The Transition Network

The Transition Network Caring Collaborative is an all-volunteer program of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter of The Transition Network, a National Organization for women over 50. Its purpose is to support the health and well-being of members who are experiencing certain life challenges, medical concerns, or temporary needs due to illness or injury. The Caring Collaborative (CC)  services are there to provide a safety net and to promote the healthy independence of our chapter members. In order to participate in giving and receiving services a chapter member must become a member of the Caring Collaborative. Health and wellness programs and resources are currently open to members and non-members alike.​

The Caring Collaborative is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or counseling services, nor can it replace daily home care when that is necessary.

From the September 2021 Newsletter​

Submitted by Kathleen Peterson, Tracey Baker and Julie Efta

The MSP Chapter Caring Collaborative has now been operating for four months. The membership of the Collaborative has grown to 33. We have successfully fielded several requests for both the Service Corps and the Member Information Exchange. Some examples of possible requests: 

Service Corps 

  • I will need a driver for an outpatient procedure. 

  • I’ve got a badly sprained ankle and could use help getting groceries. 

  • I’ve just lost a dear friend and would appreciate a phone call or two. 


Member Information Exchange (MIX) 

  • I’m thinking of having a knee replaced. Could someone share their experience? 

  • I’m looking for a new primary care physician in St. Paul and would appreciate any suggestions. 

  • I am looking for a home care provider for my mother. Does anyone have experience with a reliable agency? 

The Health and Wellness component team is gathering ideas for winter Zoom programming. Jill Goski, Jan Weller, and Julie Efta welcome your ideas and interest in helping lead. In 2020-2021, we had a wide variety of offerings including educational sessions, special guest speakers, and Tai Chi and Yoga sessions in the park. In 2021-2022, we are also considering a name change to allow more freedom in scheduling times. Wellness Weekday is one proposal. Please share your ideas for topics and resources.

It is still possible to become a part of the Collaborative if you are already an MSP Chapter member. If you are interested in knowing more, please email your name and contact information to the CC mailbox: mspcaringcollab@thetransitionnetwork.org. One of the CC Coordinators will respond. We welcome new members and are very grateful for those members who are already participating and ready to help others in times of need.

From the July 2021 Newsletter​

Submitted by Kathleen Peterson and Tracey Baker

After much planning, discussion, and research on other chapters' work on their Caring Collaboratives, the MSP Chapter Caring Collaborative has officially launched with 30 members. This has been a real team effort and we are grateful for the continuing contributions of our fellow Caring Collaborative Committee team members: Nancy Bargsten, Jean Forrey, Julie Efta, Jill Goski, Marilynne Roberts, and Janis Weller. As co-leads for this new operations phase in our Caring Collaborative, we are both anxious to receive requests for service or information and relieved that thus far our members are relatively healthy and not currently in need of direct assistance or information. We anticipate an increased need as our members re-engage with their healthcare providers and begin to schedule tests or procedures that may have been delayed by COVID 19. Whether you need support, transportation or information, please don't hesitate to make

If you are a chapter member who is interested in joining the MSP Caring Collaborative or would like to know more about it, please indicate your interest by sending an email to the CC mailbox at mspcaringcollab@thetransitionnetwork.org.
 
Bios for Tracey Baker and Kathleen Peterson are available at Leadership Team


From the June 2021 Newsletter​

Submitted by Kathleen Peterson and Julie Efta

Our MSP Caring Collaborative officially launched on May 1. Twenty-nine chapter members are currently participating in this new MSP Chapter initiative which is designed as members helping members in times of need. It could be a request for information on a health topic or new diagnosis (The Member Information Exchange or MIX) or for a ride to and from a medical procedure (The Service Corps). We have had our first member request of what we hope will be many more in the future of this program.

Anyone who would be interested in joining the Caring Collaborative still has an opportunity to do so. If interested, please contact Kathleen Peterson at this Caring Collaborative email address: mspcaringcollab@thetransitionnetwork.org for more information and to set up an orientation.

