The Long Run - November 2017

Live Your Healthiest Life

Start with Healthy

We would like to take a moment to personally thank you for being part of the Senior Games movement. Because of people like you, these incredible events have inspired the world and demonstrated that achievement is limitless for active adults who lead a healthy lifestyle.

That's why we're proud of our National Senior Games sponsor Humana, one of the nation's leading health care companies, as they are committed to helping people work towards achieving lifelong well-being. We invite you to consider your unique health and wellness needs with Humana during the upcoming 2018 annual enrollment period. However you define a happy, healthier life, Humana is ready to help you achieve it. Start exploring Humana's healthy living and prevention resources today at #StartWithHealthy

Thank you again, and we look forward to seeing you at the 2019 National Senior Games presented by Humana in Albuquerque!

Association News

1968 Olympian/Senior Athlete Helping Organize U.S. Team 50 Year Reunion

NSGA is a Multi-Sport Council Member of the United States Olympic Committee, and we always attend the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Assembly held every October in Colorado Springs. This year, we caught up with 1968 Olympian Tom Lough, who competes in National Senior Games and won a silver medal this year in Birmingham.

Lough, also a 2016 Personal Best feature athlete, is actively organizing a 50 Year Reunion of the 1968 U.S. Olympic Team, to be held next year at the USOC headquarters in Colorado. He is also making sure his teammates know about the opportunity to compete in The Games. In the photo below, NSGA's CEO Marc T. Riker stands proudly with 1968 Olympians who attended the Olympic Assembly. (L to R) is Dean Willeford (water polo), Tom Lough (Modern Pentathlon), Micki King (Diving), Dick Fosbury (Track & Field) and Gary Hall, Sr. (Swimming).

NSGA is proud to have Tom Lough among our great senior athletes, and wish him success with the reunion!

Game On!

We Did It! 2017 National Senior Games Wins SportsTravel Award

NSGA is excited to announce that the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana, held this past June in Birmingham, Alabama has earned a prestigious 2017 SportsTravel Award in the category of "Amateur - Best Multi-Sport or Multi-Discipline Event." The results of the voting were revealed at the TEAMS 2017 Conference held recently in Orlando. Every year, SportsTravel Magazine polls sports industry professionals and the public to select the best sporting events in several categories. National Senior Games have also won the same award for The Games in 2007, 2011 and 2013. "There's no better feeling than to be recognized by your peers," NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker said. "The voting also allowed the public to participate, and we are again grateful to our great senior athletes who also voted to express their satisfaction and pride to be a part of this great and unique event." Riker also noted that the award and the event's success required the support of corporate and host community partners, supporters and volunteers, thanking Presenting Sponsor Humana, Greater Birmingham CVB, Birmingham Mayor's Office, Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center, and The Knight Eady company for their contributions. "The people of Birmingham can take great pride for the manner in which they helped stage and host this massive event," Riker added. "We have heard nothing but positive things from our athletes and visitors about the city and its hospitality."

Full Story with All Category Winners

"Hurricane Hawkins" Blows Away TEAMS 2017 Conference

There's more news to share from the 2017 TEAMS Conference. NSGA was invited to take center stage to talk about The Games during its closing luncheon. Rather than give the usual statistics and history, we wanted to bring up an athlete to talk about The Games through a competitor's eyes.

101-year-old Julia Hawkins, who set the world record mark for the 100M dash in the women's 100+ age division in Birmingham, graciously agreed to fly from Louisiana to Orlando to address attendees. She did not disappoint. In fact, she stole the show.
NSGA CEO Marc T. Riker hosted a 15 minute chat with Julia, covering a wide variety of topics beyond sports. The audience of more than 500 was fascinated to hear about her life experiences and philosophy about successful aging. She shared how she got married over the phone while her beau was serving overseas during WWII, and that the best and worst pet she ever owned was a monkey (and she actually had two).

WATCH Julia Hawkins / Marc Riker presentation here

Julia also touched and inspired the audience, speaking about the need to embrace all of the "magic moments," the simple pleasures of life that most people overlook in their daily pursuits. "I'm sure glad I've had more magic moments than senior moments," she cracked, drawing a big laugh. Julia received a standing ovation with her introduction, and earned another as the conversation closed.

Our thanks to SportsTravel Magazine and TEAMS 2017 for the opportunity to share just one of thousands of examples of senior athletes loving life and always looking forward to the next challenge.

