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.
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.”
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.”
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 uchealth.org/aspenclub. 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.”