The Health and Wellness component of the Caring Collaborative is always looking for topics of interest for scheduling future Wellness Wednesdays. Contact us if you know of any presenters for any aspect of wellness. We also welcome members to propose an informal discussion on any topic. During summer we plan to meet outdoors for enjoyment of nature and relaxation. Look for more Zoom presentations in autumn. If you have suggestions or questions, please contact Julie at teacherjulie.efta@gmail.com, Jan at janisweller@gmail.com, or Jill at jill.goski@gmail.com.

From the May 2021 Newsletter​

Submitted by Kathleen Peterson

How Exciting!! Our MSP Chapter Caring Collaborative will be launching on May 1, 2021. The Advisory Committee presented it's first orientation session on April 28th to a group of 26 collaborative participants. We are so pleased with the response to date. This program is intended to provide support to those members who may be facing a temporary health issue, a new diagnosis or other need due to illness, injury or other life challenge. Members learned about the Service Corps and the Member Information Exchange and how they will be able to access assistance or provide assistance to a member in need. 

As a chapter member, if you haven't already joined but are interested in being a part of this group, you will need to sign up by sending an email to Kathleen at  kathleenpeterson614@gmail.com. As additional interest occurs, another orientation session will be arranged in the future.

Please note that there is now a Health and Wellness Resource list on our Chapter web page. We invite you to visit it as you will find a wealth of helpful information in the various entries. Access these resources here.

From the April 2021 Newsletter​

Submitted by Kathleen Peterson

After much planning, the TTN Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter is about to launch our Caring Collaborative Program this spring! We will be one of several chapters across the country who offer the program.
 
It is safe to say that at some point in life each one of us has needed a little help and we have all been able to offer some help to family and friends when we could. The Caring Collaborative will provide an organized approach to providing assistance to Caring Collaborative members when unexpected needs arise, whether it’s for a ride to an appointment, a meal to be delivered, an errand to run, or sharing your own experience with someone who has a health concern and is seeking information.
 
We would like to have as many members as possible participate in this program and we have heard from other chapters that it has been a very rewarding experience.
 
Here is what you need to know for now: 

  1. The Caring Collaborative is a specific program open to all TTN MSP chapter members.

  2. In order to participate, you will be asked to sign up, be willing to help when able, and attend a required orientation session in late April.

  3. The Wednesday, April 28, orientation session will lay out all of the details and procedures that will guide this program to success. It will be held from 6:30-8:00 PM via zoom.

  4. If you have signed up, you will receive a packet of written information prior to the orientation and a Zoom invitation to the session. 

Our chapter has a separate email address for the Caring Collaborative.
 
If interested in this program or to register for the orientation, please email your name, phone number, and email address to mspcaringcollab@thetransitionnetwork.org. An orientation packet will be delivered and the zoom link will be provided.  
 
If you are unsure and need more information you are welcome to attend the orientation session by letting us know using the above email address.

From the March 2021 Newsletter

Invitation for Chapter Members to Join
 
The MSP Chapter Caring Collaborative program was launched on February 24th during a Wellness Wednesday event. For those members who weren’t able to be present here is a recap of what was discussed and an invitation to any chapter member to join the Collaborative.
 
The Caring Collaborative is a core program of our MSP Chapter. It is open to Chapter members who choose to participate. The purpose of the Collaborative is to provide a safety net and to support the health and wellbeing of members who may be facing a health challenge, a new diagnosis, or a temporary need due to an illness or injury. Members who join may both request help or information, and respond to requests from those who need assistance. There will continue to be a variety of health and wellness educational events for both chapter members and nonmembers.
 
The Caring Collaborative committee met regularly over the past year and gained many insights from visiting with members of other chapters who already have programs in place or are about to start. (New York, Long Island, San Francisco, Santa Fe and Chicago). We learned that the keys to the success of this program will rest on our abilities to be compassionate listeners, to be diligent about maintaining member confidentiality, to be able to set and respect boundaries, and to be willing to share our own experiences without giving advice. 
 
The MSP Caring Collaborative is organized around three core components:

  • Service Corps

  • Member Information Exchange (MIX)

  • Health and Wellness Programs

 The Service Corps provides a framework for organizing and mobilizing Caring Collaborative members who have agreed to deliver helpful services to other members when temporary illness, injury, or disability strikes or to support a member during a period of transition, grief, or loss. This assistance could reflect a variety of tasks which would enable someone to be well supported at home. The Covid pandemic has altered the list of services at present but we will continue to stay within the public health guidelines and expand as allowed. It is required that a TTN member attends an orientation session and signs an authorization form to participate in the Service Corps. The orientation session will provide more information and the tools and guidelines for making requests and what to expect.
 
