Boomer, Senior Expo emphasizes 'living well'

Support, information found at annual event
Aug. 28, 2013 @ 08:39 PM

The rows between vendors were packed tight in the main exhibit hall of the Dennis A. Wicker Center, as thousands of people arrived for the 11th annual Boomer, Senior and Caregiver Expo Wednesday.

With more than 100 vendors at the free event — all focused on improving health and quality of life — expo organizer Judi Womack said this year's gathering was one of the best. The theme of this year's event was "Come Celebrate Living Well," she said.

"It's going great," Womack said midway through the event. "We have great vendors, and there are so many people who attend each year. And people get to see what Sanford and Lee County have to showcase."

People should leave with an understanding of their health and the health options available to them within the community, she said.

A variety of screenings, including blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, pulmonary function, blood glucose, vascular vein, hearing and stroke assessments, were all available free of charge for those in attendance.

Wendy O'Quinn, community wellness educator and registered nurse for Central Carolina Hospital, said the screenings were vital because they give people a clear picture of their health and what their next steps should be toward a healthier lifestyle.

"It really brings awareness to the number of illnesses and their causes," O'Quinn said.

Harriet Carter is a home health social worker who lives in Durham, but said she attends the expo every year.

"There is so much information," she said. "Plus, there are health screenings for people who need them."

Carter, who used to live in Sanford, said she uses the information from the vendors to provide better care.

Hazel Johnson and Mary Douglas have attended the expo for a number of years and said they enjoy the fellowship with others and free items vendors distribute.

"It's important to learn about your health," Johnson said, with Douglas adding they were looking forward to playing Bingo.

Lindsay Jones said his wife of 60 years has Alzheimer's and he is hoping to learn how to take better care of her and himself.

"I am 80 years old, and I do 100 push-ups every Monday, Wednesday and Friday," he said. "You've got to take care of yourself."

Sanford Mayor Cornelia Olive, sitting in the entrance of the main exhibit hall, spoke with people as they perused the booths.

"I love this day," Olive said. "So many people come through here, and the fellowship is wonderful."

The expo is open to people of all ages, but Olive said she was glad there is an event targeted toward older individuals.

"Just think of how much wisdom, how many stories, are here," she said. "It's amazing."

Cheri Folk, practice manager with the UNC Physicians Network, said she hope people enjoy learning about the different health care providers and understand there are resources for people regardless of their circumstances.

"There is health care that is available," she said. "We are here to help."