Categorized | Technology

Springfield health fair looks to help seniors in ‘time of great uncertainty’

SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Eric P. Lesser, D-Longmeadow, a member of the State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Elder Affairs, frequently hears from older residents about  healthcare concerns and retirement costs.

Lesser is hoping that “Thrive After 55,” a wellness fair that he is presenting Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in Western New England University’s Rivers Memorial Auditorium, will help such constituents address some of these needs and concerns.

It features more than 40 vendors including state agencies, senior living facilities, and health and human service organizations. There will be seminars on nutrition, exercise, as well as financial literacy, and a free boxed lunch.

“If someone walks in and spends a little bit of time talking to the vendors and experts, they will walk out with a 360-degree view of the array of services available to seniors in Western Massachusetts,” said Lesser who represents the First Hampden and Hampshire districts.

“They will also get some good, concrete self-help information to use at home to thrive in terms of living a healthy lifestyle.”

Fair participants range from councils on aging to elder law attorneys to representatives from veteran services and health insurers. There will be seminars in estate planning, yoga workshops, as well as wellness checkups, like blood pressure screenings.

Lesser, the son of a social worker mother and physician father who practices family medicine in Holyoke, said he plans to be at the fair, answering visitors questions from the time it opens until it closes.

“It is a time of great uncertainty for seniors,” Lesser said.

“They have a lot of questions and we get a lot of questions.”

Lesser cited “cost, cost, cost” as the biggest concern he gets from older constituents around health insurance and retirement.

“The cost of prescription drugs and increasing premiums are far and away our number one question from seniors in terms of health insurance,” said Lesser, who has co-sponsored legislation around the bulk purchase of Epinephrine, as well as to make out-of-pocket expenses for prescription drug coverage more affordable.

“The number one question around retirement is insecurity. People are living longer, and the cost of home healthcare is going up, pensions more and more are becoming a thing of the past and people are depleting their 401’s.”

He added there are “a lot of older adults – those between 40 and 55 – facing the double challenge of very expensive care for aging parents, nursing home care, at-home care, and out-of-control college cost for kids. Families are feeling squeezed. We hear that a lot.”

Lesser noted the wellness fair is free to both presenters and participants.

He said it was partly inspired by similar fairs Brian P. Lees used to hold as a Republican state senator from East Longmeadow, as well as a desire to host an umbrella event with “everyone in the same room” at a time when information is delivered through a variety of media not all necessarily accessed by seniors.

“Periodically, we have people ask about those fairs that Lees held. They were a big success,” Lesser said.

“We do have a fair number of services for seniors in the area, and a fantastic number of non-profit organizations doing work with them. Yet, sometimes there is a disconnect between the programs and awareness of them today. The media has changed – there are less newspaper subscriptions, less direct mail – and it can be harder to reach the senior population. It seemed the time was ripe to have a fair and get everyone in the same room.”

To help with the boxed lunch order count, attendees are asked to RSVP to SenatorLesser.com/thrive or call (413) 526-6501.

The event is sponsored by Health New England and Mercy Medical Center. Seminars begin at 10:30 a.m., with a formal program at 12:30 p.m. The university is at 1215 Wilbraham Road. Rivers Memorial Auditorium is near the Bradley Road area of campus.

Article source: http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/06/state_sen_eric_lessers_health_fair_looks_to_help_seniors_in_time_of_great_uncertainty.html

Comments are closed.

Call Now: 877-642-5321 ` ` . .