The Member Information Exchange (MIX) facilitates the sharing of health information and resources within the Caring Collaborative community. The main responsibility of the MIX is connecting members who have a health issue with others who have had a similar experience and are willing to share their journey. The goal is to support the individual decision-making process in three key areas: medical conditions, provider selection, and medical products/equipment/services that enhance comfort and mobility.  
 
Decisions about medical treatments, such as whether or not to have surgery, or making choices about medical tests, procedures, and treatments can be overwhelming. Personal connections are a lifeline for people who are sick or confronted with a new diagnosis. Hearing from a peer who has gone through what you are facing may reduce anxiety and help develop confidence and coping skills. Confidentiality and healthy boundaries are the cornerstones of this program. Additionally, we will be adding a list of resources to our Caring Collaborative’s webpage. The list may appear short but contains links to a wider variety of available resources.  
 
The Health and Wellness Programs component currently offers FREE educational programs. At this time this component of the Caring Collaborative is open to both members, nonmembers and guests and many of our presenters are TTN members. Since last fall, we have offered up to three Wellness Wednesday events per month at various times of the day. Events are listed in the MSP TTN newsletter and on Meetup and through Constant Contact announcements. In March there are three events scheduled: Tapping/Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Essential Oils, and Contentment and Joy. To get involved in our Wellness Wednesday events:

  • Register for each event separately and you will be sent a ZOOM invitation automatically. Save that link!! 

  • Invite your age and gender appropriate friends and family to attend as guests/non-members.  

  • Propose or even volunteer to lead/facilitate a topic for future meetings. 

Members are our greatest resource!
 
We welcome any chapter members who choose to participate in our new Caring Collaborative program. There will be a required orientation session for all members of the collaborative in late April. 
 
If you are interested please send an email to mspcaringcollab@thetransitionnetwork.org with your name, email address and telephone number. You will be informed of any details regarding the orientation session. 
 
If you have questions/concerns please contact Kathleen Peterson at kathleenpeterson614@gmail.com.

From the February 2021 Newsletter

Submitted by Tracey Baker

After several months of information gathering, discussion, and planning, the Caring Collaborative is preparing to launch a pilot program to bring the service and information exchange to members who join.
 
The Caring Collaborative is pleased to invite you to join the pilot program, which will begin this spring.

Why should I consider joining? To provide assistance to fellow TTN chapter members and to be eligible for services and support for medical issues you may experience. Services may include transportation, visits, home services, etc. During Covid-19 many direct contact services such as driving to medical appointments or home visits will be limited.

What are the requirements? TTN Minneapolis-St. Paul chapter membership, a commitment to attend training (through Zoom), a pledge to respect confidentiality and boundaries of members who share information or request services, and a willingness to receive requests and occasionally provide information or services to other Caring Collaborative members.

You can learn more about the program, ask questions, and provide suggestions for what you’d like to see at the February 24 Wellness Wednesday program. If you are interested in joining the pilot project, please email us at mspcaringcollab@thetransitionnetwork.org.

Our popular Wellness Wednesday programs will continue and are open to all members. Information about the three wellness programs planned in February can be found earlier in this newsletter.

From the January 2021 Newsletter

Submitted by Kathleen Peterson

For the past two months you have been reading about the Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter Caring Collaborative project which is organized around three ‘building blocks’:

  • Service Corps

  • Member Information and Resource Exchange

  • Health and Wellness Programming

The Service Corps is the focus for this month. A Caring Collaborative Service Corps provides a framework for organizing and mobilizing a group of chapter members who have agreed to deliver helpful services to other members when temporary illness, injury, or disability strikes. This assistance could reflect a variety of tasks which would enable someone to be well supported at home. It may include transportation for a member, household assistance, and companionship /emotional support. It could also be helpful during a period of transition, grief or loss.

Members who participate are able to both request assistance and provide assistance as needed. This program is not designed to provide 24/7 care or emergency assistance.

