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First Seniors’ Active Living Fair draws full house

Michael Gelman leads a Tai Chi demonstration with members of the County Seniors Centre.

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
Aging well and the importance of staying healthy, happy and active were top of mind for for a packed house attending the first Senior’s Active Living Fair at the Wellington and District Community Centre on Nov. 1.

Barb Proctor, Chair of the Board for the Prince Edward County Community Care for Seniors Association

“This is very exciting for Community Care for Seniors and our Seniors Active Living Centre,” said Barb Proctor, Chair of the Board for the Prince Edward County Community Care for Seniors Association. “It’s our first seniors fair and it won’t be our last I’m sure.”

Despite persistent rain, the event garnered significant interest, where by late morning people and cars were still pouring into the centre as the parking lot filled to capacity.

The free all-day event was geared toward seniors in the community aged 60-plus, but all ages were welcome to attend. Put together by the County Seniors Centre, under the umbrella of The Prince Edward County Community Care for Seniors Association, the day’s events included a host of useful seminars, presentations and demonstrations by more than 40 local businesses and organizations.

There was entertainment, refreshments, a free lunch and door prizes drawn throughout the day.

Prince Edward County Mayor Robert Quaiff

“On behalf of myself and County council, I want to commend the County Seniors Centre for organizing this exciting event,” said PEC Mayor Robert Quaiff – who just celebrated his 65th birthday.

“Just looking around this morning, I was struck by just how many programs are available for seniors right here in our own community,” he said. “I’m sure many attending today will discover something new and give it to try. We are lucky to have so many groups here under one house and I would encourage exhibitors to talk to each and every of us and support ways to collaborate in the future.”

He noted the County Seniors Centre delivers programming closer to where seniors live which is critical to ensuring physical, mental and social well-being. At the same time, he added, the centre is also breathing life into nine municipal halls throughout the County.

The fair, which is expected to become an annual event, is designed to promote active healthy living for seniors within the County by connecting them with resources and tools needed to access the many services and activities in the area.

Sarah Sandham, dietitian with the Prince Edward Family Health Team discusses balanced healthy eating and the Mediterranean diet at the Nutrition for Seniors seminar.

Seminars included information on frauds and scams, delivered by the Prince Edward County OPP; cancer screening and prevention by the South East Regional Cancer Program, and nutrition for seniors with registered dietitian Sarah Sandham, of the Prince Edward Family Health Team.

Sandham focused on the importance of a Mediterranean diet, but began by asking, “Why eat healthy?”

“We are what we eat,” she said, “so energy levels, mood, our bone health, our bowel movements, almost everything is impacted by what we eat, including cholesterol and blood pressure, blood sugar concerns, diabetes, cancer risk and managing our weight.”

Fire Prevention Officer Mike Branscombe with the PEC Fire Department conducting the Fire Safety for Seniors seminar.

Fire Prevention Officer Mike Branscombe with the PEC Fire Department presented a fire safety seminar. He noted the top three causes of fire involving seniors are smoking, cooking and and use of heating appliances.

Chris Yeomans on piano.

Chris Yeomans, finance co-ordinator for Community Care for Seniors, played piano over the lunch hour.


An interactive drumming session hosted by the PEC Public Library.

Interactive drumming with Ruth Dwight, and Aaron Nash on guitar, both from programs offered by the Prince Edward County Public Library, entertained the crowds.

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health showed how to protect yourself from ticks and Lyme disease and the Canadian Hearing Society held hearing clinics. A registered nurse with the Prince Edward Family Health Team was also on hand to perform blood pressure and blood sugar checks for anyone interested.

Aimee Gerdevich, outreach officer with the Canada Revenue Agency in Toronto, did a presentation on the importance of filing taxes. She also touched on scams and fraud and how to be wary about sharing personal information with others.

“I can’t stress enough that your own personal awareness of your situation is the most important,” said Gerdevich.

She said people who get calls – whether automated or by a real person – must be aware that they can be pushy and aggressive.
“They are good actors with good scripts and they know how to work around with it. It’s OK to simply say, I’ll get back to you.” or just hang up.

Prince Edward County Master Gardeners Marianne Malachowski and Virginia Mitchell offered tips and advice.

There were also exhibits from the Prince Edward County Quilters’ Guild, the Prince Edward County Master Gardeners, the Alzheimer Society, Diabetes Canada, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, Community Living Prince Edward, Prince Edward District Women’s Institute and the Canadian Cancer Society.

John and Reta Desmarais are volunteers with Diabetes Canada.

November is diabetes month and husband of wife team John and Reta Desmarais provided information at the Diabetes Canada table.

“The prevention of Type-2 diabetes is our motivation and keeping people healthy and happy,” said Reta, who has been a volunteer with Diabetes Canada for 20 years.

“We are just thrilled with the turnout for this,” said Debbie MacDonald Moynes, executive director of the Community Care for Seniors Association. “We had so many exhibitors willing and wanting to come and be here with us and they’re learning from each other as well.”

She was pleased with the attendance at the event.

“We’ve had so many seniors come through and they are having a great time. We put together an agenda that would give people something for the entire day and I think it’s just turned out so well,” she said. “We really also appreciate the door prizes which have been donated by many of our exhibitors.”

More information of the County Seniors Centre and Community Care for Seniors at

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  1. Renee says:

    This is so great to see.

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