By 2030, 25 percent of our region’s population will be over the age of 60 -- with the fastest-growing segment of the community 75 and older.
As demographics change, so too does the marketplace, as more and more businesses shift to meet the needs of older adults. While many older adults are living active and healthy lives, some are experiencing challenges that require accurate and timely information. For example, they may need assistance with chores or handy work, best places to work out and stay fit, where to go for healthcare screenings, where to find information about chronic disease and management, and where to find support for caregivers?
In its ongoing effort to help prepare for the unprecedented growth in the older population, Aging Together will hold its annual Art of Aging Expo aimed at older adults, their families and caregivers. But the Expo isn’t just for those 55 and older. Younger families should attend to learn more about what’s available in the community. After all, we are all aging! Last year, an unprecedented 500 people turned up to learn about resources, enjoy networking opportunities, take advantage of free screenings, win raffles, and have fun!
This year, the Expo is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 8, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Daniel Technology Center at Germanna Community College in Culpeper. The Expo will showcase services, products and businesses from Madison, Orange, Culpeper, Fauquier and Rappahannock counties.
The Expo will again feature a free shredding truck – so bring all documents for shredding, an art display and Virginia State Police Automobile VIN# etching to reduce auto theft. There will also be representatives from: home care, assisted living, health services, housing, insurance, transportation and more. Also available will be flu shots, vision and hearing screenings, an antique appraiser, chair massage, a blood mobile and door prizes.
Vendor resource tables will include information on local services, caregiving, Alzheimer’s, hearing loss, in-home services, medications and other health and lifestyle products, and much more. One of Aging Together’s primary goals has always been helping people navigate the difficult landscape of aging and healthcare services. The Expo represents a way to help do so.
The Expo also aims to help caregivers who are providing care and support to older adults. Caregivers tend to be adult children or relatives in their 40s who are also caring for their own children and just starting to think about their own aging.
“Community conversations” conducted by Aging Together in all five counties revealed common themes regarding the needs of older adults in our communities. Not surprising, across the board people indicated a need for transportation, affordable housing, food, and the need to be connected socially. Caregiving for a family or friend was also high on the list.
Overall, people have a desire to stay home and independent as long as possible and to stay close to family and friends. Sometimes that means reaching out for assistance or gathering information before a crisis occurs. But people don’t tend to seek out information about resources until they are in crisis. That can be a difficult time to begin looking. Knowledge is power, and sometimes remaining at home independently can be achieved with simple support solutions – such as help with transportation or shopping. This is why we encourage people to come out to the Expo – it’s “one-stop shopping” for much of the information that may be needed down the road, if not presently.
Aging Together is proud that the Expo showcases our local services. “Buy local” doesn’t just apply to farmer’s markets. We want people to use the services that will help them to “age in place” right here in this region.
For more information about the Oct. 8 Expo, visit www.agingtogether.org/expo
Ellen Phipps is the executive director of Aging Together. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-321-3068.