Healthy Night Out puts the focus on women’s heart health - April 2, 2019

Courtesy of The Post-Tribune

Written by Sue Ellen Ross

Girlfriend outings can cover the gamut from wine tastings to Tupperware parties and candle demonstrations, with much in between.

A unique example was the recent Healthy Night Out with the Girls at Methodist Hospital in Merrillville.

The mission of the event was to promote heart health awareness for women while pampering them. Among items on the evening’s agenda were blood pressure and bone density screenings, chair and hand massages, hands-on CPR education and a guest speaker.

“I want to have it all,” said Bernice Williams of Merrillville, with a laugh, as she looked over the agenda. “It’s important to pay attention to the signs of your body and I hope to gain a lot of health knowledge tonight.”

That was the consensus from most of the visitors.

“We don’t always know what’s best for us,” said Francesca Hernandez of Gary. “It’s always a good idea to check ourselves and these Girls Night Out parties are the perfect way to do that.”

Students from Paul Mitchell Beauty School were at the ready to offer hand massages.

“I’ve never had one of these,” said Patrice Ventnor of Merrillville, as she relaxed and extended her arms for the special treat. “This kind of thing can do wonders for us women — especially as a way to reduce stress. I’m having the chair massage too when I’m done here.”

The featured presentation, A Woman’s Guide to Preventing Heart Attacks & More, was facilitated by Constance Adams of the Heart & Vascular Institute.

“One in three women die of heart-related disease,” she told the crowd of more than 60 visitors. “And the majority is preventable.”

There is a huge need to discuss pertinent information on this issue and the relaxed atmosphere at the Healthy Night Out with the Girls event was the perfect place to do this, she added. Sort of like a girlfriends’ chat time.

She went on to talk about the physical warning signs and what to do if you need to perform CPR.

“Call 911 first, then start the CPR,” she added. “Don’t be afraid, the dispatcher will stay with you until help arrives. You will not be alone.”

Friends Dee Williams of Merrillville and Angela Walker of Gary were impressed with the variety of offerings at the event.

“It’s so important that we keep up with everything so we know where are (health) numbers are,” Williams said. “And these hospital events to give us that knowledge right in our own neighborhoods.”

Healthy snacks were provided, as the ladies perused the rooms and hallways of the Breast Center, where the waiting rooms were set up.

“I love these get-togethers the hospital puts on,” said Carlotta Preston of Gary, as she stopped at the refreshment table. “They’re always fun and I’m always learning something new.”

Healthy Night Out with the Girls was developed five years ago by Jennifer Sanders, NWI Breast Care Center manager.

The first year focused on breast cancer awareness, but Sanders added more topics and activities for following events, such as various screenings, spa services and up-to-the-minute health information.

Motivating and inspiring women to concentrate on their health was, and continues to be, the goal of the event, she said.

“We offer this program for women twice a year, and we always have such a great turnout,” Sanders added. “It’s wonderful to see so many return visitors as well as new ones. We’re reaching our target audience in a fun, informative way.”