One word described the 2012 Senior Health and Wellness Expo: variety.
While many participants went Wednesday to the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds arena simply to look around, vendors and exhibitors offered a slew of points senior citizens should keep in mind about their health care.
Obviously, baby boomers are aging, and were seeing more problems with diabetic retinopathy, said Nanette K. Pullus, executive director of the Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired of Jefferson County. What were trying to recommend people is to see their eye doctor if theyre having difficulties. Its about catching things early.
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to blood vessels of the retina for people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, and it is the leading cause of blindness in working-age Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Physicians often may say that there is nothing else that can be done for certain eye conditions, Mrs. Pullus said, but the Association for the Blind may be able to help people better adapt to seeing everyday items, such as a newspaper, prescription bottles or nutrition facts.
The fair was hosted by state Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton. During last years expo, she said, the biggest concern was what was going to happen with the state Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage program.
So many people were falling through the cracks, she said. We were able to restore that in January. Theres also a lot of confusion when it comes to the Medicare program. The people weve talked to today, weve offered to send them information.
Marion S. Gerrard, Black River, said she knows all too well the challenges and confusion with health care.
I want to know whats out there, because as of now I dont have health care, she said.
As for her first time at the expo, Ms. Gerrard said, she enjoyed collecting information on agencies such as the Jefferson County Office for the Aging.
Carol Bauter, Dexter, said she accompanied a neighbor to the event. She said she tries to attend the expo each year.
Theres nothing in particular I want to learn; I just enjoy looking around to see what information I can find, she said. I get my flu shot here.
She had a reusable bag full of information.
Faith E. Lustik, Jefferson County Public Health Service health planner, said many people stopped by her agencys booth to inquire about the shingles vaccine. The shot costs $200 at Public Health, but protection against shingles is better than a breakout, she said.
If youve had chicken pox, you can have the shingles virus in you, Ms. Lustik said. You might break out, and its painful.
There will be a Senior Health and Wellness Expo from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 3 at Odd Fellows Hall, 1111 Linden St., Ogdensburg.