The popular River Walkers program is back! This club for seniors age 60 and older has experienced tremendous growth since 2008. For the past two summers nearly 1000 River Walkers have come from Warren, Grosse Pointe Park, Waterford, Bloomfield Hills, Dearborn, Northville, Novi, Romulus, and Huntington Woods, Farmington Hills, and many other locations, near and far. They come at the urging of their loved ones, to take up the exercise program their doctor has encouraged them to start or for the social aspects. They look forward to seeing each other and staying healthy while celebrating the great weather and the view along the Riverfront.
“It is a beautiful place to walk,” notes Detroiter Gwendolyn Simmons, 76. “The main thing I really like is the connection to people like me who care about their health, who greet others and are socially and mentally active.”
On Tuesdays and Thursdays from June 4 to August 29, 2013 walkers will assemble at Rivard Park just east of the Renaissance Center where parking is free. From 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. walkers have an opportunity to stride along the river front. Some walkers take advantage of the time by speaking with DMC Detroit Receiving’s medical experts regarding any health concerns. Most make it a point to be back by 10:00 a.m. for the fun fitness activities, the screenings, and other health and wellness offerings from DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital. Doctors from the DMC Rosa Parks Geriatric Center of Excellence often provide screenings or talk informally about subjects like nutrition, cardiovascular disease, memory loss, skin care, and common medication issues.
Frank Brady, 64, a GM retiree from Grosse Pointe City, started with RiverWalkers last year to supplement his visits to the gym. “The incentive for going is just being with the people down there and getting a beautiful view of the river,” he says. “What Detroit Receiving is doing is superb. They have excellent people there and put on a good program.”
The Riverfront Conservancy has partnered with Receiving from the beginning, providing the RiverWalk path, tables, chairs, and audio system. Walkers receive a club t-shirt and a pedometer when they join. By registering when they arrive, their attendance is tracked. Those who walk three or more times per month get a gift at the end of the month from Detroit Receiving. Walkers must be at least 60 years old to walk. They are encouraged to obtain a physician’s physical exam before starting.
Bobbie Latham, 70, of Eastpointe, was talked into it by her sister. She has a rare lung disease. When she started, it was just for short distances. By the end of the season, she could go up the stairs at her home without being out of breath and had lost inches around her waist. “I look forward to going every time,” she said.
Sam’s Club and Meijer are joining DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital and The Riverfront Conservancy in support of the 2013 River Walkers program. Sam’s Club will be donating $10,000 worth of food and beverages. Meanwhile, Meijer has contributed a $5,000 sponsorship, which will offset the cost of gifts given to the walkers throughout the summer. These contributions are opportune because of adjustments in hospital budgets and the expansion of the program. Based on the amount of pre registered walkers, Receiving Hospital estimates close to 1,200 seniors participating in the River Walkers program this summer.
“Receiving Hospital is proud to offer this very popular program for the sixth year to the seniors in the greater Detroit area,” commented Iris Taylor, PhD, RN, president, DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital. “We are also happy to be partnering with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Sam’s Club and Meijer.”
When the weather looks threatening, the session will be canceled. RiverWalkers can call (313) 966-2690 after 8:30 a.m. to find out if the program will be canceled that day due to weather.
To schedule an appointment for a comprehensive senior medical examinations at Receiving’s Rosa Parks Geriatric Center call (888) 264-0102.