Expo targeting seniors

(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The first-ever Senior Expo hosted by UAMS Center on Aging took place Friday at Nettleton Baptist Church in Jonesboro.

Valerie Fielder, program coordinator for UAMS, said they hosted the event to try and meet a need.

"We saw a need in the community," Fielder said. "To help people, family caregivers and our aging adults to learn more about the resources available to them in this area. It's been a really great day. Around 200 people came out and we're really pleased with that."

Fielder said they had a number of breakout sessions on such things as identity theft, stress management, and hospice.

She said they designed the event to help provide Region 8 seniors with the information they need.

"There's help out there," Fielder said. "And they're not in this alone. That they can reach out and get the help. Don't be too proud to ask for help or ask somebody how they can afford it or what they need to do."

Jonesboro resident Dorothy Davidson said she planned a month in advance to attend the expo.

"I was really impressed with how many different booths there are," Davidson said. "And there are so many things to know about what's available here in Jonesboro and outside the Jonesboro area. For people my age who are thinking about maybe dementia and also the home health care, because at my age we need that type of service."

There were also 95 informational booths set up in the main room for people to visit and ask questions.

"We have a wide variety of booths," Fielder said. "That was our goal because family caregivers are at different places in their journey. So, they might be looking for someone to help them and their mom at home. Or they might be ready for nursing home placement or end of life care. Or they might just be interested in learning what they can do for themselves. So, we searched and found people who provide all of those services."

Davidson said the expo brought information she needed the right to her.

"It made it easier for me," Davidson said. "Now, to get a hold of people that I'm interested in. My husband is home cared, and there were a lot of other things. Like physical therapy and I think it was worthwhile for anyone who came out. Each booth had something to share with us. I was here for the information and I'm glad I came out today."

Fielder said she was pleased with the huge response they got from participants, especially since this was the first one they hosted.

"To get that many resources, from long-term care to financial planning to home care. We even have a funeral home here. Some people don't want to put that burden on their families. So, our sponsors have been wonderful," Fielder said. "St. Bernards was our presenting sponsor and, of course, UAMS was the founding sponsor. But different folks have stepped up and said how can I help and what can I do."

Fielder said the expo would return sometime next year.

She said they put out a form and people were already signing up again for the next one.

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