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Local Stories




While much of the morning world was still sipping coffee and coaxing groggy mental gears into full functionality, the waiting crowd of boomers and seniors inside Spooky Nook Sports was ready and raring to go by 9 a.m.

Hundreds of attendees had lined up for the start of the 22nd annual Lancaster County 50plus EXPO, held at the Manheim sports complex in late September.

The free, one-day event, which provided information and resources for the area’s 50+ community, was co-hosted by OLP Events and the Lancaster County Office of Aging.

More than 100 exhibitors displayed products and services in travel, housing, medical services, nutrition, home improvements, finances, and healthcare.

Sylvia Breneman, provider relations liaison with Regional GI, a supporting sponsor of the event, said the company exhibits at the 50plus EXPO to spread the word about the importance of gastrointestinal screenings and care.

“We need to get out into the community and let the people know that they need screening colonoscopy, and they need to follow up on the colonoscopies that they have had before,” Breneman said.

“Lancaster County’s percentage of people who should be getting colonoscopy and don’t is much higher than the standard should be for our area ... People tend to not talk about it.”

Visitors were eligible for door prizes and took advantage of additional free health screenings for blood pressure, glucose, varicose veins, balance, spinal health, hearing, and others. Pharmacists from Kmart administered flu shots.

For Randy Garrett, of Elizabethtown, the 50plus EXPO served as a reason to get out and about with some friends, but obtaining his annual flu shot was also part of his plan for the morning.

“I’ve gotten it here the last couple years,” Garrett, of Elizabethtown, said. “It’s just a guy’s morning out. We go for breakfast — just to get together.”

Waiting lists became necessary as guests signed up for free mini manicures from students of Lancaster School of Cosmetology & Therapeutic Bodywork and free Acu-Lift massages from Beauty Beyond Fifty.

The EXPO’s main-stage entertainment offerings began with Jodie Morris, garden center general manager with Stauffers of Kissel Hill.

Morris discussed proper care of succulents — ideally housed in an eastern-facing, bright room — as well as houseplants that detoxify the air in our homes, such as the peace lily.

Drew Nesbitt, DPT, and Hayden McDevitt, DPT, with HARTZ Physical Therapy addressed the body’s balance system (which includes the senses, central processing, and motor control) and its role in the likelihood of suffering a fall.

One-third of adults over age 65 experience a fall each year, but Nesbitt said age on its own is not the biggest factor in assessing someone’s fall risk.

“The biggest risk for causing falls is muscle weakness,” Nesbitt said. “So if you’re doing your job, staying strong, age really does not play as significant a role as [does] overall weakness in falls.”

An explanation of Medicare Advantage plans was up next with Lanre Adebonojo from Health Partners Plans. Adebonojo explained the various components of Medicare and the ways an Advantage plan fits into a person’s overall coverage.

Naturalist, falconer, and TV personality Jack Hubley entertained the EXPO crowd presenting several animals native to the area, including a skunk, rat and garter snakes, and a red-tailed hawk.

“When a wild animal isn’t convenient, then we label it bad,” Hubley said. “Just because we don’t like it doesn’t mean nature doesn’t like it.

“If it’s out there, if it’s managed to occupy a niche in the ecosystem, well then, probably nature does like it and it does play a role, even if it doesn’t really seem to be apparent to us.”

A SilverSneakers class, led by Rose Rickey, of Figure Firm Total Fitness in Lancaster, finished up the day’s presentations. Rickey encouraged audience members to join in on simple exercises that increase muscle strength and range of motion using light weights and a chair for support, if needed.

“It’s been great,” Regina Olewiler, of West Hempfield Township, said of her time at the EXPO.

Olewiler, who is hard-of-hearing, had connected with a representative from ClearCaptions, who will be setting up Olewiler with a free phone for the hearing impaired.

“Plus, my husband’s handicapped, and I got some information for possibly getting some help [for him],” Olewiler said. “So it’s been helpful.”

OLP Events’ next 50plus EXPO will be Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the Carlisle Expo Center, 100 K St., Carlisle.

For more information, call (717) 285-1350 or visit

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