HAMLET – There is a proverb that states, “the trick to aging gracefully is to enjoy it,” and the Hamlet Senior Center proved it to be true with its first Health Fair.
Held Thursday in the Senior Center’s backyard by the Hamlet City Lake, the Health Fair kicked off at 10:30 a.m. and lasted until 3 p.m. With the support and partnerships of several community vendors, approximately 150 senior citizens attended and the event proved to be a “major success.”
“There’s no parking,” said Nikki Seawell, Director of the Hamlet Senior Center. “So, I would say that is a success,“ she added pointing to the packed parking lot.
Popcorn and hot dogs donated by Highway 55 of Rockingham were in abundance, as volunteers from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office cooked and served the many seniors in attendance. BB&T Bank donated water, and Cheerwine donated sodas. Vendors from throughout Richmond County and surrounding counties lined the parking circle as they provided information and free services to the guests.
Rite Aide of Laurinburg, N.C., provided free vaccinations for seniors and city employees. First Health advertised the event and offered free glucose screenings, and the North Carolina Lions Club was on site with their vision and hearing van that offered free screenings.
FIT Period, a new gym located in Hamlet, owned and operated by Chris Crank and Richard Murphy, both natives of Richmond County, was also on site leading groups of seniors in senior-tailored exercise and stretch sessions. They also provided an opportunity for seniors to enter into a drawing for a chance to win a free month of membership to their gym.
Hamlet Senior Center’s own fitness instructor, Mary Bingham, who will be hosting, “Fit, Flex, Fun,” out of the center starting this week, led a sample class for seniors. Belly dancers, who offer classes every Friday and Saturday at the center, got seniors out of their seats and moving and grooving to a beat.
“This is what we wanted; a very interactive health fair,” stated Seawell, addressing the goals of herself and the advisory board after four months of planning. “We didn’t just want it to be an opportunity to gather very important information about living and aging, but we really wanted it to be an opportunity for everyone to be engaged while doing so.”
Former director, and now N.C. Senior Tarheel Legislature Delegate, Susan Sellars shared the same sentiment about the purpose of the center.
“Hamlet Senior Center opened back in 1985, and for the 30 years that I was there, the purpose has always been focused on keeping seniors living longer by keeping them living younger and keeping them moving and active,” Sellars said.
As an operator for 15 years of the Senior Games, held statewide each spring aimed to keep people over 50 years of age living healthier and fit lives, Sellars lives by this mission statement and is proud that her successor shares the same vision.
Amongst those in attendance, Linda McInnis, 72, a retired insurance worker, spoke very candidly about the outcome of the health fair.
“This has been awesome,” McInnis said. “It’s a really good turnout and best of all, I love the free raffles.”
Her husband, who is an Air Force veteran after serving his country for 20 years, just passed in January of this year. As a widower, she feels these type of events and services are necessary.
“I am glad that there are places like this in the community to come and gather helpful information,” McInnis added. “Plus the fellowship with one another as we continue to age is a great thing.”
The Hamlet Senior Center has a host of upcoming events and classes, including a series focused on concerns about falling and increasing activity called, “Matter of Balance”; free diabetes education classes; canvas painting; and basket weaving.
Hamlet Senior Center is located at 102 Veteran’s Drive in Hamlet, N.C. For more information check out their website at www.hamletnc.us/seniorcenter.html or contact Director, Nikki Seawell, or any staff members, at (910) 582-7985.