Staying healthy in mid-life and beyond

Dr. Kathy MacPherson, Barbara Mulrooney and Elissa Hughes in the QEII's Royal Bank Theatre

Dr. Kathy MacPherson (left), Barbara Mulrooney (centre) and Elissa Hughes (right) are part of a team that organizes Staying Healthy in Mid-life and Beyond, a series of free health information sessions to promote healthy living and continued learning in the community, held at the QEII.

Free health information sessions at the QEII

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For more than a dozen years, 82-year-old Barbara Mulrooney has been making a monthly visit to the QEII Health Sciences Centre — not to see her doctor, but to feed her lifelong love of learning.

Barbara is one of the long-time, active volunteer organizers and participants — along with Anne Hallisey and Barbara Prime-Walker — of Staying Healthy in Mid-life and Beyond, free health information sessions offered at the QEII.

“It keeps your mind active,” says Barbara, who lives in Halifax. “I always feel when I leave that I’ve learned something I didn’t know. I feel that’s important.”

For about 14 years, the QEII has hosted monthly presentations focused on healthy living and care for older people living in the Halifax Regional Municipality. The sessions feature presentations by doctors, nurses and researchers from the QEII and Dalhousie University, as well as other healthcare experts in the community. They focus on everything from bowel cancer, to alternative medicines, to tips on getting a good night’s sleep.

“The value is tremendous,” says Elissa Hughes, the QEII’s team lead for geriatric care. “It is information that is really useful for the aging population.”

Running from February to June and September to November, Staying Healthy in Mid-life and Beyond is free and open to anyone wanting to attend. Typically held on the fourth Monday of the month from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., the sessions take place in the Royal Bank Theatre at the QEII’s Halifax Infirmary. Each information session includes a question-and-answer period. Light refreshments are also provided to give people the opportunity to socialize.

“It is a chance to ask the questions you might not have had a chance to ask before,” says Dr. Kathy MacPherson, a retired associate professor in community health and epidemiology at Dalhousie University.

Dr. MacPherson helped start the health information sessions to promote healthy living and continued learning in the community. The sessions fit in well with the work of the QEII’s Centre for Health Care of the Elderly, a multi-service, interdisciplinary program. Part of the centre’s work is to provide education to older adults and their families.

While some sessions focus on the latest research and treatment of specific diseases, like colon cancer, others provide practical tips on healthy eating and living or tools to access the best resources in the community.

With so much conflicting health information on the internet, the sessions allow people to hear directly from local experts in their fields, says Dr. MacPherson.

“We are very lucky who we can draw upon,” says Barbara. “The speakers give generously of their time and their expertise. We are very appreciative.”

Providing information that is both timely and accurate is important to Dr. MacPherson and the other organizers. They take suggestions from people about what topics they would like to see covered in upcoming sessions and plan speakers accordingly.

For more information about Staying Healthy in Mid-life and Beyond, visit