STANDARD — Everyone needs a bit of help now and then, but one of the biggest obstacles toward getting that help might simply be a lack of awareness of what assistance is available.
To help local residents stay informed about the wide variety of health care and assistive products and services there are, the Putnam County Community Center (PCCC) held its annual Senior Health Fair on May 30.
"This event is important because it helps our residents to be aware of how many benefits and services are available to them and they're often easily overlooked," PCCC Outreach worker Janice Holst said.
The fair hosted booths that included product demonstrations, health information and other help from representatives of the U of I Extension, Social Security, Axline Pharmacy, St. Margaret's Hospital, Perry Memorial Hospital, Western Illinois Area Agency on Aging, PCCC Outreach, Illinois Valley Center for Independent Living (IVCIL), Caring Friends Alzheimer's Support Group, Alternatives, Illinois Assistive Technology Program (IATP), Tri-County Opportunities Council and more.
"I'm very interested in nutrition, so I loved being able to speak with the U of I Extension people because they offer such great help and informational programs about healthy eating," Nancy Antkowiak of Peru said.
A picnic-style lunch and door prizes were also featured attractions. Prizes included gift cards from Hy-Vee and Dollar General, a Sally Sue's coffee basket, a collection of herbs from the Illinois Valley Herb Guild, and a decorative flower pot.
Anna Dragoo, of the Western Illinois Area Agency on Aging, which serves 10 counties, said she had been asked frequently about their fall prevention and mobility program, which helps seniors learn the dangers of accidental falls and how to best avoid them.
"We understand that no one wants to leave the home they've been in for most of their lives to go live in a nursing home, and the training we offer can help prevent avoidable falls," she said.
Liz Bedford, of the IVCIL, said age-related hearing loss is common and that help is available through a program that provides free amplified phones to those who qualify.
Vanessa Hoffeditz of the Tri-County Opportunities Council was there to help with a variety of assistive programs, but reported she had shared the most information about the council's Foster Grandparent program. This program allows seniors to work in schools to help students and also provides them with a small stipend that is exempt from other income limits.
St. Margaret's nurses were on hand to not only answer a variety of health care questions, but to also provide easy blood pressure and blood sugar tests.
Whether it be a need for assistance or information with Medicare, utility costs, nutrition, prescriptions, benefits or any number of other issues or programs, help is available at the Putnam County Community Center. For more information, call 815-339-2711 or visit www.pcaservices.org.