Ice cream social touts Stillaguamish Senior Center's services

Darlene Lockhart, left, serves up a bowl to Barbara Johnson at the Stillaguamish Senior Center
Darlene Lockhart, left, serves up a bowl to Barbara Johnson at the Stillaguamish Senior Center's ice cream social on Dec. 8.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

SMOKEY POINT — The winter holiday season is still well underway, but the Stillaguamish Senior Center already has its eyes on ways to help people lead healthier lives in the New Year.

The Stillaguamish Senior Center's ice cream social on Thursday, Dec. 8, treated visitors to a pair of health experts who will be offering unique ways to feel better in January and beyond.

Elsa Del Toro is a licensed acupuncturist — now classified as an "East Asian medical practitioner" by the state — who will be offering a walk-in community acupuncture clinic at the Stillaguamish Senior Center on Wednesdays, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., starting on Jan. 11, and she touted the value of acupuncture in meeting a number of everyday needs, especially for seniors.

"You can have acupuncture treatments in conjunction with medical treatments from a doctor, or on their own," Del Toro said. "The issues that they cover include digestion, insomnia, depression, anxiety and even just pains."

Del Toro estimated that between 50 percent to 60 percent of her current base of clients in her private acupuncture practice are seniors, for whose pains acupuncture can serve as an effective remedy.

"Whether it's their hips, knees, backs or arthritis, pain is probably the number one issue that I treat my elderly patients for," Del Toro said. "It's amazing how just alleviating pain can help resolve any number of other issues."

While Del Toro's private practice charges between $60 to $120 per each hour-long visit, her walk-in community acupuncture clinic will charge only $20 for seniors, veterans and military personnel, and $30 for members of the general public, a savings that she explained will be made possible by treating a higher volume of patients at once.

"By seeing three to five people at a time, I can lower the costs for everyone," Del Toro said. "Not only does this create more of a community atmosphere, but the smaller fees can encourage people to come more often and see greater results. I enjoy what I do, but I don't want my patients to be dependent on me. I just want to bring them into balance."

For more information, call Del Toro at 425-876-0073.

Ellis Waller has her Master of Science in gerontology and spoke to the crowd about "The Healing Power of Humor," a completely free-of-charge program she'll be presenting at the Stillaguamish Senior Center on Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to noon, from March 8-29. She emphasized that the program would not be comedy or entertainment, but rather, it's aimed to aid participants in drawing the humor from their own lives.

"Having a sense of humor can be hard work, especially when the losses of your life outweigh the gains, but you need an optimistic attitude," Waller said. "It's also important that you share that laughter, because laughing alone is not as much fun as laughing with a group."

Waller will be leading groups in creative exercises to bring out that humor, in part by talking to one another "on a deeper level" and sharing their positivity with each other.

"Laughter induces a relaxed response that's psychologically and physiologically beneficial," Waller said. "When you can reframe even the negatives in your life into positives, you have better emotional and mental health, which allows you to age more successfully."

For more information, call Waller at 360-653-4551.

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