Expo is in step with seniors' needs in Carroll

September 03, 2006|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Sun Reporter

When an estimated 600 people crowded into the Alesia and Medford Building at the Carroll County Agriculture Center last year for the first Seniors on the Go Expo, Carroll County Bureau of Aging officials were thrilled.

"We handed out 500 bags [of give-away items and brochures] by 11 a.m., so we think we had over 600 last year," said Brenda Shipley, expo chairwoman. "We're planning on 1,000 this year. We're making up 1,000 bags, but we're not sure if that's high or low."

If the number of vendors and a change in location to a larger building are any indication, this year's event, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the Danele Shipley Arena at the Ag Center in Westminster, will be even bigger. The number of vendors is up from 86 to 105, Shipley added.

In addition to 102 indoor vendors offering a variety of products and services geared toward older adults, the Carroll County Public Library's bookmobile, Charlie's Campers recreational vehicles and the Medicare bus will be on location.

"The Medicare bus from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will kick off their education and outreach campaign," Shipley said. "The bus is to help Medicare beneficiaries and those who care for them."

Bureau of Aging chief Richard Steinberg said he hopes the Medicare bus will be a draw for seniors who will be able to talk to Medicare staff.

Shipley said there are an estimated 25,000 people age 60 and older in the county.

To accommodate the growing senior population, several county senior centers are being expanded.

The new North Carroll Senior & Community Center in Hampstead held an open house last week. The facility, which is quadruple the size of the old facility, will allow more activities for seniors, officials said.

Another new vendor the Bureau of Aging officials hope will get attention at the expo is the Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association.

Volunteers will offer information about fire safety, the importance of smoke detectors, and safety in general.

Information about regular smoke alarms and those for the hearing-impaired will be available, said Kristi Gable, the association's fire prevention chair.

Gable said seniors would be encouraged to contact their local fire department for assistance in checking their smoke alarms, putting in new batteries, or installing alarms.

After two fatal fires in the county that killed three people this summer, the association and Steinberg, a volunteer at Reese & Community Volunteer Fire Company, are pushing to make sure residents have working smoke detectors in their homes.

"I can't point to any statistics where [nonworking smoke alarms are] more of a problem in the senior population over the population as a whole," Steinberg said. "We're looking at characteristics. Seniors can be a little more frail and tend to not be able to do things like install or change the batteries in their smoke alarm."

The expo also will offer a mini-health fair with skin analysis from Carroll Hospital Center, body analysis from the Carroll County Health Department, plus Homecall, Carroll Home Care, Carroll Chiropractic, and two pharmacists to go over medications.

"Having the pharmacists was a very successful service last year and it was requested to have it again," Shipley said. "Seniors can bring their medications and make sure there's no interaction, or learn how to take it properly."

Demonstrations also will be given on cake decorating, painting, cooking for two and exercising with items around the house.

"We view the expo as a way to get information on products and services to the senior population from the bureau, as well as to let them know what other products and services are available from other agencies and organizations," Steinberg said.

Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost is free for adults 60 and older and $3.50 for those younger than 60.

Shuttle bus service will be available from the parking lot to the Shipley Arena.

Information: 410-386-3802.


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