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Seniors’ Wellness Fair to be held today

BY LISA BRAHM | APRIL 30, 2010 7:30 AM

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From Sloppy Joes to free health screenings, Iowa City senior citizens can keep busy at the first-ever Older Americans Wellness Fair today at the Johnson County Fairgrounds.

For the event, the Johnson County Elderly Consortium partnered with the Johnson County Livable Community to provide resources to the 15 percent of people living in Johnson County who are over the age of 65, according to the 2008 U.S. Census Bureau.

The fair will be held at the 4265 Oak Crest Hill Road S.E. location from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., raising awareness to senior citizens and their families about health issues and aging.

The event will include a visit from Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, along with mayors from across the state.

“Seniors and their families are truly lucky to live in a community as active and engaged as the one here in Johnson County,” Loebsack wrote in an e-mail.

Michelle Buhman, A program specialist at the Senior Center, 28 S. Linn St., said officials held a similar event last year at the Senior Center but did not receive the turnout they were hoping for.

“We thought, ‘How can we make this attractive enough for people to come?’ ” she said. “We are hoping that people will come out if they can learn something new.”

Buhman said that every 30 minutes, there will be a different educational seminar.

The seminars will be held on a variety of topics, including senior travel, which will focus on how to decrease the stress of traveling.

Another seminar, led by University of Iowa internal-medicine Clinical Professor Paul Mulhausen, will offer tips on how to communicate with doctors.

“How older people and their health-care providers talk to each other is one of the most important parts of getting good health care,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Free screenings will also be available in the upper level on Montgomery Hall for hearing, skin cancer, dental, fall and balance, and glucose checkups.

Seniors who attend the event will also have an array of dining options.

Chef Ron Hall of Mercy Hospital will demonstrate techniques on cooking delicious and nutritious meals. The Elderberry Cafe will be preparing lunch consisting of Sloppy Joes and cream of potato soup, free of charge.

Kate Skapyak, a community-relations director at Bickford Senior Living, said the coordinators are hopeful attendees utilize the event and the resources provided to plan their future.

“Too often, people wait until some catastrophic event has happened,” Skapyak wrote in an e-mail.

“We are really hoping that people will take advantage of this opportunity to take control of their own health and wellness and stay in the ‘driver’s seat’ of their lives.”

Park and Ride services Inc. will provide rides for those who wish to attend. Seniors can call the Senior Center to reserve a ride.

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