Aging is diverse, but can be organized into four different sectors:
- vital aging - programs that support healthy, vibrant aging
- housing - nursing homes, assisted living, independent living, etc.
- health care - disease management, hospitals, clinics, etc.
- aging services - transportation, caregiver support, nutrition, etc.
These sectors may overlap (a housing provider may offer a meal delivery program or an aging service provider may offer health programs), but they also operate within distinct networks.
Find Your Contacts
There are a multitude of organizations and people with which you might want to contact. Understanding your sector will help you whittle this overwhelming list down. Organizations from various sectors can be found at the Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging’s website at www.mnlcoa.org.
For a start try these:
- Vital aging - Vital Aging Network, Mature Voices Minnesota
- Housing - LeadingAge Minnesota, Care Providers of Minnesota, Senior Workers Associations
- Health care - HomeCare Association, Network on Hospice & Palliative Care, Stratis Health
- Aging services - local area agency on aging, Minnesota Board on Aging, Metropolitan Caregiver Service Collaborative, Live at Home Network
You may also want to join professional organizations. Many organizations representing sectors are organizational membership. However, there are two membership based organizations for individual professionals:
- Minnesota Gerontological Society à designed to link research, policy and practice aging. Great opportunity to network on the conference committee.
- Minneapolis and St. Paul Senior Workers à 2 separate organizations designed to help professionals network and learn about topics in aging
Network at Conferences
Some of the best places to network are conferences. You will find topic specific conferences (caregiving, hospice, homecare, etc.). These are generally organized by the trade associations of providers within these topical areas.
In addition, you will find several general conferences on aging. Three are designed for members:
- Minnesota Gerontological Society: April conference attracts 500 attendees, including faculty, students and practitioners in aging. Offers keynote and multitude of breakouts based on conference theme.
- Minneapolis and St. Paul Senior Workers Associations: Spring and Fall conferences attract 200 attendees, including marketing, housing and home care. Attendees participate in the same keynote speakers.
- LeadingAge Minnesota: February Institute attracts over 5,000 attendees. Focuses on housing, nursing home and adult day services, but a wide array of other session topics.
- The Aging & Disability Odyssey Conference: Every other year conference in July organized by the Minnesota Department of Human Services and the Minnesota Board on Aging. Typically, over 1,000 attendees. Focuses primarily on state and county funded programs and services.
Find the Job
Finding the right job requires you to explore your interests. Once you have established this, you can search a number of specific websites that list jobs. Start first with the trade associations in your sector. There are also other general websites that offer job postings:
- Care Options Employment Newsletter à updated weekly with jobs at www.careoptionsnetwork.org/network/employment
- LeadingAge Minnesota à mostly member organizations at www.agingservicesjobs.org
- Minnesota Council on Non-Profits à most comprehensive job listing of non-profits in Minnesota.