Every week is women’s health week at TMC for Women, but nationally the week of May 13 is a dedicated National Women’s Health Week. We’re recognizing National Women’s Health Week by sharing the stories of some of our TMC community – women who have taken the message of National Women’s Health Week to heart with impressive results.

This year National Women’s Health Week’s theme is ‘It’s Your Time’. Many of us struggle with finding time to make our health our priority, the women in these stories are making it happen. Meet Jessie Pergrin

“I’ve been active all my life,” Jessie  shares. “I’ve hiked and backpacked all over the world – the Inca Trail, Chile, Argentina and Alaska.”

Jessie’s voice is strong, vibrant. Over the phone it is impossible to gauge just what age Jessie is.  A participant in Senior Services’s Health Coach program she must be of retirement age, but she also leads multiple support groups for patients with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Her voice and her energy belies her age. Jessie is 86 years old.

Jessie joined the Health Coach program at its inception several years ago- the purpose of the program is to help participants set and keep health goals. For Jessie who does not have specific health concerns, her goal was to lose 10 pounds. Jessie’s health coach, Judy, meets with her on a monthly basis providing encouragement, checking up on her progress based upon the goals and needs they have established and spurring her to make time for her health and to stick with it. At 86 years old Jessie rises early, walks 30-40 minutes every day, returns home for breakfast, and heads back out for a 30-45 minute bike ride. She credits her robust health to being active, genetics, never smoking or drinking and never being overweight. Jessie laughs and adds, “and that I never married.”

Jessie met her goal of 10 pounds, but continues to check in with her health coach Judy finding that the accountability helps her stick with it. When asked what her advice is to other women that they might enjoy such ruddy good health Jessie encourages eating well, getting a good night’s sleep, being physically active at least three times a week and emphasizes being socially active for mental health. “For Heaven’s sake cut out the cigarettes.” Jessie pleads.

As each of us assess what our goals are perhaps taking a moment to listen to the strong, vivacious voice of a lively 86-year-old is a good place to start.