Stilly Senior Center helps elderly stay healthy at wellness fair
August 27, 2008 · Updated 4:14 PM
SMOKEY POINT Aerobics, massage, osteoporosis screenings, chiropractic information, weight-loss support and helping seniors live safely on their own were all part of the Stillaguamish Senior Centers first Senior Health and Wellness Fair Sept. 12.
Tables at the fair included depression screenings, nutrition programs and pharmacy assistance, while seminars covered managing drug interactions and advice on medication-free pain management. Yoga, tai chi and other exercises were also demonstrated.
Its a learning experience, said Krystyna Simm, of the Stillaguamish Senior Centers Family Caregiver Support Program, referring both to the topics addressed at the fair and the process of putting together the event. We want people to make healthy choices.
Much of the education was literally hands-on. Dannette Enevoldsen, of the Stillaguamish Wellness Programs, offered free massages to attendees while Kandy Webster, of Northwest Fitness Inc., led a group of seniors in an aerobics session. A number of fair presenters even visited each others booths.
Arlington Police Officer Lisa Wojciehowicz was one of many attendees to receive an osteoporosis screening from Kelly Penny, of the Cascade Valley Hospital. As Penny eased Wojciehowiczs bare foot into the testing machine, she explained that a decrease in bone tissue can be caused by too little estrogen or calcium and can result in fragile bones, that commonly fracture at the spine, wrists and hips.
It checks to see if the bones have thinned out, Penny said. If they have, we have a much larger machine at the hospital that can check your whole body.
Jason Silliker, of Arlington Family Chiropractic, hoped to provide attendees with a proactive awareness of potential spinal problems, so they can be stopped before they start.
I hear from folks who say they bent over to pick up something and their backs suddenly went out, Silliker said. But what theyre talking about are problems that have been brewing for 20 to 40 years. If the spinal discs thin out enough, due to lack of glucose or blood, youll get buildups of calcium trying to fuse together the segments. Thats where spurs come from and, past that point, it goes beyond what chiropractic can fix, into surgery. As doctors, we should be teaching people how to prevent this.
The Smokey Point Chapter of Take Off Pounds Sensibly provided a display of healthy meals compared to fast food, listing the calories of each.
Were a support group, but we dont tell you what to eat, said Smokey Point TOPS member Joan Stevens, who handed out books showing the calorie exchanges that dieters can use to lose weight while still eating filling meals.
We all want a quick fix, said Gail Bent, a TOPS member from Federal Way, visiting family in Arlington, who lost 200 pounds. It takes hard work and commitment, but it can be done, and you can eat real food.
While Stanwood resident Wilma Wheeler discussed the Lifeline personal emergency response system with Joan Miles, of the Cascade Valley Hospital Foundation, her husband Dan Wheeler received a massage from Lillian Peterson, of Quantum Wellness Center.
Lifeline gets seniors the help they need immediately, Miles said. A lot of them live alone and the assurance it offers is wonderful for them and their families.
Blood pressure is a big issue for seniors, said Peterson, still a licensed massage therapist and physical therapy assistant at the age of 77. Massage releases the body tension that can cause it. Its also often prescribed for chronic pain and injury relief.
This has been very helpful, said Wilma Wheeler, who looked into funeral arrangements for herself and her husband at the fair. We already come here every day, except for Tuesdays, since we dont play bingo.
Arlingtons Doris Clark is 70 years old, but shes just as concerned with looking after her 90-year-old mother.
They have good information here on how the elderly can avoid getting solicited over the phone, since she cant afford it, Clark said. Plus theyve got information on proper nutrition and other ways I can take care of myself.
Stillaguamish Senior Center residents Sylvana Makaad and Ruth Davenport expressed similar enthusiasm for the fairs exhibits.
Things like acupuncture can be expensive, but it lets me try them at least once, Makaad said. Its good that they talk about drug interactions, because we take so many medications that we sometimes forget. There is nothing here that Im not interested in.
Lifeline has been great for my peace of mind, Davenport said. I also liked the seminar on maintaining your brain. This is a neat event.
Its a different outlook on health, of focusing on prevention rather than treatment, Simm said. Youre as young as you make your body.