- Written by Megan Joyce Megan Joyce
“This is the most fantastic event in the whole world.”
50plus EXPO attendee Mary Elizabeth Smith cut right to the chase.
The recipient of a new hip more than a decade ago, Smith knows the surgery affected her balance. She had undergone seated-to-standing balance testing at the recent York County 50plus EXPO, held at the York Expo Center.
Conducted by a healthcare professional, the test gave her a needed reminder, the active York resident said.
“She said the main thing is to be aware that you must slow down [when moving around],” Smith said. “Tell your mind to get in touch with your body. Your mind maybe 12, 15 — 30 at the most — but your body is a 65-year-old with a hip replacement and an imbalance.”
A free, one-day event that provided information and resources for the area’s 50+ community, the 50plus EXPO was presented by OLP Events, the events division of Central Pennsylvania-based On-Line Publishers, Inc.
More than 90 exhibitors displayed products and services for travel, housing, medical services, nutrition, home improvements, finances, and healthcare.
Robin Recchione, marketing representative with supporting sponsor Gateway Health, said the company tries to participate in the 50plus EXPO annually, “especially this time of year with the [Medicare] Open Enrollment season,” Recchione said.
“This is the time really for [seniors] to start their shopping, because come October, they’re going to get inundated with mail … this is a way for them to get a jumpstart on it.”
The Health & Wellness Area, sponsored by WellSpan Health, included ongoing, free screenings for cardiac risk, posture, blood pressure, joint pain, skin cancer, and others, as well as free seminars on stroke recognition and treatment and surgical options for hip and knee arthritis.
Visitors also had the option of attending additional free seminars that covered estate planning and minimally invasive bunion surgery, and Kmart provided flu shots.
Falls Free York, an area dedicated to fall prevention, returned to the York County 50plus EXPO. Organized by the York County Area Agency on Aging and local businesses and organizations, Falls Free York encouraged visitors to assess their own risk of falling and learn about falling hazards in the home.
An attendee from Shiloh picked up information on assistive devices for his wife, who is recovering from knee surgery and will soon graduate from a walker to a cane.
“She’s doing therapy, and it’s coming along pretty good,” he said. “But I wanted to get something to try to get her more steady when she’s on the cane … it’s more risky than the walker.”
Area staff offered gait/balance screenings, cane and walker checks, medication reviews, examples of assistive devices, and more.
The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General’s Outreach Specialist, Jerry Mitchell, started off the morning’s stage presentations with a discussion on scams that target seniors, including false charities that prey upon the public’s sympathies after natural disasters.
“When it comes to charities there are some things you want to know,” Mitchell said. “If you want to give to a charity, please remember to check with the Pennsylvania Department of State to see if that charity is valid. If they are not registered [with the Department of State] … that’s a major red flag.”
Actors from Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre performed songs from their current production, Sister Act, including “Haven’t Got a Prayer,” “I Could Be That Guy,” and “Fabulous, Baby!”
Julie Charnosky and Kate Numer, nutritionists from UPMC Pinnacle, demonstrated easy recipes using vegetables, beans, and other plant foods, which have numerous health benefits. Their onstage recipes included an all-vegetable soup with lentils and a seasonally appropriate pumpkin chia seed pudding.
Next, Toyia Plater, Medicare broker manager with Capital BlueCross, simplified for the audience the often confusing world of Medicare. Plater offered guidance on selecting the best plan and preparing from the upcoming Open Enrollment Period, which starts Oct. 15.
Tom LaNasa, of Memory Music, wrapped up the day’s stage presentations with his musical salute to the Rat Pack. Classic songs such as “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head,” “Let’s Get Away from It All,” and “The Candyman” brought back the days of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Sammy Davis Jr.
OLP Events’ 50plus EXPOs will return in spring 2019. For more information, call (717) 285-1350 or visit www.50plusexpopa.com.