Roanoke LOA's Celebrating Seniors Health Fair

Posted on 06/20/24 by Lisa Hoyt

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Elmwood Park in downtown Roanoke was the place to be on a recent Friday, as participants strolled the grounds during the Local Office on Aging (LOA) Celebrating Seniors Health Fair.

The AARP tent was located directly across from the entrance. Those who stopped by the tent were offered handouts featuring Staying Sharp’s Six Pillars of Brain Health.

Visitors shared what they do--or do not do--to keep their brains sharp. As the Six Pillars were read aloud, the two most often commented on were “Engage your Brain” and “Restorative Sleep.”

In response to the engage your brain pillar, visitors frequently mentioned that they do crossword or word search puzzles. The restorative sleep pillar was sometimes met with a humorous “what’s that,” comment. Lack of sleep was sleep was as a concern mentioned by several people.

SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) literature was also offered to increase awareness of the income-based program which provides monthly funds to purchase eligible food items. Visitors were encouraged to take the information even if they thought they wouldn’t be eligible themselves because they might know someone who could benefit from the program.

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The AARP-sponsored cornhole tournament was set up in the shade beneath the stage, which featured the live music of “40 Years After,” a local band. As people stepped into the cornhole area, Brian Jacks,

AARP associate director for Southwest Virginia, invited them to play as two opposing teams--winners scored AARP umbrellas.

More than 30 vendors attended the fair and provided giveaways such as pens, bags, chip clips, first aid kits, water bottles, as well as flyers containing information about their individual agencies. LOA offered free backpacks containing survival food, water and supplies sufficient for two days to those who registered in advance.

Other fair happenings included:
· Balance screenings by physical therapists
· Blood pressure checks
· Chair massages
· Chair Yoga: 15-minute gentle yoga practice
· Vaccinations
· Market Fresh vouchers for $50 for low to moderate income people aged 50-plus to use at local Farmer’s Markets
· Food truck by Dale’s Diner
· Ice cream treats (FREE) provided by Freedom First’s Scoop Ice Cream Truck

LOA President and CEO Ron Boyd said that 106 people registered at their tent but it was likely that the actual number of participants, including vendor staff, was higher. AARP Virginia volunteer Russell Schiavone, who staffed the organization’s tent for the event estimated that “over 100 people” stopped by that tent.

This story is provided by AARP Virginia. Visit the AARP Virginia page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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