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Seminar to focus on health and grace in stressful times

Staying healthy in a stressful world can be a challenge at any age, but especially in older adults.

The organizer of Grace and Health in Complex Times, a seminar to be held Sept. 22 at Faith Family Church, in Finksburg, hopes to make maintaining physical, emotional and even spiritual health a little easier.

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“We’re striving hard to make it fun and active and really personalized so people will walk way with a better idea of their own health and some specific strategies to improve their health,” said Michelle Fritsch, of Munkton, who is a clinical pharmacist specializing in medication in older adults.

The seminar, which will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and include lunch and breakfast, will feature presentations focused on the health of older adults, but are applicable to everyone, such as avoiding falls and making the home safer, how to better interact with doctors offices, safely manage medications and even some fitness tips.

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“Running is all about training and endurance. Recovery is the same thing. It’s a lifelong pursuit and it takes a lot of work and commitment.”

“We will have some items there to help some people do some real general stretching and a little bit of exercise ideas that are not joining a gym, just regular things you could do at home,” Fritsch said. “Then while we are doing it, we are going to talk a little bit about what is going on in society, all the stressors. The bad news in the news, sometimes, how that impacts us and how to manage that stress.”

The seminar is $30, with all the money going to support the Westminster Rescue Mission in its work supporting people recovering from addiction, according to Fritsch, which is another component of the seminar as well as its genesis.

“I specialize in medication use in people over 60,” she said. “In doing that, we’ve encountered more and more people experiencing addiction to opioid medicine for pain.”

Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and pledged $10 million to help battle this opioid crisis. The governor’s FY2019 budget includes a capital grant to the Westminster Rescue Mission of $250,000 to make improvements to the original, residential building on its campus.

As Fritsch learned more about the neuropharmacology of addiction, she wanted to share it, but she also wanted to learn more directly from those who had been affected. She began holding talks with the men in recovery at the Westminster Rescue Mission.

“They were so open and honest. It was astounding how much I learned,” Fritsch said. “That helped broaden my perspective and helped match their personal stories with what I was reading in the textbooks.”

It was those experiences at the mission that helped shape the seminar that Fritsch is now bringing to the community at large, according to Executive Director Carol Bernstein.

“Michelle has been serving at the mission for several years. She has been coming from time to time and sharing information with the men about physical, emotional mental and spiritual wellness,” Bernstein said. “She wants people to be equipped to understand their medication and advocate for themselves. I think it will be a real blessing to the community.”

Carroll County native Ron Shaw was recently selected as the new president of the Board of Directors for the Westminster Rescue Mission.

Bernstein will also present at the seminar, letting people know about the mission’s current services, and their plans to open a new dorm for women in 2019 and to expand their transitional housing and sober home offerings.

“Any financial support is greatly appreciated and could go to any of those projects that are underway right now,” she said.

To learn more about the seminar or to register, visit westminsterrescuemission.org/event/grace-health-in-complex-times, call 410-848-222 extension 14 or send email to info@westminsterrescuemission.org.

And while the event will focus much on the health of older adults, Fristch said the information, especially when it comes to stress and spirituality and addiction, will be useful for anyone.

“I think it’s for everybody,” she said, “but probably the ideal people to come are people who are in their 60s and 70s and either still doing really great or starting to experience some changes, and/or the kids who see their parents aging and want to learn some tips on how to help them stay safe and healthy longer.”

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