- Written by Jackie Chicalese Jackie Chicalese
Though June 8 presented clear skies and sunshine, the warm weather did not prevent baby boomers, seniors, and caregivers from opting for a day spent indoors at the 14th Annual Chester County 50plus EXPO.
Hosted by OLP Events, the EXPO was free to attend and provided exhibitors, demonstrations, seminars, and entertainment geared toward the 50-plus community.
Attendees had access to various health screenings, including hearing, glucose, blood pressure, vision screenings, and spinal scans. Many visitors took advantage of the screenings to ensure they were in good health.
“[The screenings] come in handy,” said Nina A., of West Chester.
In addition to more than 80 exhibitors, the EXPO featured seminars and entertainment throughout the event.
Ameer Blackmon, education and outreach specialist at the Office of the Attorney General, presented a segment on fraud and financial exploitation.
Blackmon noted that senior scams tend to spike near the end of the year and in April. One popular phone scam that may appear convincing is the IRS scam.
“If you get a call from the IRS, you didn’t get a call from the IRS,” Blackmon explained. “They don’t call you. They’ll send you mail in a white envelope—regular U.S. Mail.”
As for detecting other cases of fraud and exploitation, Blackmon offered this advice: “If someone uses the word ‘wire,’ run in the other direction,” and, “If [a mail lottery or sweepstake] seems too good to be true, it is.”
Aside from educational presentations, the stage provided fun and entertainment.
Peggy Keller, winner of the 2011 PA State Senior Idol competition, serenaded attendees with classic songs, including “Under the Boardwalk,” “Cabaret,” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Alexis Margraff, from LeBeau Gardens in Dowingtown, took to the stage to create seasonal container gardens and fielded the audience’s questions about gardening.
Those looking to satisfy their daily exercise requirements joined in chair dancing led by Holly Beebee of Dancin’ Chairs, LLC. “Dancers” were able to perform upper body choreography right in their seats.
According to a study performed by the National Institutes of Health, dancing frequently reduces the risk of dementia by 76 percent.
“When you’re dancing, it reduces stress and depression and increases serotonin, that feel-good chemical in your brain,” Beebee said.
Beebee kept her audience engaged with routines to popular songs, such as Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” and Bill Haley & His Comets’ “Shake, Rattle, and Roll.”
Though the main stage was lively, the energy did not halt there. Exhibitors provided information and options for life insurance, living assistance and communities, medical services, home amenities and renovations, and more.
Raymond Hulse, from Wagontown, was impressed with the variety of vendors present.
“The vendors have been good,” Hulse said. “I’m in the position where I needed a lot of this information.”
Exhibitors expressed interest in engaging with the attendees and educating them about services available.
Steven Trubey, business development manager for Surrey Services for Seniors, shared what he considered the importance of attending expos such as this:
“If you can make a difference in somebody’s life—like for five people—it’s worth the time you spend here,” Trubey said.
Mildred Wilson, of Phoenixville, had been living in the area for several years before happening upon the EXPO.
“I just discovered [the EXPO] by mistake and I loved it,” Wilson said.
Although she did not come seeking particular information, “there are always new things that you come upon,” Wilson noted.
Hoping to come across a 50plus EXPO? Visit www.50plusexpopa.com or call (610) 675-6240 for more information on previous and upcoming EXPOs near you.