The Covid-19 Pandemic has placed limitations on our ability to formally launch the Service Corps at this time. We continue to plan for the future and are currently working on the structures and procedures required for such a service. Some of the next steps will include:

  • Assessing member interest and availability

  • Developing and presenting a required orientation session focusing on privacy, confidentiality, and setting healthy boundaries 

  • Establishing operational policies and procedures

  • Exploring what types of limited services could be provided during the Pandemic.

​From the December 2020 Newsletter

Submitted by Jan Weller and Julie Efta

The Caring Collaborative sponsors a new initiative, Wellness Wednesdays, open to members and nonmembers, which kicked off programming in October with a lively session on balance and preventing falls. Facilitated beautifully by Kathleen Peterson, the thirteen women in attendance covered a huge range of relevant topics, speaking from sometimes painful experience of past falls, both inside and outside and with many great suggestions for prevention of falls and improving balance overall.
 
Awareness of conditions and paying attention to our surroundings can go a long way in preventing falls. Staying alert to icy conditions, uneven ground, and unexpected objects outside and taking care with clothing choices, stairs, rugs, and clutter inside. 
 
After these risk factors were addressed, the group offered a huge number of suggestions and resources, ranging from classes to improve balance (yoga, tai chi, Pilates), to specific products (nanospikes, yaktrax) for walking on snow and ice, strength and flexibility exercises, to the role of overall health in reducing fall risk (hydration, posture, vitamin D) and learning how to ‘fall softly’. Most importantly, be mindful and aware to stay safe!
 
Member Melissa Cathcart LAc taught a class on Bladder and Pelvic Floor Health in November. Twenty women attended this lunch and learn program. We practiced some Kegels and learned that there are techniques to train our bladders to behave better. We learned that stress is bad, exercise is great and our bladder size is ok. Drink more water and go to the toilet less often! Melissa provided wonderful handouts and the content of her class is excellent. Contact her for more information: m@mcathcart.com
 
Programming for upcoming Wellness Wednesdays includes Laughter, Fun, and Humor on Wednesday, December 30, at 6:30 PM led by Jean Forrey and Marilynne Roberts. For the January meeting on Wednesday, January 27, 11:00 AM–1:00 PM, Jan Weller will lead Exploring the Many Facets of Wellness in our lives.
 
Wellness Wednesday is a new series of educational sessions focused on physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health topics sponsored by the TTN MSP Caring Collaborative and open to both members and nonmembers.
 
The Caring Collaborative is also partnering with the Skywatchers SIG to host a Winter Solstice Get Together on Monday, December 21, at 6:30 PM. Please read the separate notice for more details. 

From the November 2020 Newsletter

Submitted by Tracey Baker and Julie Efta

In September the Caring Collaborative welcomed two new members: Jean Forrey and Marilynne Roberts. We have formed three working groups to move the Caring Collaborative forward: 

  • Kathleen Peterson and Nancy Bargsten are coordinating the service corps group, looking at how the Caring Collaborative can provide some direct service to TTN chapter members during the pandemic. They are developing a 30-minute orientation and presenting a trial run at our next Caring Collaborative Committee meeting. 

  • Tracey Baker, Marilynne Robertson, and Jean Forrey are working on the MIX (Member Information Exchange). Thus far they have created a spreadsheet of resources and will draft policy on how members provide information and support within a structure which protects privacy and confidentiality.

  • Julie Efta, Karen West, and Jill Goski comprise the health and wellness programs group and have a great lineup of educational programs in the new Wellness Wednesday series. The first program in October was on preventing falls inside and out. On November 18, TTN Chapter member Melissa Cathcart will lead a Wellness Wednesday lunch and learn zoom discussion on Bladder and Pelvic Floor Health. You can register here. The tentative topic for December will be the importance of humor for wellness. All future meetings are planned for the third or fourth Wednesday of the month. Time of day will vary. The Wellness Wednesday series is open to all. Suggestions for future topics and presenters on physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health topics are welcome. 

Please feel free to reach out to any of the members of the collaborative if you have any questions or might be interested in joining the pilot project.

