On Tuesday, Steve Donaldson interrupts a group of seniors watching “The Young And The Restless” at the East Central Community Center to talk with them about making the most of their doctors’ visits.
“You are the most important person in your health care,” he says.
Two days later Donaldson rolls his cart of health education materials into the lunchroom of the American Indian Community Center on Third Avenue.
On his way, he passes old photos of people in traditional Native American costumes and headdresses, and a sign that reads, “It is only right to honor and cherish our elders.”
The seniors enjoy chicken, baked beans and cole slaw for lunch, and Donaldson talks with them about how to prevent a serious fall. “Falls are the major cause of injury for people age 65 and older,” he says.
After hearing the presentation, 59-year-old Priscilla McLean says it’s “relaxed and comfortable” when he comes to the community center to talk with them. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s “good-looking,” she jokes.
Donaldson is part of a network of educators, pharmacists and health-care providers who teamed up to go into the community and offer convenient health information and testing for seniors. The project is called Healthy Seniors 2000.
“Healthy Seniors 2000 is an effort initiated by the Spokane Regional Health District to bring together all of the programs that work with aging and long-term care,” says Linda Jackson, who’s also a health education specialist. “Our overall goal is to help Spokane’s seniors stay as healthy as they possibly can.”
Besides going to Spokane’s community centers, Healthy Seniors 2000 presenters visit other meal sites, nursing homes and senior apartment complexes. “We’ve targeted areas where seniors congregate,” Jackson says.
Through this program, seniors have easier access to a variety of tests, including those for blood pressure, hearing and vision. And educators lecture on topics ranging from dental health to environmental health, from injury prevention to substance misuse.
Federal funding for Health Seniors 2000 is administered through the office of Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington.
To find out more about Healthy Seniors 2000, or to bring one of its presentations to a location near you, call 324-1648.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
MEMO: Created in support of the Spokane County Health Improvement Partnership (HIP), Discoveries highlights people working to improve community health and well-being. If you have a discovery that deserves recognition, call Elana Ashanti Jefferson at 459-5419. To find out more about HIP, call 482-2557.
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