All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Tuesday, July 16th, 2024

Full day of free fun and information attracts hundreds of seniors

The County Ukulele Band performed an afternoon concert in the Rotary Hall.

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
Coming off a successful inaugural year that saw 400 attendees come through the doors, the Seniors Information and Active Living Fair was back for a second year Thursday, bigger and even better.

The free event, put together by The Prince Edward County Community Care for Seniors Association and the County Seniors Centre, hit the ground running, with more vendors, more exhibitors and more attendees.

With free admission and parking, the Wellington and District Community Centre was buzzing with lots to do with activities, demonstrations, information, presentations, food and live music.

This year, the seniors fair offered influenza and routine immunizations in the Norton Room, provided by Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health. It proved so popular the long line-up only grew through the day, where the 30-45 minute wait didn’t seem to deter those standing in line.

Laura McGugan, with Community Care for Seniors, said many of the people coming for the flu shots didn’t know about the fair, so it was an added bonus. She couldn’t explain the very large interest, but suggested it may have been due to reported shortages of the flu vaccine this year and with residents taking advantage of the opportunity early in the season.

“We are just so pleased to have as many people here as we do today,” said Debbie MacDonald Moynes, executive director, Community Care for Seniors. “We have more exhibitors than we had last year, and, we were able to free-up more space by using the lobby.”

“We also had enough lead time that we were able to arrange with public health to offer the flu shots, and that was advertised by them, so that’s brought a lot more people in.”

Once people had been jabbed, there were numerous presentations running every half hour, including one by local naturalist, Terry Sprague.

Terry Sprague, known as The Pied Piper of Nature, discusses his interpretive hikes and the importance of enjoying the outdoors regardless of physical ability or age.

His fascinating talk spoke to his nature tours, where he shared some funny tales and experiences, as well as noting the importance of getting outside and enjoying nature. This born and bred Big Island resident, known as the Pied Piper of Nature, described his interpretive hikes and the benefits for everyone, not just seniors.

“It’s not just enough to identify a particular flower, shrub or bird, but you have to tell the whole story of why that particular creature is here and why it ties in with the natural scheme of things.”
said Sprague, as he described what is meant by the “interpretive” element of his tours.

“The message that I want to leave with people is, even though your physical abilities aren’t as strong as they used to be, there are still lots of opportunities if you want to get out in the outdoors.”

Matt del Grosso, of the Prince Edward Family Health Team, spoke about primary care, and Bernadette Hymus addressed healthy aging.

McGugan gave a talk on addressing social isolation, and Tracy Reid was on hand to teach people about pole walking. Other topics covered included health, wealth and legal matters.

Alana Deville, Canadian Hearing Society, talks about the services available for the hard of hearing.

Alana Deville, of the Canadian Hearing Society, discussed services for the hard of hearing upstairs in the Task Force Lounge to a group of about a dozen.

“Ten to 15 per cent of the Canadian population have some form of hearing loss,” said Deville, “That number increases to one out of three when we get to be age 65.”

She spoke to the signs and degree of hearing loss, which is different for everybody, and also the types of hearing loss – namely conductive loss, neural sensorial loss and tinnitus.

“The goal is good communication, not perfect hearing,” she said, adding that communication is a two-way process.

Opening remarks included Prince Edward County mayor Steve Ferguson, recently re-elected Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis, Susan Smith representing Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith, and Barb Proctor, chair of the board at Community Care for Seniors, with board member Manson Slik acting as emcee.

Proctor acknowledged the Older Adult Centres’ Association of Ontario for giving guidance and support to organize the fair, as well as the Ontario Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility for supporting and funding the possibility to have the fair.

“These fairs do take place across the province and it’s a very beneficial and valuable venue for our seniors, and we are very happy to be a part of that,” said Proctor.

Mayor Ferguson said it was terrific to see how the event has grown since last year, and to see involvement by other service providers and organizations.

“It’s great to have all this under one roof in a seniors’ population, which is very considerable in Prince Edward County to get the information they need, quickly and very efficiently.”

Staff Sgt. John Hatch of the Prince Edward County OPP Detachment spoke with many residents during the day.

He said council has made it a priority to ensure the community remains a liveable, affordable and safe one. “That is particularly important for a seniors’ population,” he added.

Bay of Quinte MP Neil Ellis said the day was also about volunteers and he thanked them.

“Events and volunteers make the unity in our community, and it’s a great thing to help out,” said Ellis, bringing greetings from the federal government.

Some of the groups represented at the event included Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, Service Canada, Canada Revenue Agency, Prince Edward County OPP, Canadian Cancer Society, Diabetes Canada, Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, VON Canada, South East LHIN, and Hospice Prince Edward.

Lilian Denard and Mary Sinclair shared information about the Glenwood Cemetery and grounds.

Also represented were Glenwood Cemetery, Prince Edward County Master Gardeners, LoveSong Housing, Prince Edward District Women’s Institute, and the Prince Edward County Quilters’ Guild,

“Our exhibitors are telling us that there is a great number of people that have come and they are answering lots of questions, and they are really pleased,” said MacDonald Moynes, who said the day was going really well, and there was something on the go all the time.

She said she was also very grateful to have the support of the volunteers from the Wellington on the Lake community, noting it was their second year of helping make sure everything runs smoothly.

Dale Kerr and Mary Lynn Stevens, both volunteers from Wellington on the Lake, were assisting by providing food for the volunteers.

“This is just awesome and is such a great arrangement of our exhibitors, and there is so much good information available here, and we are happy to do it and happy to help,” said Stevens.

While geared to seniors, everyone was welcome to attend, in what was a one-stop, full-day event with close to 70 exhibitors, with a free lunch thrown in, as well as free snacks and refreshments, and free door prizes. And for those who needed assistance getting to the venue, free transportation was also provided.

The PEC Library String Quartet performed during the free lunch.

The PEC Library String Quartet entertained through the lunch hour, and the County Ukulele Band held a concert in the Rotary Hall performing a number of familiar, toe-tapping tunes, where a sing-a-long was encouraged to the songs “Slow Boat to China,” “Stray Cats”, “Octopus’s Garden”, “Sunny Afternoon”, “Singing the Blues” and more.

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