Atherleen Gooding wants her body to last a long time, so she takes good care of it.
She is 66 and has been lifting weights for 35 years. She walks three miles every day. She eats lots of fruits and vegetables and has given up red meat.
To make certain her hard work is paying off, she attended the health fair sponsored by Christiana Care at the Wilmington Senior Center. Gooding received free screenings for bone density, diabetes and hypertension, as well as a flu shot.
“It’s good to get tested on a regular basis,” she said. “You can find out if there is a problem and take care of it right away.”
The event took place on Oct. 27, which is Make a Difference Day, an annual observance in which citizens are encouraged to band together to help other people.
Christiana Care makes health care convenient and accessible to people in the community all year round through its outreach and education programs. By removing barriers to care, people can get the help they need when illnesses are in their earliest, most treatable stages.
People also can learn to prevent diseases through healthy behaviors, such as not smoking and practicing safe sex.
Deborah Hassler, an advanced practice nurse who treats trauma patients at Christiana Care, says texting and driving is a dangerous practice that contributes to accidents and serious injuries that are sometimes fatal.
“We are here to make people aware of just how serious this problem is and to ask people to sign a pledge that they will not text while driving,” she said.
Attendees also could learn their body mass index, or BMI, an indicator of obesity, as well as tips on starting an exercise regimen. Christiana Care residents gave quizzes on suggested portion sizes in a nutritious diet. For example, a serving of meat should be no larger than a deck of cards.
“How big should that serving of cheddar cheese be?” asked Amit Patel, M.D.
The answer: the equivalent of four dice.
In all, more than a dozen residents and attending physicians participated in the day’s events, including staffing Ask the Doctor tables, where people could get answers to common questions about health and wellness.
There were two presentations: Ina Li, M.D., a gerontologist who operates a Christiana Care practice at the Wilmington Senior Center, discussed how to age gracefully. Karla Testa, M.D., and Himani Divatia, M.D., two residents at Christiana Care, talked about health and wellness for all ages.
Linda Brennan-Jones, a Christiana Care social worker, connected people at the health fair to resources, including homeless shelters and the Community Access Healthcare Program or CHAP, which provides discounted care for people who don’t have insurance. Attendees who don’t have a primary care provider were linked with a medical home where they can receive routine care.
Seniors were encouraged to bring friends and relatives to the event.
“A lot of grandparents are raising children, so we are reaching out to people in all age groups,” Jones said.
Doris Murphy, 81, of Wilmington, took home information on screenings for colorectal cancer. She had her heel scanned—a quick, painless screening designed to detect bone loss—and was reassured that her bone health is good.
“Knowledge is power,” said Stacy Adams, a Christiana Care radiologic technologist certified in bone-density testing. “If someone gets a negative result here, we refer them for a more extensive test.”
As for Gooding, she learned that her lifestyle is paying off. Her bones are strong, and her blood pressure and blood glucose are at healthy levels.
“I’m happy that I came,” she said. “It only takes a few minutes to get screened—and now I have peace of mind.”
Photo gallery: Health fair at Wilmington Senior Center
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