Ask Joan: Varied diet a good starting point
August 21, 2023

Q: My husband and I have both vowed to eat healthier. We’re retired and living on a fixed income, so we are cautious about how much we spend.

Do you have any suggestions for what we can do?

A: Good for you! A varied diet is one of the key s to healthy aging. I know I can’t wait for my own tomatoes to ripen.

Joan Hatem-Roy, CEO of AgeSpan

Now is the perfect time to have this conversation. It’s summer so there are lots of fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms. And, just as the bounty is abundant, so is where you can find it.

A lot of communities in our area host weekly farmers’ markets, and you may have noticed produce stands popping up alongside the road in many areas.

At AgeSpan, we have a few different programs to help people get nutritious food at a lower cost.

We have a Mobile Market held on the third Tuesday of each month from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence. The Market, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary last week, provides items such as fresh produce, dairy products, high-protein foods, and non-perishable items free of charge to anyone in need in the Merrimack Valley.

We also have Mobile Markets in Tewksbury and Haverhill where you can pick up a bag of shelf-stable and fresh foods each month. These markets are open to Merrimack Valley residents 60 and older or adult s with a disability. Participants must complete an application available at councils on aging and public and private housing offices.

Our Local Harvest program is free and takes place at area senior centers and housing authorities. Reside nts can pick out their own fresh produce and receive recipes and nutritional tools as well.

The dates and times for each Local Harvest are different, so check with your housing authority or senior center for specifics and to see if you’re eligible.

Finally, we offer a Healthy Eating program for older adults who want to learn more about nutrition and how lifestyle changes can promote better health. The program is delivered by trained leaders with the support of a nutritionist or registered dietician through our Health Living Center of Excellence.

Are you caring for an older adult or need help locating healthy aging resources? Our experienced staff is available to help. Visit us online at for more information. You can also call us at 800-892-0890 or email . Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of AgeSpan.

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