Aging experts tell us this is the first time in human history that the leading causes of death can be caused - or prevented - by our own behaviors. In fact, between people taking advantage of medical knowledge and choosing healthy activities, persons over the age of 100 are the fastest growing age group in the U.S.!
Seniors wanting to extend their lives while enhancing quality of life at the same time have a rare opportunity for free and low-cost health information and services on Saturday, Oct. 23. In the morning, from 8 to 11 a.m., the Senior Health Fair will take place at the Juneau Senior Center (adjacent to the Mountain View Apartments). The Health Fair will include comprehensive blood chemistry tests to detect such life-threatening but treatable conditions as diabetes and high cholesterol. Persons wanting the blood screening should fast 12 hours ahead of time but continue drinking water and taking prescribed medications. Persons with known diabetes should not fast.
The Senior Health Fair will also offer prostate and thyroid screenings as well as free tests in the areas of hearing, vision, glaucoma, blood pressure, height and weight.
Medical staff will be available to discuss individual health concerns and information will be provided on diabetes education, bone density, physical rehabilitation, home health care, Medicaid, Medicare and a variety of other topics.
At 11 a.m., the Women's Health Forum will begin at Centennial Hall. Although the free event is designed for women, men who are interested in the topics are welcome. The theme of this year's forum is "Feeding Body & Soul: Nutrition for the Prevention and Survivorship of Cancer and Osteoporosis." The topic of nutrition was the number one request of participants who attended the last two Women's Health Forums.
At noon, a healthful, delicious and free lunch will be available, consisting of salmon chowder, broccoli garbanzo bean salad, fresh bread and chocolate mousse.
Shortly after noon, while people are enjoying their lunch, the program will begin with Bartlett Dietician Linda Wild speaking about the menu of the day. The keynote visiting speaker, Diana Dyer, MS, RD, will share her knowledge of preventing cancer through nutrition. A nutritionist and published author, Dyer will also share her personal story as a three-time cancer survivor. Dyer was recommended by Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium diabetic nutritionist Tiffany Andres, who was exposed to her work in college.
At around 2 p.m., Jon Reiswig, M.D., will speak about "Boning Up on Bone Loss."
Dr. Reiswig, a Juneau orthopedic surgeon, has a special interest in osteoporosis and is very knowledgeable about bone density. He will recommend to forum participants specific lifestyle and nutrition changes in order to keep their bones healthy.
Following Dr. Reiswig's presentation, a panel of experts, including nutritionist Nancy Duhaime and osteoporosis physical therapist Denice McPherson will address participants' questions.
The Women's Health Forum was primarily organized by the Cancer Connection, a local organization dedicated to providing information and support to persons diagnosed with cancer. Staff from SEARHC and Bartlett Regional Hospital and the support of several local businesses also helped to make the Women's Health Forum possible. For further information about the Forum, call the Cancer Connection at 796-CARE.
Guest columnist Marianne Mills is the program director for Southeast Senior Services, a program of Catholic Community Service. CCS assists all persons regardless of their faith.