From the July 2020 Newsletter

Submitted by Tracey Baker

The Caring Collaborative Committee has been meeting for almost a year, exploring the possibility of creating a Caring Collaborative in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter. We began reaching out to other TTN chapters with Caring Collaboratives. Recently we reconnected with leaders from the New York City and Long Island chapters in lively Zoom sessions where we learned more about how their Caring Collaborative initiatives formed, developed, and evolved to serve the needs of their members. Carol Lioz of the Long Island chapter and Barbara Alpern, Barbara Stahura and Sally Dougan from the New York Chapter were generous in sharing educational meeting topics as well as their documentation on organizational structure and training. We also had the opportunity to meet last fall with Janet Mandelstam from the San Francisco Caring Collaborative when she was visiting the Twin Cities. We were planning to connect with chapter members and share information at the Joy Loverde presentation, which was originally scheduled for late April.  

Covid-19 forced the postponement of that plan and has also prompted us to re-examine our original model of service, information exchange, and education. The service concept of rides to medical appointments and in-person visits has changed for now to a more virtual connection model. In May we offered two online meetings with members to connect. We were pleased at the interest and attendance and were encouraged that members see value in the chapter providing programming around health topics, including mental health. On July 20 and 27, we will be offering our first Health and Wellness Program, a two-session online workshop on Legacy Writing facilitated by Karen West. See the chapter events page for more information and to register.  

We are looking to implement a pilot project with timing contingent on community conditions. We welcome feedback, ideas, and expressions of interest in this initiative. Contact Jill at jill.goski@gmail.com

From the February 2020 Newsletter

What is a Caring Collaborative?
 
That is the question seven members of our Minneapolis/St. Paul TTN Chapter have been exploring since September 2019.
 
The Caring Collaborative originated over a decade ago in the New York City Chapter of The Transition Network. Drawing from the chapter membership of TTN, the NYC Caring Collaborative developed a network of women to help one another with rides to doctor/medical procedure/day surgery appointments or when short-term illness or disability strikes.
 
Most members of The Transition Network cherish their independence and capacity to navigate successfully through the stages of a long life. However, most of us have witnessed someone who has experienced an unexpected accident or health issue that requires temporary limitations to their capacity to operate independently.   
 
Barbara Stahura, 65, a longtime heath care executive and prior chair of New York City’s Caring Collaborative, calls this “help insurance.” It is unpaid, informal, but essential. “You need to plan for it before you need it,” she said and belonging to a group of this kind is one way to accomplish that. 
 
Hearing tidbits about Caring Collaboratives in other TTN Chapters piqued the interest of Tracey Baker, Nancy Bargsten, bj Christy, Julie Efta, Kathleen Peterson, Karen West and Jill Goski to explore together whether a Caring Collaborative should be considered in MSP. By the end of December, we had interviewed representatives from New York City, San Francisco, and Long Island, three of the four TTN Chapters that have experience with Caring Collaboratives. We hope to interview a representative from the fourth chapter, Philadelphia, soon.  
 
While there are some common elements and themes across these three chapters, there are also differences. The Caring Collaborative has three core elements - all confidential: 

  • an information exchange, which members use to share information about medical conditions and medical providers; 

  • a service corps of women who volunteer to provide hands-on assistance to other members; and

  • groups that meet to talk about health topics or participate in health education programs.

 
Each Caring Collaborative adopts the program elements appropriate for their community. Our committee task in the new year is to explore the repertoire of resources available locally and determine where there may be gaps that may be filled by developing a Caring Collaborative locally.
In January we met with Honoring Choices to learn about their programs and services. Additional organizations and resources we plan to consider include

  • Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging/Senior Linkage Line,

  • American Bar Association Commission on Aging,

  • Minnesota Elder Justice Center,

  • Citizens League,

  • Bush Foundation, and

  • Solos Taking Charge Meetup Group

Our intent is to gather more information from our members and share information at our April 30 program on Active Aging with Joy Loverde.  Stay tuned!
To read an article about the Caring Collaborative:  https://khn.org/news/when-needs-arise-these-older-women-have-one-anothers-backs/

Material from www.thetransitionnetwork.org, 18:20:30 September 18, 2021.
Copyright © The Transition Network 2021