02/04/18 — The screenings are in, let the registration begin

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The screenings are in, let the registration begin

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on February 4, 2018 3:05 AM

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Gail Jones talks to Linda Watson, golf event manager for the Senior Games, Friday during the health fair at the Peggy Seegars Senior Center. Friday was the first day participants could register for the games.

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Phyllis Hembree with 3HC, at center, gives a blood pressure check during the health fair at Peggy Seegars Senior Center Friday.

Beaty Dobson likes to keep informed on the latest health topics for seniors and also likes to take advantage of free health screenings offered to them.

That's why she attended the Senior Games health fair at the Peggy Seegars Senior Center Friday, and has for the past couple of years.

The event for those 50 and older was co-sponsored by the senior center and Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Department.

"We have vendors from the county that come and provide information on health-related issues for seniors, as well as resources," said Paula Edwards, director of Wayne County Services on Aging and the senior center.

"It's a great opportunity for seniors to find out what's in Wayne County. And they can connect with people and find out resources."

Edwards said between 200 and 300 people attend the health fair each year, with more than 30 vendors.

Like the Department of Social Services that had information about Medicaid and services for seniors. And the Council on Aging that had information about the family caregiver program and more. A representative from the Senior Health Insurance Information Program had information about Medicare. Then there was AARP.

Goldsboro/Wayne Transportation Authority was on hand with information about what the organization does.

"We come here every year," said director Fred Fontana. "We're giving out information about the city bus service and the county van service because we do both.

"Through the van service, we can take you anywhere in Wayne County -- pick you up at your house, take you to the doctor or to visit someone. And it's $5 each way. If you get Medicaid or qualify for some of the senior programs, it's no charge at all."

The Transportation Authority also does medical trips to the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area. And it provides transportation to dialysis centers.

Fontana said the group transports a lot of seniors and probably 20 to 25 a day just to the senior center.

"You can go to our website, ridegtwa.com, and put in where you are and where you want to go and it will tell you what buses to take, how long it will take and what time the next bus will be at the closest bus stop to you," Fontana said.

You can do it on a computer or cellphone.

Fontana said if not for the bus and van service, a lot of the seniors would just stay at home and not be able to go to doctors or even a nutrition site for a hot lunch.

"It's definitely worthwhile," he said.

Another vendor was Pruitt Health Hospice.

"We are a hospice agency and we provide end of life care to patients who are at the end of life or disease process," said Kasi Jones with the group. "The doctors give them a prognosis of six months or less."

She was at the health fair to educate people about what hospice is because a lot of people think it means that everybody's just given up on the patient.

"A lot of people at the end of life want to be comfortable in their home and pass in their home," she said. "So we try to keep them as comfortable as we can at home. We come in and offer nursing service, CNAs, hospice aid, social work, chaplain and volunteers to come in and assist the family."

And it doesn't end when the patient dies. The group provides bereavement support for the surviving family up to 13 months.

Dobson said even if she got information that she couldn't use for herself, she could still give it to her friends and family.

She did get her blood pressure checked while there.

"I was talking to a lady about services for the blind," Dobson said. "She was telling me some things that I did not know. As we get older, our vision is not what it once was. Sometimes we need help, and we need to know where to get that help."

The senior games health fair is a fundraiser for the Wayne County Senior Games.

"We've probably done this health fair about 15 years," said Stasia Fields with Parks and Recreation Department. "It used to be held at Herman Park Center before this beautiful senior center was built. It's definitely health related with all kinds of great screenings."

But it's also the start of registration for the Senior Games. Participants can register through March 2 for the games that start in April. There is a $10 per person registration fee to participate in the games and that money raised goes toward T-shirts.

The Senior Games have been going on since the mid-1980s, Fields said. Wayne County has held the games since the mid-1990s.

"It's just a way for people 50 and above to get together to celebrate health and life," Fields said. "They make new friends. It helps keep them in shape. They can participate in the athletic events for the arts events."