New You helps seniors achieve improved health, lifestyles

MARQUETTE – The thing about New Year’s resolutions, for most people, at least, is that they are difficult to keep.

So based on an idea gleaned from a conference, Kristy Basolo and Lindsay Juricek of the Negaunee Senior Center have launched a program that will help seniors keep on track with healthy lifestyles choices, targeting not just the body, but the mind and the soul as well.

It’s called New You and its activities and challenges are designed to be fun … and to last through 2013.

“At the first meeting, we gave them a list of tasks, most worth one point, to work on this month,” said Basolo, the center’s director. “The tasks are things like ‘get your blood pressure checked once this month’ and ‘read one book in the month of January’ and ‘donate to the charity of your choice.’

“At the end of the month, if they’ve earned 10 points, their name goes in a drawing for prizes. During the year, when they get to 60 points, for example, they earn a T-shirt. We have tasks for the mind, for the body and for the soul.”

At the initial meeting for the program, more than a dozen seniors signed up to participate in New You, which will meet once a month.

“They each filled out a starter sheet,” Basolo said. “It asked them to write down three things they are thankful for, what they want to gain from this program, what their goals are for the year and what besides New You they will do to reach their goals.”

The starter sheets will be turned in at the February New You meeting to give each participant a guide to remind him or her what it is they hope to achieve.

For Olivia Sleeman, the program started at the perfect time.

“I am at that age, 70 plus, when I am just looking for new, exciting, different things to do,” she said. “My husband has passed away and I am part of a group of ladies that has fun together. We’re always looking for new things to take on.

“New You was perfect because there’s so much to offer with it. I have a bucket list and New You is like an old ladies bucket list,” she said with a laugh. “Really, it’s great for your mind. They suggest you clean a closet or play a new board game or go to trivia. For the body, we will do Tai Chi and have our blood pressure read or make one-vegetable based meal a week.

“Then for the soul, New You suggests donating to charity or volunteering at your church for an hour,” Sleeman said. “These are great ideas and New You presents them right to you.”

One idea from the “for the soul” list is something Sleeman and her lady friends are going to do: Attend the Heikki Lunta dance at the center on Jan. 19.

“That maybe isn’t something you’d do by yourself, but with the New You group, it will be fun,” she said. “And New You isn’t just us ladies. There are some husbands and wives there and guys, too.”

Sleeman said she greatly enjoyed Tuesday morning’s Tai Chi session – one of the body tasks listed in New You.

“Tai Chi is precise, slow movements and I like that type of exercise,” she said. “And there was a new lady there for the first time and we invited her to join our group of women. She was so excited.

“We all need good friends, people you can spend time with,” Sleeman said. “Family is fine, but they have their own interests. With your friends, it’s a whole different ball game. New You is a great example. We all want to be there.

“The New You as far as I am concerned, is something we all need,” she said. “Especially at our stage of life. Especially the way society is now. We all need to learn compassion, to be more aware of others and to spend more time smelling the roses.

“Now, if we could just get those in our government to get along like that. They need us to set an example in being the new you, to show that people can get along, people with all different interests and political points of view. We can be there for each other.

“It’s about those kind of new beginnings.”

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.