Author Archives: Carolyn Hartfield

About Carolyn Hartfield

Carolyn Hartfield, Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Emory University, Certified Outings Leader, Speaker, Trainer. Founder of OPALs (Older People with Active Lifestyles) and Hartfield's Hikers, visit for more information.

Health Literacy … Your Responsibility – Your Health – Your Life!

Did you know only 12 percent of adults have Proficient Health Literacy, according to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy. 
Healthy Lifestyle ... mproving Helth, Improcing Lives
In other words, nearly nine out of ten adults may lack the skills needed to manage their health and prevent disease.  Fourteen percent of adults (30 million people) have Below Basic Health Literacy.  These adults were more likely to report their health as poor (42 percent) and are more likely to lack health insurance (28 percent) than adults with Proficient Health Literacy.People with limited Health Literacy often lack knowledge or have misinformation about the body as well as the nature and causes of disease. Without this knowledge, they may not understand the relationship between lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise and various health outcomes.

October is National Health Literacy Month. As a trained Health Literacy Coach through a program at the University of Georgia, and a certified Health Coach through a program at Emory University, I encourage you to use October to learn some Health Literacy Basics and improve upon your current knowledge.  We all know there is always room for improvement!

When I reached the great age of 65, I started going for my Medicare Annual Wellness visit around my birthday, which was in September.  To my dismay, the doctor I had been seeing, Dr. Jennifer Moncrief, whom I loved,  had left Emory and I had to see a new doctor.  The short of the long is, as we were reviewing my health status, of which I will report, was excellent, we were talking about weight and BMI, he admitted to me, without me asking, he was out of shape, which of course was obvious.  My previous doctor was in great shape.  Also, he seemed rather taken aback, though very polite, at the level of my questions, knowledge and responses.  While I left the appointment feeling exceptionally well, I was a bit disappointed with him.  I think I will seek a new doctor.  Someone more engaging and someone I can feel comfortable with who walks the talk of health.

I don’t know about you, but if someone is going to give me some advice, I want it to be obvious that they walk the talk of whatever it is they are departing to me.  That is a high priority and level of credibility for me.  And because that is a way of life for me to my very pleasant surprise, I will be a celebrated at living gallery of Georgia’s elders engaged in positive aging, by the LeadingAge Georgia / Georgia Institute on Aging ‘Profiles of Positive Aging Image Awards Gala in November at the Atlanta History Center.  Please cllick here for more information and of course to purchase tickets and come out and support me and the others.  Ambassador Andrew Young is the featured Icon Speaker!

As a result the focus for this month, I put together the following three valuable tips I feel confident will help you with your health literacy, and know that they continue to work for me.  Please review them and know that the talk I walk is based on my personal experiences, training and my research.  I feel very confident with what I share.  I know that because I have improved my health literacy and assured myself of optimum health!  I want you to know that, no matter your age, it is possible to improve and live your best life, as a very good friend of mine always tells me … I live life like it is golden!

Following are the three valuable tips I want to share with you and encourage you to consider incorporating them into your lifestyle during Health Literacy month.  If you start the first of October, you have more than 21 days, which is what they say is the length of time to make a them automatic, and turn them into healthy habits.

  1. Determine what Preventive Measures and Services, i.e., improved diet, physical activity, annual health screenings, etc., are best for you to improve your current health status.
  2. Become knowledgeable about your medical conditions and treatment so you can manage them effectively. Commit to do your own research and develop questions to ask your health professional to help you better understand your condition, the medications you are taking and any associated side effects.
  3. Develop a short-term, practical action plan that you can incorporate into your daily routine, i.e., walking more, drinking more water, making healthier food choices, etc.; and the long-term results you want to achieve. Keep a written log of your progress.

The goal is to have them become an integral part of your lifestyle where you don’t have to think about them, you just do them!  As someone who continues to work on improving my healthy lifestyle habits, at ageCarolyn Hartfield68, they have proven to have me living my best life … now!  Join me!

Please feel free to share your thoughts, experiences and comments.


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International Women’s Friendship Month

September is my birthday month!  I will celebrate 68 years of life on the 5th, actually, I will be celebrating all month, and as I believe, everyone deserves to celebrate at least one day for every year of life!  Wow … that means I will be celebrating for more than two months!

When I discovered September is International Women’s Friendship Month, I thought how appropriate for me to acknowledge and celebrate.  For starters, I will be in Jamaica for my birthday with a very close friend who is a native Jamaican!  It is no coincidence that we met in 2009, the same year this celebration was started. She too, will be celebrating her birthday, and I will get to see parts of Jamaica I have not seen before in my several visits prior, including meeting some of her childhood friends.  I am so looking forward to the venture!

Then, without a doubt, I must acknowledge all the friendships that have developed as a result of my hikes and other outdoor activities.  I am so grateful for the relationshGirlfriends - Arubaips, that not just include me, but those that have developed as a result on the various activities.  Personally, I have friends who are great listeners, who console with heartfelt compassion,  who encourage me, and are my loudest cheerleaders … and those girlfriends with whom I just have fun with, whatever we may do!  I love them all!

