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Try giving the gift of health this holiday season

Dec. 17, 2012 |

SPRINGFIELD – How many times have you heard the phrase, "If you have your health, then you have everything?" Why not give friends and loved ones the thoughtful gift of health this holiday season by selecting meaningful presents that focus on health and wellness and shows them that you care and want them around for a long time? Whether shopping for the health and fitness buff on your list, or trying to encourage someone to follow a healthier lifestyle, there are gifts aplenty to maintain good health or to get healthier as the new year approaches. Several Baystate Health caregivers shared their thoughts on what healthy gifts they will be giving during the holiday season, or would even like to receive themselves: Dr. Wilson Mertens, medical director, Cancer Services, Baystate Regional Cancer Program at Baystate Health, suggests the following gift ideas: bicycle or indoor treadmill, a good pair of walking shoes or hiking boots accompanied by a map of the trails throughout Western Massachusetts, swimming trunks and a gym membership, pill box for the elderly and sight-impaired to help avoid medication complications, hands-free setup for cell phone in the car. Dr. Lindsey Grossman, chair, Department of Pediatrics, Baystate Children's Hospital, offered the following gift ideas for kids: age/reading level appropriate books, bike/trike with helmet, jump rope for exercising anywhere, Wii sports game to keep kids moving indoors, soccer ball. Ida Konderwicz, pediatric trauma/injury prevention coordinator, Baystate Medical Center, finds the following gifts good for one's health and well being: cookbook on healthy eating, pedometer, iTunes gift card to purchase applications for healthy recipes, relaxation music, gift certificate to a health foods store, fruit basket. Molly Gray, director of Baystate Children's Hospital and Women's Services, offered the following healthy gift-giving tips: Yoga classes, spa gift certificate for a massage, Fruit of the Month Club, salsa lessons, hula hoop, the promise to be someone's walking partner at least twice a week, Nike Free barefoot-style running shoes in neon purple. Dr. Maura Brennan, director, Geriatric Fellowship Program, Division of Geriatrics and Post Acute Medicine, Baystate Medical Center, suggested healthy gifts for older people at different stages of health and function. She noted for some it would be wise to get their physician's input before gifting: •For healthy, vigorous elders with no limitations physically or mentally – gift membership to a gym that provides initial orientation to equipment and services and can adapt routines for older adults; gift membership to Tai Chi classes; ballroom dancing or Yoga, which can all improve balance and flexibility; and the gift of classes in a new area of interest to keep the mind active such as crafts, a new language, piano or cooking lessons. •For an elder with some physical limitations or early memory loss, who can still live independently – membership in a local special interest club to help keep them social, such as a dominoes group, senior chair exercises, bingo, depending on what the person likes; vouchers for transportation and errands around the house; arranging for a "lifeline" for a person who may be at risk of falls. •For an elder with major limitations in terms of his or her ability to move around or who is memory impaired enough to require consistent support and supervision: homemaker or companion service; home-delivered meals; enrollment in a senior day program. Lisa Bowler, manager, Wellness and Worklife at Baystate Health, and staff recommend the following healthy gift ideas: session with a personal trainer; for the dog lover, buy a new leash – it helps get them walking, too; heart rate monitor; participate in a local blood drive; new gym bag; bathroom scale; water bottle with filter; EarPods for use when walking, jogging or working out; session with a nutritionist; water purifier; and blender or juicer. For more information on Baystate Health, visit www.baystatehealth.org.

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