Scituate’s Council on Aging will present three workshops on senior health in the coming months in order to bring awareness to issues affecting the elderly.
According to Florence Choate, the director of the Council on Aging, healthy aging is a topic not often discussed among the town’s elderly residents, and is something that needs to be addressed.
“I would like to see us do to increase senior health and well being and save a lot of money for the community – in terms of Medicare, which is a huge amount of money,” Choate said.
The goal is to give an education to seniors about how to stay moving, eat properly, handle diabetes, and stay strong.
“The main concern is seniors are living longer and we’re trying to get them to really pay attention to health issues and weight and diet issues, because we see a huge difference in seniors that have taken care of themselves…and the other seniors who have not,” Choate said. “It is almost incredible to look at the difference. There is quite a difference in terms of the medical needs, the physical needs, and the quality of life.”
Along those lines, the first workshop for seniors will focus on healthy eating and exercise, and will take place on Monday, Feb. 6 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Scituate Harbor Community Building on Jericho Road.
Specialists will show seniors what exercises are possible, and will encourage seniors to stay active.
“It’s something that can keep you moving and your circulation going. Things you can do right in your own home,” she said.
The second part of the program during the first workshop day – called ‘Have your cake and eat it too’ – will focus on nutrition.
“Seniors who live alone and have problems with their legs find it difficult to stand in front of the stove and cooks, so they are eating a lot of frozen food, which has a lot of sodium, and they are eating foods that aren’t good for them - peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It’s decreasing their ability to stay free from diabetes,” Choate said.
The second series, set for Tuesday, March 6, from noon to 3 p.m. will also be at the Community Building but will focus on diabetes.
“We find a lot of seniors who, because of the diabetes, their circulation is very poor, they are showing up with things that are costly medically and time consuming - back and forth to doctors on a daily basis. This is teaching them how to live,” Choate said.
With so many seniors that have Type 2 diabetes, it’s important for seniors to learn how to handle the disease, why it’s important to be tested, and why seniors need to watch their calories and sugar intake.
Series three is scheduled for Wednesday, April 11, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and is about the “whole body solution”, Choate said.
The presentation will discuss how to deal with depression, the importance of socialization, and some general well-being tests, such as bone density tests and free glucose tolerance testing. A light lunch will be provided.
It’s a great opportunity for seniors to discuss important issues with people who are specialists in their field, Choate said, including physical therapists and nutritionists.
Choate is hoping for 30-50 seniors to show up to each event, but said that programs like this wouldn’t be possible in Scituate if not for the new community building.
“We don’t have the room [at the senior center]. We couldn’t do these programs, that was the problem. So I use [the new space] as often as I can for this purpose for health education,” Choate said.