By Caroline Eggers, Peru Tribune
A silver-haired woman sitting patiently while a pharmacist pierces her still summer-tanned skin with this year’s flu vaccine.
Brightly colored tables covered with brochures on hospices, dental procedures and thrifts stores specializing in discount medical equipment. And a full parking lot at the Riverview Event Center.
These were some of the scenes on Thursday during the Miami County Free Senior Expo, the first event of its kind designed to educate older residents about the multitude of local offerings available to them.
About 102 folks attended – a number that thrilled Jill Yount, one of the event organizers and business development specialist at Dukes Memorial Hospital. “We are elated,” Yount said. And that’s before Yount a had a chance to look at the surveys that attendees turned in at the day’s conclusion.
“I wouldn’t change anything,” one attendee wrote. “I learned so much and feel assured of the available services,” wrote another.
IN addition to the exhibits in the event hall, three educational sessions occurred simultaneously on the topics of identity theft, preparing for your final years and navigating Medicare. One woman wearing purple velvet napped next to her aluminum walker during a session before being nudged by her friend to “pay attention.”
Prizes were handed out throughout the event, including two tickets for a show at the Honeywell Center at Wabash. After being awarded a $25 gift card to Kroger, one woman placed her hand on a United Way representative’s hand and said, “Now I can buy groceries.” “That made my day,” said the United Way’s Kathy Timmons about the touching moment.
The half-day event culminated with a buffet lunch of sandwiches, strawberry colored cupcakes and other goodies that the seniors enjoyed at round tables while engaging in friendly chit-chat. The spread was provided by chefs from Blair Ridge Health Campus, Hickory Creek, Miller’s Merry Manor and Aperion Care.
Attendees even expressed interest in similar future function. “People seemed to really enjoy it,” said Debi Wallick, a fellow event organizer and executive director of United Way of Miami County. “People have learned what is (available) here in Peru, and that was this all about,” Yount said.