HUMANA Heroes: Athlete of the Month

30 Years Through Alice's Looking Glass

In a way, Alice Carroll wishes she was one year older. The 85-year-old retired nurse from Syracuse, New York has participated in all National Senior Games since they began.

Well, almost. She wanted to go to the first gathering in St. Louis in 1987, but there was a problem. "I was only 54 in 1986, and you had to be 55 to qualify and get in at that time," she explains.

At the 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana, NSGA celebrated the 30th anniversary of The Games, which included recognition of "The Great Eight" athletes who have competed in every edition. Had she been born a few months earlier, Alice's perfect attendance would have changed the group to The Notable Nine.

Alice doesn't think about what might have been, though. She earned two shuffleboard medals in Birmingham, a gold in 85-89 mixed doubles, and a silver in 85-89 singles. Ironically, her doubles partner since 2013 has been Ed True of O'Fallon, Illinois-one of the Great Eight all-time athletes. "We've become very good friends, even though we only see each other once every two years," she says.

When she first qualified for the 1989 National Senior Games, Alice wasn't sure she could afford to go to St. Louis. Her ten children had a big surprise for her. "All the kids came home for Mother's Day and took me to brunch," she recalls. "They had pooled their money, $700, and my son gave his frequent flyer miles for the plane ticket." With a big smile, she adds, "They're such good kids."

While horseshoes and shuffleboard have been her national competition mainstays, Alice still enjoys several sports at the state level, including race walk, track dashes and long jump, triple jump, discus and shot put. Her motivation is health related.

"I went to an all girls' convent school that didn't have any sports, so I didn't start anything until after I was 50 years old," Alice says. "I was stationed at an intermediate care and rehab facility at that time. I said to myself, 'these people are only 10 years older than me. In 10 years am I going to be this sick and helpless?' Then, on the way home from work, I was listening to the radio and heard, 'If you're interested in running or jumping or swimming or any sports, come to the Empire State Senior Games in Cortland, New York.'"

Beyond enjoying good health, Alice is thankful for many benefits gained from her participation. "I love to travel and see the sights, but the favorite thing is seeing my friends! I consider them both dear friends and competitors," she continues. "I only get to see them every other year, so it's what keeps me coming back."

She also enjoys taking in everything at The Games, and says her Birmingham experience was among the best. "There were so many wonderful things going on there," she says. "I would never miss the Celebration of Athletes. Having Pat Boone sing was a thrill, of course. I enjoyed all the Village activities, too. I liked the idea that Humana had set up treadmills and donated money to the Food Bank for every mile you go. I went on that treadmill every day."

Alice has also been a magnet drawing others into The Games. "At one time we had eight family members coming to the Empire State Games. After my husband Paul died, I got my sister to come along with me, and she loved it. You know, people come to the Games as spectators and say, 'Gee, I can do that.' And many of my family did get involved.

"It makes you continue to do healthy things. I thank God every day for my family, and all the friends and opportunities I've had doing this."

We're always looking for great athlete stories! Submit yours, or nominate a fellow athlete who inspires you. Click here for the submission form.

Senior Health and Wellness

Health Literacy: Use "Ask Me 3" to Navigate the Health Care Maze

Health literacy is the ability to effectively understand and act upon health information. We have all had the experience of leaving a visit with your health care provider and feeling like you didn't understand some of the key things you were told.

This common experience is supported by studies that show nine out of 10 adults struggle to understand and use health information when it is unfamiliar, complex or jargon-filled. This means that more times than not, when we interact with the health system, the experience can be frustrating and stressful. The studies report that older adults have a more difficult time, with 59% having low health literacy.

This often costs seniors time and money, and in many cases results in poor treatment outcomes through delayed healing and repeat visits. It can even create harm through medical errors. Even individuals with adequate reading levels make mistakes with reading medicine labels incorrectly 38% of the time.

So, what can we do to improve our ability to effectively navigate the health care system and get the best care possible? We can use the "Ask Me 3" process. When you approach a healthcare matter and/or discuss yours or your loved ones' health with a provider, ask the following questions:

  1. What is my main problem?
  2. What do I need to do?
  3. Why is it important for me to do this?

Asking these questions is a proven method to make sure you get the quality health care you deserve and protect yourself from needless medical errors. To learn more about health and patient safety, please visit the website link below for The Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

"Ask Me 3" Web Resources

NSGA Online Merchandise Store

The online NSGA Store is where you can order a wide array of wearables imprinted with the NSGA and National Senior Games logos and themes. You can select your own style and colors and can custom imprint to your heart's content.

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