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Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Senior Expo Caters to Diverse Population

The elderly and their adult children can expect a wide variety of exhibitors at Wednesday's event

From home health care to safe driving checks and Spanish interpretations, the Senior Expo of Santa Barbara is offering something for everyone.

The 2010 Senior Expo of Santa Barbara will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Oct. 6, at Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real, Santa Barbara. The admission fee is $10 and includes a box lunch and flu shot. This year the flu vaccine is provided by Sansum Clinic.

“We have a diverse senior population in this community, and the Senior Expo offers new and creative ways to meet the needs of seniors, their family members and their caregivers,” said organizer Jill Fonte of Sansum Clinic. “We have programs for active seniors who are looking for everything from new fitness programs to financial services, or information and tips for those who need assistance getting around safely and affordably.”

According to organizer Jeanne West of the Area Agency on Aging, the annual event gives seniors and their adult children a chance to see the resources available to benefit seniors, including home health care. Additionally, says West, the expo gives seniors an opportunity to get out of the house, socialize and get a flu shot. Vital information, from financial counseling to specialty bath tubs, is all in one place, making it easily accessible.

And information isn’t the only thing seniors will get at the expo. Outside, seniors can participate in the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Operation Medicine Cabinet. The program has safe on-site disposal of expired medication. Medication, said West, can no longer be thrown in the garbage or flushed down the toilet because of ground water contamination. Another outside event is the CarFit program, which provides licensed drivers age 60 and older with a 12-point safety check to assess seating, visibility or movement problems seniors may have while driving.

EasyLift will provide transportation for seniors who need it and the AARP/Walgreen’s bus will provide free bone density testing and glucose testing among other things. Lunch will be provided by Jack’s Bistro & Famous Bagels.

Although not popular, says West, Palliative Care will be providing information about end-of-life services. It’s important to talk about it before the need arises, she said.

“When people make decisions at a time of crisis, they don’t make good decisions because they don’t have time to get all the facts,” West said.

Event organizers have also made a strong effort in outreach to the Latino community. Many of the exhibitors will have Spanish speakers on hand and theew will be bilingual translators to help seniors through the flu shot process.

“We are making a push to be very diversified this year,” West said. “There is a sizable Latino population getting older just like everyone else.”

The event is also aimed at the adult children of seniors. Because people are living longer, adult children may be in their 70s while their parents are 90 to 100 years old. Both groups can benefit from the information offered.

Organizer Jason Bryan, from Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department, says it’s great to be able to bring all the big hitters under one roof. The event will host nearly 100 vendors, including home health agencies, Sansum Clinic and Cottage Hospital, which will have multiple tables. According to Bryan, organizers expect at least 1,500 seniors and their families to attend the event.

“I always learn something new. It’s just a great event,” said Bryan, who has been involved in the planning for about six years.

Bryan also stressed that no one makes a profit from the event. The community collaboration event is organized by a committee made up of several local organizations, including Sansum Clinic, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, the Area Agency on Aging, the Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation Department, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, and Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care among many others.

For more information on the Senior Expo of Santa Barbara or for transportation help, call 805.570.3724.

Noozhawk special projects editor Kimberly Quinn can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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