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Teaching seniors to live the good life

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Vanessa McLean of Good Neighbours Active Living Centre and Jackie Friesen of Smoothie Bar prep smoothies for participants in the centre's spring health fair.

PHOTO BY EVAN COMSTOCK Enlarge Image

Vanessa McLean of Good Neighbours Active Living Centre and Jackie Friesen of Smoothie Bar prep smoothies for participants in the centre's spring health fair. Photo Store

The annual Spring Health Fair at the Good Neighbours Active Living Centre was held Tues., April 9.

I arrived to find the group of 40 participants enjoying smoothies made from The Forks Market’s Smoothie Bar. It was a well-deserved nutritional replenishment as the group had just finished an hour of circuit training which was preceded by an Interactive presentation entitled Aging IQ. Once the smoothie presentation was complete the group of young-hearted seniors was all set to participate in a workshop explaining and demonstrating the key aspects of meditation.

I spoke with Vanessa McLean of Good Neighbours about the activities.  

"We are hoping that we will provide the participants with new skills and encourage them to stay active in the community while maintaining their independence," McLean said.

The day seemed planned to provide a perfect balance of education, sport, nutrition and relaxation.

The first presentation provided an opportunity to learn about aging, and shed light on what the participants knew, providing them with their ‘aging IQs’. Next, everyone was divided into groups for circuit training, where they had the chance to try different exercises. Volunteers at stations showed how to do exercises correctly. The workout was divided into categories such as balance, flexibility, strength and endurance.

As I rushed away, I felt as if I should stay and enjoy the meditation session. Relaxation is a key component to a person’s well being and I thought the participants would certainly have more relaxing and stress-free evenings for taking a moment to meditate.

I left to the sounds of the blender whirling and laughter of those enjoying the day.

"It feels great to do this because a lot of seniors might not have had these resources or connections and it is nice to be able to provide that for them," McLean said.

This spring event is considered a mini-conference. In the fall, Good Neighbours will hold a health fair that is more like a trade show with booths and displays.

McLean and members of the WRHA’s Healthy Aging Resource Team have formed an organizing committee with four volunteers to organize the event.

The volunteers on the committee are seniors who are able to provide ideas and direction.
Evan Comstock is a community correspondent for East Kildonan.

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