Stilly Senior Center has health, wellness in mind

Seniors exercise during a Zumba Gold class, taught by Alethea Watson, at the Stillaguamish Valley Senior Center. From left, Helen Wheeler, Alethea Watson and Lisa Smith. - Lauren Salcedo
Seniors exercise during a Zumba Gold class, taught by Alethea Watson, at the Stillaguamish Valley Senior Center. From left, Helen Wheeler, Alethea Watson and Lisa Smith.
— image credit: Lauren Salcedo

ARLINGTON — The Stillaguamish Valley Senior Center is offering a number of classes helping seniors of all ages maintain their health, as well as hosting an upcoming third annual Health and Social Services Fair focused on preventative measures.

The Health and Social Services Fair is a free event scheduled for Sept. 26, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the center.  Participants can be screened for health issues including blood pressure checks, glucose readings, bone density scans, memory challenges, skin cancer tips and more. The center will also be providing free flu shots.

Seniors attending the event will have the opportunity to sit in on informational seminars and exercise demonstrations, and peruse more than 40 vendor booths. Contests are to be held and prizes are set to be given throughout the day. Each participant will receive a “Passport to Wellness” which they can take to each vendor stand to get stamped. Prizes will be given for the most stamps in a passport.

Dick Foley of “The Brothers Four” and KOMO’s “Northwest Afternoon” is set to headline the event. Foley has experience in the health field from producing educational and clinical videos for the Virginia Mason Medical Center. His keynote speech is on healthy aging strategies.

“He’s gone through some health issues,” said Adele Erbeck, outreach specialist at SVSC. “He comes and talks about how to live a good, healthy life.”

Erbeck urged seniors to attend the annual health fair in order to take advantage of some of the free services that are being offered.

“Mostly I just want to let people know about the fair and hopefully more people will come. We have a lot of things planned,” she said.

In addition to the fair, the center is hosting a variety of weekly classes with a health focus. “We have ongoing seminars for issues like diabetes, stroke or heart disease,” said Erbeck. “What we are really stressing is exercising, eating healthy and prevention.”

One important aspect of keeping healthy is being active, especially for seniors, said D.J. Winebrinner, program and volunteer coordinator for the center.

“We are offering a lot of physical education classes,” said Winebrinner. One such class is their Fun, Fit and Function class, which is returning in September. “It’s an aerobics class and it can be very active,” said Winebrinner. The center also offers yoga, which Winebrinner suggests for more low-key fitness. “We’ve got ‘Stretch and Breathe Yoga.’ It gets them up to do some yoga and stretching. It’s quiet and meditative.”

Zumba is another class offered at the center, with both the original upbeat dancing class and another slower-paced version known as Zumba Gold.

“Zumba Gold is done in the chair, so it’s nice to be seated and still get a workout,” said Winebrinner. “We ask that they always check with their doctor and if they haven’t been active for a while, they should work up to it.”

“It’s just getting them started that’s so important,” said Erbeck. Winebrinner and Erbeck also mentioned that maintaining a healthy weight is essential to preventing dangerous health problems in the future. As a safeguard against that, the center offers Weight Watchers and TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) classes, to teach healthy and balanced eating practices. Those classes are open to all ages.

With changing technology comes changing ways to stay active and the center also boasts a Wii bowling team that holds two tournaments each month. The center’s Wii, a video game console, is equipped with a Kinect system which measures a player’s movements without requiring a controller.

“There are some games they play and it’s a lot of work,” said Winebrinner. “They can be as active as they want with the Wii.”

Although many of the center’s classes focus on physical health, Erbeck and Winebrinner also stressed the necessity for mental health in extending one’s quality of life.

“Keeping your mind sharp is really important,” said Winebrinner, who noted that bingo is a popular game for seniors looking to keep up their mental acuity.

For more information on the Stillaguamish Senior Center call 360-653-4551. The senior center is located at 18308 Smokey Point Blvd. in Arlington.


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