This year, the fair was bigger and more spread out,
utilizing both the community room and the large dining room at the
Oasis. Director Nancy Cunningham was excited by the turnout.
She noted that last year was her first time
organizing the fair, and right away she noted that to have all the
vendor and information tables in one room caused some traffic flow
issues. She decided to expand the layout into both room so guests
could travel around both rooms more comfortably. In addition there
were several new vendors o hand this year, making it all the better.
The concept of the Senior Fair is to provide local senior citizens
with a one-stop-shop opportunity to talk to a number of healthcare
providers and professionals one-on-one without an appointment and at
This year the first room was also set up with the usual tables and
chairs for socializing. Guests enjoyed really gooey donuts with
fresh coffee and could also grab a fresh banana or apple to enjoy.
Around that first room the vendors set up included several from
Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital. The physical therapy department
was on hand do the sit stand test that tells seniors if they are
maintaining a well-balanced body. The goal was to cross the arms
across the chest then stand up and sit down as quickly as possible
five times, without losing balance. The technician timed the senior
and at the end talked with them about their scores. Typically in the
age range between 60 and 69 a person should be able to do the five
sit-stands in 11.4 seconds. The time to complete increases with age
so those who are in the 80 to 89-year old range are doing well if
they can perform all five motions within 14.8 seconds.
According to a document given to the seniors, those who are unable
to complete the exercise within a 15 second time frame are more apt
to be those who will suffer from falls in the future. The physical
therapy department at ALMH can assist seniors with increasing their
mobility and balance when they are at risk.
Also on hand was the ALMH Senior Life Solutions. This is a brand new
program at ALMH and the representative on hand said that it is going
very well and has been very well received by the senior population.
The program works mostly with helping seniors cope with life
changing events that can lead to depression and otherwise poor
mental health. Free depression screenings were available at the
ALMH Dietician Jennifer Dipasquale was on hand to
speak with visitors about maintaining healthy eating habits as a
diabetic. Diabetes is a big issue for many older Americans, but can
be managed through proper medication, diet and exercise.
At another table, bone density tests were being offered again by
ALMH. As we age our bones grow thinner and weaker. Understanding the
bone density helps seniors to know what their risks are for
osteoporosis as well as bone breaks. There are also solutions to
help increase failing bone density that can help as we age.
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The ALMH Auxiliary spends a lot of its time
educating and assisting seniors with Life Line Medic alert devices.
Jennifer Heidbreder was on hand to talk with guests about the medic
alert pendants, explaining how they work and why they are so
important to seniors in helping them maintain their independence as
Angie Whiteman was on hand to speak to guests
about the ALMH Market held at the Logan County Fairgrounds during
the summer months, and a representative was on hand to discuss the
reason and advantages to establishing advance directives.
In the large dining room at the Oasis a number of representatives on
hand were there to talk about the various insurance programs they
The Illinois Treasurer’s Office was on hand doing lost asset
searches. Cunningham was very excited about this, especially when
she learned that thanks to the senior health fair, one senior found
out that he/she had $200 that had gone unclaimed for a number of
years. The representative on hand assisted the senior in doing the
proper application to get the money. For Cunningham that one event
was well worth all the effort put into the senior health fair.
Other representatives on hand included Dr. Paul Boatman speaking to
guests about Alzheimer’s Disease, representatives from a number of
the local assisted living facilities, representatives from in-home
help services and a representative from the Illinois Department on
Dan Benedict of the Logan County Veterans Assistance Commission was
on hand to speak with veterans about veteran assistance programs and
Lincoln Police Department Assistant Chief Matt Vlahovich was on hand
to visit with guests on a variety of topics while collecting unused
A fun stop at the health fair was the table of the
Christian Village where the lesson of the day was laughter. With big
smiles on their faces the representatives on hand explained the
concept with a handout. On the page there are three bullets – the
physical health benefits of laughter, the mental health benefits of
laughter and the social benefits of laughter.
Under the first bullet there were some very interesting and very
good benefits. Laughter boosts the immunity, lowers stress hormones,
decreases pain, relaxes muscles, and prevents heart disease. That
alone should be a good reason to laugh at someone even if it is
yourself at least a few times a day!
Of course, the event on Tuesday was being hosted by Brady and Butler
and both were on hand to visit with guests. The Senator and
Representative each worked both rooms, visiting with guests and
enjoying the time they had, though somewhat brief with the senior
citizens of Logan County.
The health fair overall was a great success with a large number of
guests. The fair is still a work in progress that grew this year,
and will hopefully grow again in the years ahead. Most importantly,
as noted by Cunningham, the seniors were very interested in
everything offered. Cunningham noted that sometimes at events such
as this you see people going about picking up the freebies and
moving on. At this event, seniors were talking with representatives,
asking questions and getting answers, and taking advantage of the
free services. Cunningham was very excited by all this and looks
forward to offering the health fair for years to come.