Reach Old Age in Good Health with Tips from Michigan Seniors

Julie Bitely

| 3 min read

Healthy Senior
Stay active.
That was the most common advice from seniors who shared their healthy tips at the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival Senior Day.
The event was sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network, North Ottawa Community Health System, Four Pointes Center for Successful Aging, and other community partners.
Seniors enjoyed a pickleball tournament, line dancing, entertainment from Grand Haven-based band Sweet Lou and the Savages, and bingo. Local health organizations provided advice and information.
Sweet Lou plays for the seniors.
Sweet Lou plays for the seniors.
Vincent Abel, 87, from Grand Haven, still cuts his own lawn and does the vacuuming. As he’s aged, he’s learned the value of moderation in all things related to health.
“You find a happy medium there,” he said.
A healthy diet has helped Herm Stukkie, 86, of Ada, age gracefully. He rides his bike and walks frequently, and still goes on regular summer camping trips.
Staying active and connected keeps Trudy Pannapacker, 75, of Holland, feeling good.
“I try to walk and I stay in touch on the internet,” she said.
She likes to visit PBS and Facebook to keep up with friends, family, and the news. Pannapacker also volunteers at ROCK Urban Youth Ministry as a way to give back to her community.
Spring Lake residents Sandy and Jim Vander Roest, 68 and 67, respectively, are staying active after retirement with help from their five-year-old Golden Doodle, Bella.
“You have to take her out and keep moving with her,” Sandy Vander Roest said.
Sandy recently had her second knee replacement surgery. She said not being able to move as much and aging in general, have forced her to really be careful about her diet.
“I do think about eating healthy more than I used to,” she said.
Libby Sielski has her nails painted by Sarah Smith from French Academy of Cosmetology.
Libby Sielski has her nails painted by Sarah Smith from French Academy of Cosmetology.
Pickleball players at the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival's Senior Wellness Day.
Pickleball players at the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival’s Senior Wellness Day.
Jim coaches the couple’s grandson’s baseball team and he and Sandy are both enjoying the many walking trails their new community provides.
“You have to be more conscious of doing some type of exercise,” Jim said of the post-retirement years.
Annie Lengkeek, 2014 Coast Guard Festival Marketing Director said the Senior Wellness Day is geared toward raising seniors’ overall level of health consciousness, putting them in direct contact with resources to help. About 450 people showed up to this year’s event.
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Four Pointes Executive Director Brigit Hassig said the event allows seniors to get together for a fun, social day and it helps them realize they have many peers of their age in the community.
Meeting seniors when they’re healthy is an important mission of the North Ottawa Community Health System, said Chief Communications Officer Jen Van Skiver. Putting seniors in touch with local health resources through events such as the Senior Wellness Day can help them be better healthcare consumers and stay healthy so they won’t need as many services later on.
“We want to keep them well to begin with,” Van Skiver said.
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Photo credit: Pixabay

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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