Healthy Life, Seniors Living Well

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Maureen McMahonMaureen McMahon shared with the Hickory Rotary Club some of the new resources available in our community for people over 55 years of age, such as Frye Regional Medical Center’s Healthy Life, Seniors Living Well (link) program; and other similar programs she’s become involved with in her role as the Administrative Director of Rehabilitation and Senior Care Services at Frye Regional Medical Center. McMahon informed the club about some disturbing statistics and existing programs designed to mitigate the negative effects on an aging population, nationally and locally.


In the United States:

  • A high percentage of today’s population is aging
  • After World War II, the population exploded or “boomed” between 1946 and 1964 (~79 million babies born)
  • Today, someone turns 65 every 8 seconds

Closer to home:

  • By 2030, the baby boom generation will have reached retirement age (65) in the U.S.
  • In the Hickory MSA (Hickory, Lenoir, and Morganton) and the Unifour area, this trend will cause the 65+ population group to grow 64%

Living longer includes:

  • Emphasis on preventive behaviors
  • Healthy eating, exercise and social interaction
  • Readily available information
  • Medical and research advances
  • Advanced technology keeps our bodies working and makes us feel better

But here’s the challenge:

  • Increases in older population is projected to strain group-specific services and programs
  • National health care spending will increase by 25%
  • 80% of older Americans are now living with at least one chronic condition
  • 40% of those 65+ die of heart-related problems
  • Average age of joint replacement candidates is 67
  • Higher risk of cancer, high blood pressure – cholesterol, diabetes, etc.

And if that isn’t enough:

  • Boomers are the “sandwich” generation – sandwiched between caring for/supporting children and caring for/supporting parents
  • Aging parents and/or in-laws can require financial, emotional, physical support – or a combination
  • The recession has made financial hardships even more prevalent for many

But the good news includes:

  • More resources that target the senior population
  • More people facing these challenges, so we are not alone
  • More communication and collaboration among supporting agencies
  • More events for seniors and better promotion of these events

Locally agencies and community resources designed to support the senior experience include:

SIR (Senior Information Resources)

  • Unifour’s newest educational resource for seniors, their families and caregivers
  • Mission is to enhance the lives of seniors by being a comprehensive and collaborative point of contact, focusing on education, resources, and programs for seniors, their families and their caregivers.
  • Sir represents businesses, agencies, and organizations, whether for profit, non profit, governmental, or private, whose purpose, products, and services can enhance the needs of our senior population.
  • Sir in a non profit organization, in collaboration with the Catawba county Chamber of Commerce and the western Piedmont Council of Government’s Area Agency on Aging.
  • Started as an idea by Hickory Rotarian Susan Vincent of Home Instead Senior Care about 1-½ years ago, and has been successfully molded and guided into becoming over a 100 member organization.
  • Networking meeting 2nd Tuesday of every month
  • Last August-produced the First Prime of Life Senior Expo in this area, and the first Prime of life Magazine and going to hold the Prime of Life Senior Expo again this year-August 27th and published the Prime of Life Magazine again
  • Frye Medical Center, and Catawba Valley Medical Center, as several other health care organizations are heavily involved in this organization

Aging Coalition

  • Mission is to improve and promote the welfare of older adults in Catawba county
  • To oversee the implementation of the Catawba county aging plan
  • Act as a liaison between government and citizens, giving older citizens a voice and recognizing specialized needs for the elderly population.

PACE (Programs for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly)

  • Located in the former Dale Jarrett building on US 70 (across from Bennett’s Barbeque)
  • Pace is designed to reduce the cost burden to the elderly, many struggle to make ends meet because of increasing health care costs
  • must be 55 or older, live in a PACE service area (45 minute transportation radius) have a certified need for a nursing home level of care and be able to live safely within the community.
  • Pace provides all services covered by Medicare and Medicaid as well as medically necessary care and services not provided by Medicare and Medicaid
  • PACE Facility in Hickory is the 5th in NC and the first and only program in Western NC.

30 day readmissions-Transition of Care

  • Group looking at reasons for 30 day readmissions to hospitals-(Carolina Carelink-Frye/Catawba/Lake Norman) identifying the drivers of readmission in our community and provide well coordinated tactical interventions, to assist the beneficiaries in achieving the right services delivered at the right time in the optimal setting.
  • 1/5th of Medicare beneficiaries discharged from hospitals were readmitted within 30 days/1/3rd readmitted within 90 days/Cost to Medicare- 15 million due to readmission


Frye Regional Medical Center Healthy Life, Seniors Living Well includes:

  • Partnering with the community to serve seniors
  • Healthy eating
  • Exercise and movement
  • Screenings and education in community settings
  • Easy access to additional community resources
  • Customizing services for healthy living
  • Compiling offerings in one, easily recognized, simple-to-access program-improving the lives of a growing number of members 55 and older

Membership benefits of FRMC’s Healthy Life: Seniors Living Well program include:

  • Program key tag to identify you as a program member
  • Free Frye logo item giveaway
  • Discounts at specified local restaurants and businesses
  • Special YMCA privileges
  • Advance notice of upcoming educational and community events, as well as updates
  • Resources of adult children/caregivers
  • And more

To join Healthy Life: Seniors Living Well program fill out the application (link). Individuals interested in joining the healthy life program will need to print the healthy life application, fill it out and send it to Maureen McMahon or email the information off of the application or go on line to the healthy life website (on bottom of application) and fill it out.Once Maureen receives the application information, she will send you a healthy life packet, which includes a one week free pass to the YMCA, and a key tag that will allow you special discounts in the area.

Use the healthy eating tips and refrigerator and pantry lists of healthy foods (link) as a guide to improve your nutrition.

For more information contact, Maureen McMahon at Frye Regional Medical center, 828-315-3602 or by e-mail

Upcoming senior events in Catawba County:

May 1, 2013
Senior Resource Fair-Valley Hills Mall (9:00-12:00)

May 6, 2013
Senior Games Kick off
Highland Recreation Center (9:00)

August 27th, 2013
Senior Expo-Metro Convention Center (9:00-4:00)

General Info

  • Meeting Time:
    Thursdays from 12:00PM to 1:15PM
  • Meeting Location:
    430 17th Avenue NW,
    Hickory, North Carolina 28601