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BANDON – More than 125 women gathered Saturday at the Bandon Community Center to learn how to age gracefully. 

But the 16th annual Women’s Health Day event, sponsored by Southern Coos Hospital & Health Center and the Southern Coos Health Foundation, was more than just advice on how to mitigate the aging process. It was a chance for women to gather and talk openly about the unique problems facing their gender and to share the bond of sisterhood. 

A light breakfast and a generous lunch were provided by Southern Coos Dietary Department for the all-day event, which was free, courtesy of sponsors Roger Straus, Carol Meijer (Foundation board members) First Interstate Bank, Advanced Health, West Wind Court, Joseph Bain of Bain Insurance, SCHHC CFO Alan Dow, Foundation Director Scott McEachern and Banner Bank. Several others volunteered their time to help at the event, which was presented in loving memory of Roger Straus’s wife Anita, who recently passed away from cancer.

Certified personal trainer Nanci Johnson led the group in stretching exercises between each speaker and Joann Thompson, licensed Belly Fit instructor, gave a demonstration after lunch, showing basic belly dancing techniques that help to stay fit. 

There was a raffle of about 10 gift baskets, with proceeds benefiting the Foundation. Heath care and beauty-related vendors were also present for women to browse through during breaks. 

Dr. Megan Holland of Southern Coos Heath Clinic talked about menopause therapies, giving information on both traditional and non-traditional treatments. Recommendations for mastering menopause symptoms are the same as for many conditions, Holland said, and include following a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, staying fit, sleeping well and reducing stress. Become aware of personal triggers and seek expert advice when needed, she added.

Toni Kirkeby, MSW, LCSW of South Coast Hospice gave a talk and PowerPoint about “Taking Care of the Caregiver.” Kirkeby interspersed her talk with personal examples and discussed ways those who care for others are affected and urged caregivers to balance expectations with the reality of what can actually be accomplished. She stressed the heath benefits of maintaining friendships and taking care of physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs.

“Build a caregiving sandwich,” Kirkeby said, “get others to be on your support team … We’re really good at nurturing others but need to take time for ourselves.” 

Dr. Alexey Markelov, a plastic surgeon at North Bend Medical Center, gave a humorous and informative talk about cosmetic surgery and how it is not just for beauty, but also for functionality and quality of life. Markelov performs cosmetic surgery, as well as reconstructive surgery, including treating cleft palates, disfigurement from accidents or birth defects and skin removal following weight loss surgery.

“Not all plastic surgeons are like the ones you see on Nip/Tuck,” he joked. “We can do amazing things. Plastic surgery gives self-confidence and turns back the clock.”

Beth Hutton, who teaches Fit for Life exercise classes at Day by Day Fitness in Bandon, which was represented by a vendor booth, said she enjoyed the event. 

“The speakers are fun and very informative and it’s energizing to talk with other people and hear what they are experiencing,” Hutton said. 

Melody Malone from North Bend said she’s never attended Women’s Heath Day but was happy to meet new people and socialize. 

“I love it, especially for the senior women here,” Malone said. 

Laurea Arnoldt said she got a lot out of the speakers. 

“It’s wonderful just to have women come together and talk. I’m having interesting conversations and that’s a good thing,” she said.  

Camy Taylor said for her it is a day of self-care, a day to come and be with other women and enjoy fellowship while learning about aging gracefully.

“It’s amazing that this is free,” she added. “Though I bet the people here would come anyway. It’s remarkable that so many people support something like this.”

Bandon Western World Editor Amy Moss Strong can be reached at 541-347-2423, ext. 305, or by email at amy.moss-strong@theworldlink.com. Follow Bandon Western World on Facebook.

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