MOORESVILLE – Seniors have specific health concerns compared to other age groups.
That’s why it’s important for them to receive specific health education, according to Mitzie McCurdy, director of community outreach and Senior Circle at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center.
Senior Circle, which started in 2010 at the Mooresville-based hospital as Senior Extra, is a monthly program held in a group setting that focuses on seniors’ needs and concerns when it comes to their health.
“With an ever-growing population of seniors in our area, we wanted to focus on education to address their unique health issues,” said McCurdy in an email.
From 2014 to 2017, Senior Circle was a paid membership program associated with the national Senior Circle Association.
But when the Senior Circle Association ended on Dec. 31, 2017, it gave local Senior Circle chapters across the country – including Lake Norman Regional Medical Center’s – a chance to be free of charge and open to everyone.
A new topic of discussion is selected each month. Previous topics addressed have included things like home safety and fall prevention, weight loss options and therapy for dizziness and vertigo.
McCurdy said topics are usually chosen based on trends in health care, health awareness months or member suggestions.
The program had also included social events like holiday parties and the occasional trip to places like San Antonio, Texas, and the New England area.
McCurdy said the average group size for the monthly meetings has been about 15 people.
“But we would, of course, like to see it grow,” McCurdy said.
Jim and Pat Richart have been attending the center’s Senior Circle program since it began in 2010.
“We knew Mitzie, and we were always using their free services at the senior center for blood pressure and blood sugars (testing),” Jim said. “So we were really doing it longer than that, when you think of all the time we spent with them there.”
Jim said he and his wife, who are both 85 now, began attending the meetings so they could be prepared for anything.
“I’m always concerned about strokes and blood clots,” Jim said. “My wife and I, neither of us is on prescription drugs, which for 85 I think is pretty good. But (one day) we might (have health problems), so it’s good to know something about it.”
Jim said some people come only to programs that pertain to them, while others attend every session.
“Some come in with lots of problems,” Jim said. “And they want to discuss are they on the best medications and is there anything else they can do. They’re the ones that get more out of it than I do.”
In addition to the educational aspect of the program, Jim said he and Pat have made great friends while attending the meetings.
“A lot of the same people have been going to it for the whole time,” Jim said. “You make good friendships. And Mitzie is a wonderful hostess.”
To anyone who is thinking of attending the program, Jim said “You need to come.”
“It doesn’t sound like much, but they need to come and find out what it’s about,” Jim said. “Even if it doesn’t pertain to them at that time, it might in the future, and then they’ll have an indication of who they should contact.”
The group meets 3-4 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every other month at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center, 171 Fairview Road in Mooresville.
The next Senior Circle meeting will be held Aug. 1. The topic will be Urine Incontinence Therapy, and therapists from Lake Norman Rehabilitation will be making a presentation.
“Women of all ages can experience an uncontrolled loss of urine due to aging, pregnancy, childbirth, obesity and chronic coughing,” according to a news release about the next Senior Circle. “Learn about a specialized treatment available.”
There will be a chance for attendees to ask questions after the presentation.
Reservations are recommended but not required. Participants are encouraged to bring a friend or a spouse with them.