PEPPERELL -- About 30 seniors took the time to pamper themselves Monday at the Pepperell Senior Center's annual Spa Day.

But this year, the center combined its health care testing day with Spa Day so that after the massages and manicures, seniors could receive critical health screenings.

"We want them to see every aspect of ways to be healthy," said Susan McCarthy, the senior center's activities coordinator. "It's not just eating right, but learning how to use other services other than just going to the doctor."

Dr. Megan Ford, of HearSmart Audiology in Littleton, performed hearing screenings. She said that the event provided both important services and a fun, social environment.

"It's so important to stay active and continue to be social, and making it a spa day too makes it even more attractive," she said. "If people find out that they have a problem that can be helped, they're more likely to stay active and participate in society and not just give up and stay home. People can find out it's very easy to get help."

Also available were eye exams from D'Ambrosio Eye Care, strength and balance exercises from Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, a diabetes awareness booth by Nashoba Associated Boards of Health and Pepperell Town Nurse Sharon Fata, cognitive testing by Montachusett Home Care, craniosacral therapy from Groton Wellness and arthritis education by Home Instead Senior Care.

Jean Howard, of Pepperell, said the program was so good that she would like to see it held more often.

"I just came in for lunch and I ended up getting the cranial massage," Howard said. "They should do this at least once a week."

Students from the Nashoba Valley Technical High School's cosmetology department, as well as Maryanne Wilkins from Salon Bliss, provided manicures and make-up, while Denice Costello of Groton Therapeutic Massage gave massages.

Kathy Elkind from elKind Nourishment made healthy smoothies for seniors to enjoy.

McCarthy said for many seniors, the day provided an opportunity they wouldn't ordinarily have.

"It's something that people can't always afford, and it's a nice thing to have that makes them feel special," McCarthy said. "It's just nice to have them pamper themselves because a lot of people don't take the time to do that."

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