Entitled “Living with Diabetes,” the program was the first in a monthly series of senior living seminars that tackle the health issues that affect the elderly

It’s no secret that a person’s health begins to decline the older they get, especially if they don’t make a concerted effort to take care of themselves. From arthritis and osteoporosis to heart disease and Alzheimer’s, there are many common health concerns for seniors. But you can stave off disease as you age and grow older with your body and mind as healthy as possible by staying on top of your health, including visiting your doctor to help find problems early or before they even start.

In an effort to help senior citizens in the Valley live healthier as they age, South Texas Health System teamed up with Prominence Health Plan to launch the Senior Living Seminar Series on Saturday, June 26, 2021. Held at South Texas Health System Edinburg, the event – which took place in English and Spanish separately – focused specifically on diabetes, a disease that is quite prevalent in the Rio Grande Valley as a way to help seniors take control of their diabetes.

“Prominence Health Plan cares about its community and by hosting these Senior Living Seminars with South Texas Health System, we’re empowering our senior members of the community to take control of their health through education and prevention,” says Veronica Galligan, Community Relations Representative – Texas Region, Prominence Health Plan. “Diabetes is one of the biggest threats to the health and well-being of our entire community, not just the senior population, so we thought it would be the perfect topic to tackle with our first seminar in the series.”

Nearly 25% of people ages 65 and older are living with diabetes, according to the CDC, with the disease causing nearly 55,000 deaths among those 65 and over in 2014. But diabetes can be easily identified and addressed early with simple tests to determine one’s blood sugar level.

“The sooner you know you are at risk for diabetes or learn that you actually have the disease, the sooner you can take the appropriate action to fight the disease,” says Lance Ames, Chief Executive Officer, South Texas Health System Edinburg and South Texas Health System Children’s. “You need to start making changes right away to control your diabetes or reduce your risk to improve your long-term health outlook as you age.”

In addition to learning the warning signs of diabetes from South Texas Health System specialists and hearing firsthand from those afflicted with the disease on how it has changed their lives, the seminar also included a healthy cooking demonstration led by South Texas Health System’s Dietary Department and an exercise class led by the South Texas Health System Outpatient Rehabilitation program in Edinburg.

Beyond the informative talks and interactive lessons, attendees were also able to get no-cost screenings, including diabetic foot screenings, diabetic eye checks and blood pressure checks, as well as learn about senior-related services available to them through South Texas Health System, South Texas Health System Clinics, Prominence Health Plan, the Rio Grande Valley Diabetes Association and more.

“Family is important, especially in our tight-knit community in the Rio Grande Valley, and South Texas Health System and our partners for these seminars want to make sure that our parents and grandparents are with us for a long time,” says Tom Castañeda, System Director of Marketing and Public Relations, South Texas Health System. “It’s never too late to start taking proactive steps to maintain your health. Small lifestyle changes, like eating healthy and exercising daily, can actually even improve your overall health, even if you’ve already entered your golden years. These seminars are a step in the right direction for those who want to get their health in check.

The next Senior Living Series Seminar will focus on heart disease, the leading killer of adults over age 65, according to the CDC. Taking place on Saturday, July 24, 2021, the event will be held in the conference room at South Texas Health System Heart Clinics Conference Room, 500 E. Ridge Rd., McAllen, TX 78503. The English seminar will take place from 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.; the Spanish program will run from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. For more information and to register for this free event, please contact Veronica Galligan at 956-821-9569 or by email at [email protected]

About South Texas Health System

South Texas Health System is a multi-hospital healthcare system serving patients throughout the Rio Grande Valley. The system includes four hospital campuses with specialties in pediatrics, heart and vascular services, maternity and women’s health and trauma services. Treatment for behavioral health needs and addictive disorders is also provided through the system's South Texas Health System Behavioral Health campus location. South Texas Health System is affiliated with the South Texas Clinical Partners ACO, Prominence Health Plan, and Cornerstone Regional Hospital. The system operates an advanced Level II Trauma Center at South Texas Health System McAllen, the first and only pediatric ER at South Texas Health System Children’s, a specialized cardiac ER at South Texas Health System Heart, and six freestanding emergency rooms located in and around Weslaco, Mission, Edinburg, McAllen and Alamo. For more information on the system, please visit www.southtexashealthsystem.com .

About Prominence Health Plan

Prominence Health Plan began in 1993 as a health maintenance organization (HMO) and became of a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc. (UHS) in 2014. They provide coverage to more than 60,000 fully insured, self-funded and Medicare Advantage members throughout Nevada and parts of Texas. Prominence operates seven Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) in California, Florida, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas and Washington D.C., which are managed care systems that benefit communities by providing coordinated, high-quality care to Medicare patients. For more information about Prominence Health Plan, visit ProminenceHealthPlan.com or ProminenceMedicare.com. Parent company UHS ranks 275 on the 2017 Forbes 500 list of America’s largest corporations and consistently ranks among Fortune’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies.