Health & Wellness Close to Home

Moving to a new community means finding new healthcare providers for you and your family. Thurston County offers a wide variety of independent health practitioners and large healthcare systems to meet the needs of every member of your household. You’ll find high quality services, which rival larger communities, conveniently close to your new home.

Thurston County’s Public Health & Social Services department provides a wealth of information online about services and programs to achieve and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. A list of community gardens, helpful information and resources for quitting smoking, first-time pregnancy support, and much more is available on their website.

When you’ve finished lifting moving boxes and are ready to get back to lifting weights, Thurston County is home to several national gym franchises, in addition to locally-owned facilities and YMCA branches. You won’t have to look very far to find options for cardio, strength training, yoga, or aquatics. Recreational leagues for both youth and adults are offered seasonally through city parks and recreation programs for football, soccer, baseball, and volleyball.

Health and wellness resources are abundant and convenient in Thurston County. As you meet your new neighbors, ask for recommendations about their favorite healthcare practitioners, recreational activities, and wellness programs. It won’t take long to find the right combination of care providers and healthful activities that are the best fit for you and your family.

Health & Wellness Resources

Thurston County Public Health & Social Services
www.co.thurston.wa.us/health/

Hospitals & Emergency Departments
Multicare Captial Medical Center | capitalmedical.com
Providence Swedish Hospital | providence.org/swsa

Urgent Care Clinics
MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care | indigourgentcare.com
Providence Immediate Care
washington.providence.org/campaign/sw/sw-right-care-right-time
Rapid Orthopaedic Urgent Care
olyortho.com/rapid-orthopaedic-care
UW Neighborhood Olympia Clinic | uwmedicine.org

Dental Care
Thurston-Mason Counties Dental Society | tmcdental.org

Mental Health
National Alliance on Mental Illness/Thurston-Mason Chapter | namitm.org

Parks & Recreation Programs
City of Lacey | ci.lacey.wa.us
City of Olympia | olympiawa.gov
City of Shelton | sheltonwa.gov
City of Tumwater | ci.tumwater.wa.us

Senior Centers/Resources
lmtaaa.org/local-senior-centers.html

BY JULIE LEYDELMEYER

Simple Ways For Seniors To Stay Fit at Home

Staying home to reduce the spread of COVID-19 means that we’re not able to engage in our normal physical activities like going to a gym, participating in group classes, or playing sports. Being more sedentary can take its toll on our health, especially for older adults, but there are ways to stay fit and active while staying home.

Start by looking for ways to incorporate strength training or cardio workouts into your everyday activities. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests using your own body weight to your advantage by combining household tasks with extra movement, such as:

  • Doing heel raises in front of the sink when washing the dishes
  • Before putting your groceries away, using the full bags to add resistance to biceps curls or front shoulder raises
  • Taking advantage of commercial breaks when watching TV to complete a cardio circuit in your home, including chair sit-stands, a lap around the house (with stairs if available), and chair or wall push-ups
  • During your favorite streaming show, try seated knee lifts, kicks, foot slides, punches or arm circles

If you prefer more structure for your exercise routine, it’s easy to find a live or on-demand online class for nearly every interest—from Zumba to Silver Sneakers to yoga.

If you have a membership with a local health and fitness organization, like the YMCA, many are offering online classes as a member benefit. In addition, numerous free class options can be found on YouTube through a simple search or on popular websites, such as AARP.com.

Movement is an important tool for reducing stress and improving overall health, which helps us to cope with the anxiety and isolation of the pandemic. Take advantage of opportunities to be active throughout your day and you’ll soon find that a few minutes here and there can add up to better well-being.

One reminder about getting creative with your at-home exercise: don’t get hurt. Pay attention to how your body is feeling as you work out and don’t overdo it.

BY MARTINA PRESTON

Health Starts Where We Live, Work and Play

Healthy choices should be convenient choices for everyone in Western Washington. That’s why Pierce County medical providers are helping families live healthier lives, through programs and services in medical clinics and hospitals throughout our communities.

Tacoma health care quality comes down to access, affordability and outcomes. Out of 39 counties in Washington, Pierce County ranks 24 for health outcomes, 26 for health factors, and 33 for healthy behaviors. Research indicates that a healthy lifestyle may prevent up to 70 percent of common life-threatening diseases, including heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.

Since 2005, Pierce County Gets Fit & Healthy, a countywide initiative to promote the importance of healthy eating and active living, has provided tools to help everyone get fit and healthy. It is a major collaborative effort, led by the MultiCare Center for Healthy Living, the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties, and the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. Best of all, it’s easy to participate. Whatever your health challenge, whatever your fitness goals, Pierce County Gets Fit & Healthy has something for you.

Sure, healthy living is a long-term commitment, but there are steps you can take right now that will make you healthier today than yesterday and pave the way for healthy living tomorrow. Since Pierce County has 50 park sites totaling over 4,200 acres, why not find a walking buddy and get out on one of many walking trails right away? Not sure where to start? Check out this handy walking guide for beginners.

Health Care Resources

  • YMCA
  • Hospitals
  • Medical Clinics
  • Emergency Services
  • Senior Centers/Resources
  • Caregiver Support
  • Parent Help 123
  • Maternal Child Outreach
  • Community Health Care
  • Children With Special Health Care Needs
  • Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department

BY KELLY LENIHAN

Exercise Your Green Thumb all year long

Drizzly days that accompany the Pacific Northwest seasonality can take a toll on us. It is important to find ways to stay active and keep your spirits high. Gardening creates a sense of purpose and is a very rewarding activity because it allows people to experience success, build confidence, and connect with their physical environment. It’s very satisfying for seniors with dementia to nurture plants and it’s an activity that people feel naturally connected to.

Transitioning your gardens and raised beds from summer to fall is a great way to keep enjoying the outdoors and keep up your gardening all year long.

Many vegetables thrive in colder months and are also a great way to spruce up your cooking! A few greens that you can enjoy in the fall are spinach, lettuce, and kale.  Don’t forget your favorite root crops such as carrots, beets, onions and radishes.

The beginning of autumn is also an optimal time to begin harvesting herbs like rosemary, basil and sage, which actually develop their strongest flavor before blooming. You can snip them early in the morning and store them somewhere dry. What could be better on a cold afternoon than a warm bowl of soup garnished with fresh herbs from your garden?

If your passion for gardening is fueled by flowers, there are some beautiful annuals that can make your garden come alive with fall color as well. Some good fall annuals include pansies, verbena, and mums, which are great for borders, mass plantings, and containers.

The two most important steps you can take to help make sure your garden and planters are ready for the colder months ahead are:

  1. Add some mulch

Mulching late in the season can block weeds, keep in moisture, and insulate the soil. Mulch also prolongs the growing season, which will allow your garden to prosper. Another tip to remember is that leaves are a great substitute for mulch and can offer the same benefits. They add nutrients and soil as they breakdown. 

  1. Clean up and prune

It is important to trim and check spent plants for pests and diseases. If you do not see any sign of mildew or fungus on existing plants, you can even bury them and let them continue to act as mulch. by Angela Byrge