Aspen Club: More than just brain food

Longstanding health and wellness program expands to include Longmont’s 50-and-older residents
March 29, 2019
man and two women laughing during a longmont seniors program
Aspen Club Members from left, Uwe Pahlen, Helene Pahlen and Jo Vincelli, enjoy a moment during a recent Aspen Club event at UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital. Photo by Joel Blocker, for UCHealth.

Uwe Pahlen looks forward to his UCHealth Aspen Club bimonthly newsletter arriving in his mailbox.

“Every time, my wife and I choose one or two or three events to join,” Pahlen said. “We attend events that are good for us, and we share those events with our friends.”

In the latest edition, a Longmont class caught his eye.

“I’m always into food, and this one was about brain food. We eat healthy, but you always find a little thing that you may have missed,” he said. “So, we invited our Longmont friend to come with us.”

Pahlen and his wife live in Loveland and joined the Aspen Club in 2015. The club originated 30 years ago in Fort Collins as part of an effort by leaders at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital to support healthy aging for those 50 and older. It later expanded to Loveland, Greeley, and Windsor, and most recently, Longmont. The club is free to join, as are most of its programs and events.

Come celebrate 30 years with the Aspen Club at these local events

Aspen Club is celebrating 30 years with the following events. All but one is free and all will have refreshments. Aspen Club members and guests, please join us for the following:

2–4:30 p.m. Friday, May 10, Platte River Fort, east of Greeley.

Join us for a special meet-and-greet at this fun western-themed event center. Enjoy the music of Brad Fitch — one of the best John Denver tribute artists in the nation and meet Marilyn Schock, president of the new UCHealth Greeley Hospital.

 4–6 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, Sweetheart Winery, 5500 W. US 34, in Loveland.

Join us for a celebratory gathering featuring well-known local sculptor, George Walbye. George’s work is on permanent display in nationally renowned Benson Park Sculpture Garden, and his bronzes are in private collections throughout Europe, Canada and the United States.

3-5 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 3, Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia, in Fort Collins.

Meet Maestro David Dworkin. After a distinguished career as a widely-hailed clarinetist and conductor, he took his passion for classical music and transitioned it into an innovative, award-winning and healthful program called, “Conductorcise.” Participants will experience a symphony performance, music history lesson and a fun “conducting” activity all rolled up into one.

 *This event also takes place in Longmont during the Boulder County Fair. Look for an update on the time, date and specific location at or in the Aspen Club newsletter.

5-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, Lincoln Center, 417 W. Magnolia in Fort Collins. Dr. Brad Nieder is a funny speaker and clean comedian who has been described as “Jerry Seinfeld with an MD.” Have fun as you learn why laughter really is good medicine for combating stress, feeling better and living longer. There is a cost for this event as it is in conjunction with the Aspen Club’s annual holiday gala.

Aspen club offers an array of health, education and fitness programs and screenings to its members (and free membership) throughout northern Colorado. To see what you might benefit from or to sign up for an event, visit or call 970.495.8560.

salmon cooks in a skillet while women talks and room of people listen.
Rita Gee, head chef at UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital, discusses healthy eating habits to Aspen Club members at a recent event. Photo by Joel Blocker, for UCHealth.

Pahlen was among about 30 people who recently gathered at UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital conference room for the hospital’s first Aspen Club program: Smart Foods for Strong Brains.

Katie Johnson, who recently joined the Longmont Aspen Club, was there too.

“They gave us some good ideas on how to incorporate different nutritional ideas into our diets, such as fruits and nuts,” she explained.

Participants enjoyed a brain-healthy lunch — of grilled-salmon salad — and cooking tips by the hospital’s chef. A hospital registered dietitian also talked about “smart” food choices.

“But it was a social thing as much as it was as an educational thing,” Johnson added. “There were people there my age with the same questions I had. It is nice to have a resource whose focus is more on taking care of yourself opposed to just keeping you busy.”

women talking to audience during longmont seniors program
Erin Pallin, a registered dietitian with UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital, talks to Aspen Club members about eating healthy a recent event. Photo by Joel Blocker, for UCHealth

While the camaraderie and nutritional programs are great, Pahlen also says the club is his go-to source for trusted health advice.

“If I ever have a problem or question, I call the Aspen Club, and they guide me to the right thing — they are first in line for someone I’d contact,” he said.

The Longmont club already has a half-dozen events and classes scheduled, said Julie Adams, manager of the Aspen Club and volunteer services at Longs Peak Hospital.

And the club continues to add to its schedule.

UCHealth Aspen Club has about 13,000 members throughout northern Colorado. Services include everything from Medicare help to health screenings, heart health classes and yoga for back pain — and everything in between.

“We are working with the (Longmont) senior center and Longmont United Hospital on collaborative programs,” Adams added. “We will be participating in community events, such as Boulder County Fair Senior Day, and have Aspen Club activities that go along with those.”

women talking during longmont seniors program
Rita Gee, head chef at UCHealth Longs Peak Hospital, discusses healthy eating habits to Aspen Club members at a recent event. Photo by Joel Blocker, for UCHealth.

Adams said while the club is growing, they are trying to offer an array of programs to fit the different needs of its new members. Already scheduled are an informational talk on strokes from a UCHealth neurologist, a cycling program to help people get started, and an informational session on medical advancements, treatments and activities for arthritis. They also plan to provide such opportunities as medication reviews and smoking cessation.

Learn more about the Aspen Club in your area at Joining is free, and orientation sessions for new members are held regularly. Applications are available online, at the hospital, or through the mail.

“Being a member gives you firsthand knowledge of all the happenings that you can choose from to improve your life,” Adams said. “The Aspen Club is one way we can continue to educate and keep our community living extraordinary.”


About the author

Kati Blocker has always been driven to learn and explore the world around her. And every day, as a writer for UCHealth, Kati meets inspiring people, learns about life-saving technology, and gets to know the amazing people who are saving lives each day. Even better, she gets to share their stories with the world.

As a journalism major at the University of Wyoming, Kati wrote for her college newspaper. She also studied abroad in Swansea, Wales, while simultaneously writing for a Colorado metaphysical newspaper.

After college, Kati was a reporter for the Montrose Daily Press and the Telluride Watch, covering education and health care in rural Colorado, as well as city news and business.

When she's not writing, Kati is creating her own stories with her husband Joel and their two young children.