles of chiropractic practice, common geriatric conditions treated, and special considerations of chiropractic care for geriatric patients. They will highlight recent research in the field and consider some case studies.
* Describe the use of chiropractic care and its potential role in supporting the health of older adults and caregivers;
* Discuss the unique role that chiropractors play in improving physical function and wellbeing through non-pharmacological means;
* Identify common conditions and considerations of chiropractic care for geriatric patients.

5A: Networking in Action: Speed Questions Workshop
Each year, MGS brings together a diverse array of people passionate about aging. Whether you’re a first-time attendee new to this field or the most experienced leader amongst us looking for resources to help solve a challenge, this energy-filled session is guaranteed to put the power of the MGS network to work for you! Not to worry, even a modest Minnesotan will like our fast and easy conversation format as well as the meaningful new connections that flow from them.

B: 1:45 – 3:00 pm


1B: Funding Long-Term Services & Supports in Minnesota
Kari Benson, MPA, Executive Director, MN Board on Aging
Rajean Moone, PhD, Executive Director, MN Leadership Council on Aging
LaRhae Knatterud, MAPA, Director of Aging Transformation, MN DHS
Older Minnesotans and their caregivers often utilize long-term services and supports (LTSS) such as meal delivery, adult day services, or support groups to maintain independence and manage health care needs. These services, provided by a network of non-profit organizations across the state, are funded from a wide range of sources including private philanthropy, state and federal government programs, private insurance, and personal funds. This session will outline funding of LTSS including private foundation investments, Older Americans Act, waivers, and emerging models from the Own Your Future initiative. Insights on our changing views of how LTSS will be provided in the future and implications for how these services are funded will also be discussed.

* Learn various sources of funding for long-term services and supports;
* Understand emerging models of long-term care insurance products and financing;
* Understand how changes in service delivery may drive changes in financing.


2B: Therapeutic Landscapes – Impacts of Urban Nature on Wellbeing in Later Life
Jessica M. Finlay, MA, Doctoral Fellow, Geography/Gerontology, University of Minnesota
This session will consider how interactions with urban nature influence older adults’ physical, mental, and social wellbeing. It will introduce the therapeutic landscape research tradition, in which scholars have explored why certain places or situations are conducive to health and healing. Green spaces provide potential health-promoting qualities for older adults, and range widely in scale from indoor potted plants to gardens, street greenery, parks, and forests. Multi-sensory interactions with blue spaces (aquatic environments including fountains, ponds, rivers, and lakes) and white spaces (environmental snow and ice) are also important factors influencing wellbeing. Issues of safety, accessibility, and personal perception complicate potentially therapeutic relationships. Better understanding about how older adults experience health and landscape is critical towards developing everyday contact with nature that can improve quality of life for aging populations.
* Define and describe three key components of urban nature: green, blue, and white space;
* Describe how green, blue, and white spaces differentially provide health-promoting and health-limiting qualities for older adults;
* Identify issues of safety, accessibility, and personal perception that complicate potentially therapeutic relationships between older adults and urban nature.


3B: Quality of Life at the End of Life: Hospice, Ethics, Palliative Care
Heather Arechigo, MSN, AGNP-C, Nurse Practitioner,
Twin Cities Physicians
One of the most challenging times for patients and their families is at the end of life. While advances in modern medicine and technology now offer more options when it comes to prolonging life, critical decisions must be made, and important questions asked, about the quality of life that is lived and the most appropriate next steps at the end of life. This thought-provoking session will review some of the key practical and ethical issues that can arise when working with dying patients.
* Discuss basic principles of ethics;
* Pinpoint how ethics applies to end-of-life care and quality of life for patients;
* Identify some common medications used in end-of-life care.

4B: Healing Touch for Health and Wellbeing
Sheila Judd, MA, Certified Healing Touch Practitioner/Instructor
Join this experiential session of Healing Touch techniques. Healing Touch is a relaxing, nurturing energy therapy which assists in balancing the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Healing Touch is helpful for pain reduction, stress and anxiety, depression, improved sleep, overall health, assists pre- and post-surgery, and supports the dying process. Learn ways to implement Healing Touch into direct resident care, hospice and palliative care, and program activities.
* Define Healing Touch; how it works, the benefits, and research behind this modality;
* Explore the energy system and how techniques enhance the quality of life of older adults;
* Discover ways to implement Healing Touch techniques.

5B: Conversation Circles – NEW to this year’s conference!
Guided by subject matter experts, Conversation Circles offer opportunities for participants to network as they learn. Come prepared to share your ideas and engage with others in these roundtable discussion groups about a topic of interest to you.

