The Annex: Do we have more to lose than gain?

April 12, 2019
By Marcy Shortuse

To the Editor:
My personal experience at the Boca Grande Health Clinic regarding efforts to detect existing medical disorders such as depression, imbalance, memory loss, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, smoking and alcohol abuse, as mentioned by Dr. Walker in his update of BGHC future services, is that this is being done quite well. These important problems need medical attention.
As I understand it, wellness education and motivation programs may help prevent these disorders he noted, although they often reflect long-standing behavior and lifestyle issues. Modifying human behavior can be extremely difficult in the best of circumstances and must also address social and cultural issues that vary widely from place to place. For example, wellness programs for prenatal care, protection against HIV/AIDS transmission and avoidance of opioid addiction are critical in many inner cities and even rural Appalachia, but they are not priority issues here.
In Boca Grande prevention of social isolation, depression and degenerative musculoskeletal conditions with exercise are important.
Activities sponsored by various groups, from programs at the Community Center, churches, and the library are key elements to help our senior citizens avoid and treat these conditions.
Participation in physical activities at the beach clubs, tennis and golf facilities, bike and walks in the village and beaches, are all “wellness”-oriented, even if not originally intended as such.
We have a terrific community that supports these activities. What added benefit there would be from specific wellness programs at the Annex is yet to be determined.
Medical care delivery has several important components, including provider ability, accessibility and affordability. We are truly fortunate here to excel in all these areas, though access can be a problem for those of us with mobility problems (my family included). If the Annex and other resources were to replace existing services such as physical therapy, psychology, dermatology and other special services for the less-well-established benefits of wellness, my sense is that the community would lose more than it has to gain.
Lewis Hamilton
Boca Grande