FULTON, NY – State Senator Patty Ritchie hosted a senior health and wellness fair Wednesday (Sept. 21) at the Fulton Ice Arena that brought in more than 500 seniors from all over Oswego County.
“We really, really appreciate Senator Ritchie hosting this event, it’s so important because there’s more seniors than most people account for. A lot of people come to this to get things they may not have otherwise. I don’t think Senator Ritchie realizes just how many lives she touches,” said one attendee, 66-year-old Dolores Ahart.
Ahart was among hundreds that took advantage of the ample information and many services provided by more than 50 exhibitors.
“A lot of this stuff, we already knew about or knew of, but this was a good chance to really get details and ask any questions,” Ahart said.
Seniors had the opportunity to speak with dozens of exhibitors, get a free flu shot, and enjoy a free lunch prepared by local CiTi culinary students and free live entertainment.
“This is important for a couple reasons. With more than 50 vendors, there’s so much information available for senior’s health. They can get flu shots or ask any questions they may have and while this is an opportunity to keep our seniors healthy, it’s also an opportunity to get out and visit, enjoy music and lunch, have some fun,” Senator Ritchie said.
The fun atmosphere, partnered with critical health information and opportunities, and broadened transportation availability called for more attendance than seen in past years.
“We heard from a number of seniors, especially senior complexes, that said if they had a ride they would attend. This year we incorporated extra bus routes to help get to those who have wanted to come with no avenue to do so,” she said.
And the extra transportation seemed to fulfill that goal of reaching more seniors throughout the county as a long line formed outside the building at the 11 a.m. start of the event, more than 300 seniors arriving within the first hour.
One of those seniors, 76-year-old Barbara Richards, said she got plenty of products from the many vendor stations including bandaids, hand sanitizer, tissues, toothbrushes, a life vial to hold personal information in case of an emergency, and of course enjoyed a free lunch.
“There’s basically everything you need. This is a great opportunity for all people to come here and get what they need, it really helps everyone,” Richards said.
While Kinney Drugs provided free flu shots, seniors could also test their balance to assess risk for falling or undergo a bone density test, among many other demonstrations.
Oswego County Sheriff’s Department was also on hand for a prescription drug take back program in which people in attendance could return any expired, unused or unneeded prescription drugs.
“We take the prescriptions back, secure them and then destroy them by the proper means. It’s definitely a needed service but we also provide a lot of community information here. We find it just as helpful to be on hand to answer any other questions and interact with the community, this is a way to give some exposure to local seniors,” said Sergeant William Bazzell.
Live entertainment from “Anybody’s Guess” was heard throughout the building as seniors mingled and enjoyed lunch compliments of local culinary students at CiTi.
“We are very fortunate to have partnered with the young students at CiTi to provide lunch for our seniors today. It’s an opportunity for the students to work to prepare such a large number of meals and I’m sure its exciting to see people enjoy their hard work. We have certainly enjoyed our partnership with CiTi and I hope they have as well,” said Senator Ritchie.
Senator Ritchie’s Health and Wellness Fair was possible because of numerous sponsors including: Exelon Corporation, Fulton City School District, Kinney Drugs, Dunkin’ Donuts, Behling Orchards, Ontario Orchards, Hudson’s Dairy, Walmart, Cabot Cheese, Oswego County CiTi, Pathfinder Bank, the city of Fulton, Oswego County Opportunities, and the Oswego County Sheriff’s Department.