Red hats, red scarves and red dresses.
The room was awash in a scarlet hue.
New Community residents and staff dressed in red to raise awareness about heart health on National Wear Red Day on February 5.
“We ask that you be aware of your heart. Guard your heart,” Sharon Pleasant-Jones, director of Health and Social Services, said.
Organized by New Community’s departments of Health and Social Services and Mission, NCC’s Wear Red Day featured informational presentations, raffle prizes, a heart healthy lunch and activities like Zumba.
“It’s wonderful to see the sea of red,” said Margaret Cammarieri, regional vice president of Multicultural Initiatives and Health Equity for the American Heart Association, as she looked across the packed room.
Cammarieri gave an informational presentation on ways for seniors to make healthier choices, especially in the kitchen.
“Oatmeal will help your blood pressure (and) cholesterol go down,” she said, highlighting a healthy breakfast option.
But a good diet doesn’t start in the kitchen—it begins in the supermarket aisle. She encouraged residents to educate themselves on the sodium content of items that may have similar packaging. For example, instant flavored oatmeal has a much higher sodium content than regular old-fashioned oats, she noted as she held up both packages in comparison. “Everyone should try and read the food labels,” she said.
Edwina Smith, 68, said that because she has high blood pressure, she is careful about her diet. “I watch what I eat,” she said. Her mother, who lived until her 70s, died of congestive heart failure and an enlarged heart, according to Smith. As a result, Smith said she incorporates healthy habits into both her diet and exercise. “I’ve always been a walker,” she said.
Heart problems also run in the family for Sheila Rodriguez, so she’s cautious about her diet. Rodriguez, 71, use a juicer and combines carrots, apples, ginger and celery into a healthy drink. She tries to avoid sugar and eats steamed foods.
Director of Mission Frances Teabout urged residents to take care of their hearts in a different way—on an emotional and spiritual level.
“What does God see when he looks at your heart?” she asked the audience. She gave examples of habits, such as holding grudges or gossiping, that can negatively impact one’s overall wellbeing.
“We’ve got to let go of some stuff because it’s killing us,” Teabout said. “Protect your heart. Take care of it.”