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Senior health focus of fair
More than 100 attend first event
Senior WEB
Mary Griffin, right, gives Barbara Rose a health screening Tuesday at the Healthy Aging and Fitness Fair at Sexton Hall. - photo by Autumn Vetter

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More than 100 senior citizens attended the first Healthy Aging and Fitness Fair on Tuesday at the Sexton Hall Enrichment Center in south Forsyth.

Valerie Rhoads, interim director of Forsyth County Senior Services, which presented the event, said it was a success.

“For our first time, I thought it was pretty good,” Rhoads said. “They all seemed to be thanking us on the way out for just offering the opportunity for the screenings.”

Several medical offices and other businesses provided the free screenings, which included blood pressure and sugar readings, vision and hearing checks, and Vitamin D and cholesterol measurements.

Chris Luttrell, program coordinator with senior services, said other offerings included demonstrations of exercise courses such as tai chi, yoga and tone and balance that are available through the county’s three senior centers.

“Then there’s also demonstrations for ballroom dancing that we now have classes for,” she said. “There are also just some games as far as how well do you know your food.”

Lisa Howard, a representative of Legacy Link, which serves seniors in a 13-county area in north Georgia, brought models with plastic foods showing seniors how to have a healthy diet.

“I’m just talking about nutrition as far as portion control and well-balanced meals,” she said. “Some seniors aren’t as active as they used to be … and everyone should maintain the portion sizes for healthy weight to help everything in the body.

“Seniors also need to think about the balanced aspect of their diet … a lot of time we hear them say they go home and just have a sandwich for dinner, but do they have any fruit or vegetables with it? And they also need the dairy for their bones.”

Joan Duchaine said she came to the event primarily for the free screenings.

“That was wonderful because I wanted to find out what my cholesterol was since I take medication for it,” she said, noting she visits the Center at Charles Place in Cumming at least three times a week for exercise.

“I need the exercise, but I have to be pushed.”

Elaine Kavanagh said she also enjoyed the health event, which ran from 10 a.m. to noon.

“It’s excellent [to have the screenings], especially if you’re not … going to a doctor regularly, which a lot of people don’t do unless they’re sick,” she said.

“These [screenings] are excellent because they give you a clue as to what’s going on with your body and the older you get, the more things start breaking down.”

Rhoads said the event likely will become an annual happening, although the time frame may change.

“We did get some [feedback] that they were disappointed that we weren’t having it at a time when those 50 and over that are still working were able to come,” she said. “So next year we may alter the time a little bit to catch both groups.”