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Health Fair expected to draw hundreds to Senior Center

Beyond the physical benefits, a Health and Wellness Fair later this month will provide a springboard for older residents to get back into the habit of socialization.

“For our seniors here in Gaston County, it’s unreal, because there are so many of them who are homebound,” said Ellen Fenters, director of the Gaston County Senior Center. “I think a lot of them fall into depression when they lose a spouse, and a lot of time may pass before they realize, ‘Hey, it’s time for me to get back out and get moving.'”

The senior center’s Health and Wellness Fair is one of its free, annual events that inspires the most participation and serves the greatest need. It’s become a valuable tradition here and depends on a lot of people to organize and carry out, Fenters said.

“We’ve probably done it every year since I’ve been here, which is 15 or 16 years,” she said.

Upward of 200 seniors attended the last event in 2016. This year, Fenters expects that many or more to come out. The Wednesday, May 31, event will begin at 9 a.m. and last all morning and most of the afternoon.

More than 30 vendors have already signed on to be a part of the gathering. They will include representatives of physicians, chiropractors, assisted living facilities and elder law. There will also be officials to help with Medicare and Medicaid, posture checks, eye glass cleaning, rehabilitation, and home health care.

“It’s anything that can help with socialization or wellness,” Fenters said.

The fair will also include free healthy snacks provided by Sweet Frog, exhibitors of local resources, health screenings, fitness games and Senior Games information. A one-mile Fun Walk will kick off right at 9 a.m., helping to get participants’ blood flowing. Everyone who takes part will get a free T-shirt with the event’s logo, and will be eligible to register for a free pair of tennis shoes provided by Morgan’s Shoes and Bootery.

Each participating vendor will also be holding a giveaway of some sort. Everyone who walks through the door all day will get a ticket that serves as their entry in a raffle for those freebies.

Fenters predicted visitors will really like what Sweet Frog provides to eat.

“We always try to introduce seniors to something new they might not have known about,” she said. “Something that’s kind of a splurge, but a good splurge.”

The biggest potential benefit is that it will inspire more seniors to think about the senior center in the future and take advantage of all the great things it offers, Fenters said.

“A lot of seniors are intimidated to come for the first time,” she said. “That’s always a little scary, especially for someone who’s been isolated for some time. But it’s a great way to meet other people.”

You can reach Michael Barrett at 704-869-1826 or on Twitter @GazetteMike.

Article source: http://www.gastongazette.com/news/20170528/health-fair-expected-to-draw-hundreds-to-senior-center

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