The first time my husband was laid off, he’d just turned 50. Being a songwriter, he approached the problem as any good songwriter should and turned the adventure into a song – "Times Is Hard!" With the rising unemployment count and tough economic times, the song has become increasingly popular again and is frequently requested when he plays out. Because the times we live in really are hard for many people, I’ve been on a search all this month trying to find low cost or free heart health screenings. Let’s face the facts. Whether we like it or not, many of our fellow Americans are doing without screenings that might ultimately save their lives because they can’t afford it. There are resources available but most of us don’t know where to look.
One resource that was new to me was the AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour. A unique partnership between AARP and Walgreens, the Wellness Tour is a two-year national program which began on April 14, 2009. The AARP/Walgreens Wellness Tour is dedicated to improving health and quality of life through early detection and prevention education, particularly in areas which are underserved or diverse.
Ultimately, the goal of the Wellness Tour is to provide FREE health care screenings to more than 2.5 million Americans! Just imagine, nine buses (all customized with medical equipment necessary to safely conduct the screenings), with certified medical screeners, going to 45 states plus Puerto Rico, 2,000 cities in all, covering 240,000 miles, and offering $60 million dollars of free medical screenings. One bus, the AARP/Walgreens La Gira Del Buen Vecino (Good Neighbor Tour) will be assigned to Puerto Rico providing free health care screenings to communities on that island.
The Wellness Tour provides free health care screenings in six major areas, five of which are directly related to heart health risk factors. Education and screening are provided for the following areas:
• Blood pressure: common chronic adult condition, risk factor for heart disease
• Total cholesterol level: risk factor for heart disease