Seniors connect with local resources |

Seniors connect with local resources

by Caryn Haller

Jonnell Coleman, 55, flinched as lab assistant, Terri Swab, drew blood for a wellness check at the Douglas County Senior Health Fair on Wednesday.

The Woodfords resident came to the fair to take advantage of the inexpensive health tests as well as browse the informational booths.

“It was cheaper than going to Tahoe where I usually go,” Coleman said. “I always get my blood checked first, then go see my doctor. It’s a kick in the butt to get my health checked.”

Coleman was one of hundreds of seniors to talk with almost 50 vendors with information about health care, home care, recreation and senior services.

“The goal is to get information to the community about what services are available here locally. It’s focused on seniors, but there are services here for everybody,” said Amanda Reid, recreation specialist for Douglas County Senior Services. “A lot of things happen as a senior and sometimes you need questions and answers in one room, and by getting everybody together they can ask questions of multiple services to find out the programs that are right for them.”

Helga Hensen, 77, of Minden rummaged through a table of gloves, hats and socks that the Gardnerville FISH store was giving away for free. They were also giving away warm winter coats.

“It’s one of the best events they put on. We know where to go if we need anything,” Hensen said.

In addition to picking up a new wool coat and gloves, Hensen was also in the market for inexpensive dental insurance.

“We had AARP once, but it was too expensive. I’m hoping to see what they have to offer today because things change year to year,” Hensensaid.

Gardnerville resident Jerry Rasmussen has been attending the health fair since the first one 13 years ago.

“It’s interesting to see all the stuff that’s out there. They provide a lot of information for this area,” he said. “As you get older you gotta find all the different things that are out there. You don’t realize when you’re younger that you’re going to have to have these things.”

New to this year’s fair was a booth for the Suicide Prevention Network of Douglas County.

Executive Director Debbie Posnien handed out information about seniors and depression as well as healthy aging tips.

“Suicide is very active in seniors. They deal with a lot of depression. I’m here to make sure seniors know there is a place to get help and have a healthy living,” Posnien said. “A great percentage of attempted suicides in the last 8-9 months have been folks over 50 years old.”

A regular vendor at the health fair is Carson Tahoe Behavioral Health Services.

Community Liaison Director Susie Whitman said they receive patients from all over Northern Nevada that need help with mental illness or drug and alcohol problems.

“It’s prevalent in all ages, but we see a lot of seniors,” she said. “It’s great to let the community know about all the resources available in this area.”

Charleen Fordham, 74, rides the DART bus every year to attend the fair.

“I see interesting new things, and get ideas for things I might need,” the Gardnerville resident said. “It’s wonderful. This year they’re giving out gloves, socks and coats, which is really nice.”