WALNUT CREEK -- Kathy Napoli was well aware of her family's history of heart disease, which is why she's taking crucial steps today to help herself and others live healthy lives.

Napoli, a Walnut Creek registered dietician, said she eats lots of vegetables and lean, quality protein.

"I was definitely aware of the importance of living a healthy lifestyle from a young age," she said. "My family's history of heart disease motivated me to eat well and exercise. I want to stay around for a long time."

While her husband is an avid yoga practitioner, Napoli said that in addition to the daily walks she takes with her husband, she prefers another type of exercise.

"I like Pilates -- that's my thing," said Napoli, a clinical nutritionist who sees clients at her Alamo office.

She said that it's important to note there are plant-based proteins that are also available. Napoli will share healthy lifestyle tips for people of all ages at the annual "The Best is Yet to Be," healthy aging forum on Feb. 22 in Walnut Creek.

Sponsored by the nonprofit Diablo Valley Foundation for the Aging, the forum -- which will take place from 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Heather Farm Community Center -- will feature speakers who will share positive aging tips.

Concurrent with the forum, an informational fair will be held throughout the morning featuring people representing local organizations describing their services.

In addition to Napoli, the event's speakers include Elena Bicker, ARF's executive director, who will talk about the benefits of owning a pet; local columnist Eizo Kobayashi, who will discuss how "It Pays to Stay Active;" consultant Tony Jimenez, who will share "Creative Ways to Cope with Challenges;" and Eloise Patella, manager of Family Protective Services, who will focus on the latest scames targeting seniors and ways to avoid them.

"We're just here to take care of folks," said Robert Kain, the foundation's executive director. "I'm proud to work with a wonderful group of people who work hard to improve the quality of life of seniors."

Aside from the wealth of information for seniors, the event includes lunch and entertainment, Kain said.

"One of the best things is that the proceeds of this event are donated to the Walnut Creek Seniors Club," he said.

The forum isn't just for seniors. Children of aging parents are welcome to attend, he said.

"They may ask, 'Who's going to take care of Mom and Dad? What am I going to do?' " Kain said. "Kids of seniors can look at options for their parents."

One of the foundation's long-term goals is to provide a respite program in Walnut Creek, similar to the one in Danville, that provides a brief stay for seniors with dementia while their caregivers and family members take a much needed break, Kain said.

The forum doesn't just cater to the challenges of aging; it also provides information and support to active seniors.

"It used to be rare for people to reach their 90s," Kain said.

Napoli's talk will center on "The Secrets of Longevity," based on scientific research conducted on the five countries in the world where people lead healthier lifestyles and tend to live longer.

"These are the 'hot spots' around the world where there's the largest population of centenarians," said Napoli, who is also affiliated with the John Muir Women's Health Center, Walnut Creek where she facilitates nutrition workshops. "I'll talk about what these countries have in common, focusing on the nutritional and exercise aspects and the science behind it.

"Science shows we're living longer but are we living healthier? That is the question," Napoli said.

'The Best is Yet to Be' Positive Aging Forum
WHO: Diablo Valley Foundation for the Aging
WHEN: 8:45 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 22
WHERE: Heather Farm Community Center, 301 N. San Carlos Drive, Walnut Creek
INFORMATION: Lunch is included in the $20 admission. For tickets at the door, the admission is $25. To register, visit www.dv-fa.org or call 925-945-8040.