  1. Biophilia and the Healing Power of Nature
    David Motzenbecker, PLA, ASLA, Licensed Landscape Architect, Motz Studios
  2. Connecting Older Adults to Health Information
    Katherine Chew, MLS, University of Minnesota Health Sciences Libraries
  3. Financial Exploitation Prevention – Overcoming Reporting Barriers for Vulnerable Abuse Victims
    Marit Peterson, JD, Minnesota Elder Justice Center
    atie Behrens, MPH, Minnesota Elder Justice Center
  4. Healthy Eating – Healthy You
    Patrick and Dawn Nickleson, Chef Owners, Passion for Dining and Nutrition
  5. Healthy Living for Your Brain & Body
    Katie Roberg B.S. CTRS, Alzheimer’s Association MN-ND
  6. Medical Aid in Dying – End of Life Options
    Rebecca Thoman, M.D, Compassion & Choices;
    Mary Carlsen, MSW, LISW

C: 3:15 – 4:30 pm


1C: Future of Medicare and Medicaid
Erin Parrish, Associate State Director, AARP MN
Kari Thurlow, Senior Vice President, LeadingAge MN
Medicaid and Medicare are two publicly financed health care coverage programs for older adults. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act modified both programs significantly with its passage. Current national policy trends suggest reforms will continue to occur to these programs. This session will outline federal initiatives and proposals designed to target the administration and financing of Medicaid and Medicare and how these changes may affect senior health care service delivery for Minnesotans.
* Learn current policy environment and proposals at the state and federal government;
* Understand how proposed Medicare/Medicaid changes may impact senior health care and services in Minnesota;
* Identify ways to engage with policymakers about proposed changes.

2C: Shattered Dreams / Reasonable Hope: Essential Links
Ted Bowman, MDiv, Family and Grief Educator, Adjunct Instructor, University of St. Thomas
Life rarely happens as desired or planned. Detours and surprises are the stuff of living.  While many detours are disappointing, others shatter dreams and can throw people off their usual resilient responses. Losses of health, mobility, dignity, relationships, and deaths off-time, are but a few examples. Conspicuous losses and the shattering of dreams must be faced. To move forward, one must grieve lost expectations to dream new dreams and create new plans. Reasonable or honest hope is both feasible and essential for optimal health and wellbeing. Participants will be presented with frameworks and tools for understanding and responding to losses that include accessible connections to honest hope.
* Discuss and assert the necessity of honoring losses;
* Distinguish conspicuous losses and shattered dreams;
* Name and discuss tools to foster resiliency and honest hope in response to losses.

3C: Cultural Awareness – Hmong and West African Perspectives on Dementia
Nancy E. Lee, MRP, Human Serivices Program Representative 2, DHS –
MN Board on Aging
Chinwendu Terrell , Cultural Consultant, West African Community
Pakou Xiong,
BA, Cultural Consultant, Hmong Community
Cultural responsiveness is critical in dementia care. The MN Department of Human Services created a resource of dementia trained cultural consultants to assist aging network providers with design and implementation of programs in new immigrant and historically disadvantaged communities. Learn how service provision can be transformed into more person-centered care through the infusion of knowledge about the cultural norms and values of various ethnic and cultural groups.
* Cite two or more norms and values of West African and Hmong cultural groups regarding dementia;
* Identify ways in which service providers can promote person-centered planning that incorporates cultural norms and values of those communities;
* Describe how to use a cultural consultant to enhance service delivery.

4C: Wellness from Within
Michelle Raskovich, OT, Spring Forest Qigong Trainer, Founder, Bodhi Tree Healing Studio
Using the ancient science of Qigong, the cornerstone of all traditional Chinese medicine, discover the six causes of all disease, explore the four gifts of healing, and become aware of where we hold emotions in the body. With this knowledge, pain and disease can be transformed into healing to ourselves and others.
* Review the six causes of illness in the body;
* Identify the four elements of healing;
* Practice the four keys of wellness;
* Learn the three medicines for the body.

5C: Poster Session Presentations
The list of poster topics and presenters will be outlined in the conference program.

The Poster Session is a display of presentations representing gerontology and aging-related research by practicing professionals, faculty, and higher education students. This session offers attendees an opportunity to learn about current and emerging research and engage in one-to-one discussions with researchers about their project findings as well as implications toward policy initiatives, improvements in care delivery, and best practices when working with older adults. In this session, each researcher will briefly present on his/her topic. Then, participants can mingle among the posters and engage in more in-depth dialogs about the research topics and findings.

Conference CEUs:
Pre-approved for 5 CEUs by the MN Board of Social Work, BOSW, and for 5 CEUs by the MN Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators, BENHA.
Self-submit for other disciplines.

2018 Conference Learning Objectives:

  1. Recognize current healthcare delivery challenges and opportunities facing Minnesota within the context of an aging population.
  2. Discuss the sustainability of funding streams that support the long-term care needs of older Minnesotans.
  3. Explore the social determinants of health and their significance on wellbeing in later life.
  4. Identify current and emerging health practices to promote quality of life.
  5. Discover complementary and integrative approaches to improve health throughout the lifespan.


Disclaimer: MGS does not endorse or hold ownership of any specific subject content, product, provider or presenter featured in its webinars or conference programs.