I have learned through the years that to have a good friend, you have to be a good friend.  Women friends come from diverse backgrounds and  a wide variety of connections–sister, mother, aunt, cousin, neighbor, childhood playmate, college roommate, work, professional volunteer organizations, and sometimes, just by happenstance! And, though this is Women’s Friendship month, let us not overlook the men who are our good friends also.

“If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scarce.  If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”                                                                                               Zig Ziglar

I encourage you to let your friends know how much you appreciate their friendship.  I do this regularly.  It is important to let them know how you feel about them. I will always share my heartfelt feelings with those I cherish … you never know what challenge life may bring and you aren’t afforded the opportunity to share your feelings.  Never put yourself in a situation where you wish you shoulda, coulda, woulda … just do it! You will be glad you did!
Also, don’t forget those random acts of kindness.  Those acts are for friends also, not just strangers.  And, don’t forget a friendly hug, for no special reason other than to express how much you care.  Be the friend you want to have … you will get it back, guaranteed!
Carolyn Hartfield, Healthy Lifestyle Coach
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Carolyn’s Story

Check out My StoryTravel-Varios as written on the ‘Next Act for Women‘ Blog by blogger Helene Stelian.  Leave a comment.  Thanks!



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Spring Brings New Life!

Spring is a wonderful time of year.  I am sure you have heard, as I have that we should do spring cleaning, getting rid of all the old drab winter blues.  Well, how about all the new life that spring brings, in addition to the beautiful and fragrant flowers!  This spring has given me a totally new appreciation for the season.  You know, having planted my seeds early, and to see them blossom, is absolutely phenomenal!  Let me tell you about a couple of the seeds I planted …

I was requested back in January to submit articles to a couple of magazines.  I, of course decided to do so.  I wrote the articles, submitted them, and did not hear anything else.  I was not sure they had been accepted, they would be published, or what.  I reached out a couple of times for status updates.  But, in the end, I just decided to move on.  I had submitted the articles and photos, as requested, and there was nothing else I could do.  I had done as requested.  Well, boy! was I pleasantly surprised when both articles came out in the same month, April!

Girl Friends Health Guide

Girl Friends Lifestyle magazine, Special Edition Cover

Publisher of the GFLifestyle magazine, Matthew Johnson, finally called and wanted my mailing address, he wanted to send me copies of the magazine.  He said, “I think you might like it.”  Well, several days later, when I received his package, it sat on my kitchen table for a day, primarily because I was working on my final homework assignments for my Health Coach class at Emory University that was about to end.  Well … when I finally opened the package, was I surprised.  Matthew’s statement to me was a great understatement!   A huge smile covered my face as my eyes focused on the publication that was in my hand … that was me on the cover!  I was overcome with joy!  I opened the magazine, read the story, and immediately called Matthew. I was a Cover Girl!  In our conversation, Matthew went on to tell me that this Special Edition of his magazine, was commissioned by the White House for their 2015 Conference on Aging, and he felt my photo said it all, relating to living life to the fullest, as a healthy baby boomer and an active senior citizen.

The magazine is actually published in Wisconsin.  I am sooo honored to grace the cover of this magazine!  Visit the Girl Friends web site to order your copy of this information filled publication.  It is a keeper. I am not saying this because I am on the cover, it really is a great publication!

And, as if this wasn’t enough to make my day … I received a call from my audiologist’s office and was told, with excitement, that they had seen the article about me in the magazine.  I was a bit confused.  I was trying to figure out, how they saw a copy of the magazine, and I had just received it in the mail.  Well, they were talking about a totally different magazine, and I did not know that until I went to the office the following day.  It was the North Perimeter Lifestyle Magazine, April edition.  Wow!  Spring was blossoming all over the place for me.  I saw the article for the first time when they showed me their magazine.  After I returned home, I sent the publisher an email.  He responded in a very timely manner, and I made arrangements to get several copies of the magazine.  You can go directly to my article here.

How about sharing with me what is blooming in your life this Spring!  In the event that you may be having some rain in your life, as I was having at the time these magazine articles came to light, I simply say to you, reflect on the seeds you have planted, and remember ‘April Showers bring May Flowers!”  Expect the best, and it will be yours!

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Resurrection Sunday Observance or Happy Easter

If you are a Christian, do you celebrate ‘Happy Easter’ or do you observe Resurrection Sunday?  This is a question I recently pondered.  So, I did a little research to find the connection, or lack thereof.  This is what I came across on

“Biblically speaking, there is absolutely no connection between the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the common modern traditions related to Easter Sunday. Essentially, what occurred is that in order to make Christianity more attractive to non-Christians, the ancient Roman Catholic Church mixed the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection with celebrations that involved spring fertility rituals. These spring fertility rituals are the source of the egg and bunny traditions.”

What are your thoughts?
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