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By Christen McCurdy | The Skanner News
Published: 11 August 2016

 African American seniors and their families will have the chance to relax, take care of themselves and learn more about their health during a series of Talk ‘n Taste events at the June Key Delta Community Center in North Portland.

The PreSERVE Coalition, which sponsors all events, is a coalition of groups and individuals from a variety of sectors to provide culturally competent advocacy for African Americans 55 and older in the Portland area, particularly in the area of brain health.

The first event, which will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Aug. 26, is called “Focus on Family” and participants are invited to bring grandchildren. Free haircuts will be provided for the first 10 children who show up (with a limit of two per family). The event will also include, healthy snacks, balloons – and organizers will distribute current health information.

In September, PreSERVE will host “Stress and Mindfulness,” an event with a Tai Chi demonstration and discussions on stress management, meditation and mindfulness practice from experts. That event takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. Sept. 24. In October, PreSERVE will collaborate with the Alzheimer’s Association, Oregon Chapter, and OHSU’s SHARP program to host “Tips for Healthy Aging” to present healthy habits for brain and body. The program will include a dance demonstration and information about historical neighborhood walking routes to try. All events are free of charge and include healthy snacks, and a healthy soul food recipe. At the August event, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren will make homemade granola for the “taste” portion of the program.

“We encourage everyone to come and bring a friend to care for themselves or a loved one,” PreSERVE cofounder Tiffany Kirkpatrick told The Skanner News.

PreSERVE was founded in 2007 to provide education and outreach for older African Americans, particularly in the areas of brain and memory health, with attention to the link between hypertension and diabetes – which are overrepresented in African American populations – and dementia. Past events have included socialization, physical exercise, healthy eating, and the expressive arts. Examples might include theatrical play, poetry, painting, life history writing, walking programs, gardening, and cooking workshops.

The group has held several Aging and Memory Conferences, and has also regularly organizes culturally relevant social events intended to reach seniors – as well as people in their 50s who may not consider themselves “seniors” yet – to lead healthy, engaged lifestyles.

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