Expo for aging citizens focuses on health – The Brandon Sun

City seniors and adults will get the chance to learn how to age gracefully, stay healthy and have fun thanks to an event to be hosted by several groups and businesses next week.

The Healthy Living Centre at Brandon University will be home to everything to do with healthy living on Sept. 21 with the return of Health Checks: There’s a Whole Lot of Living Left to Do, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The free event will feature booths, activities and guest speakers all focused on the many aspects of physical and mental health, and a chance to learn about recreation options for adults, said Rona Orth, one of the organizers.

Organizations will have information booths, and experts will be present to talk about the services they offer.

“We will have everyone there that is geared towards health: Prairie Mountain Health, the City of Brandon, private businesses, and non-profits. It’s going to be a big day,” Orth said. “We are really trying to include everybody. We want everyone in Brandon and southwestern Manitoba to feel welcome.”

The day will start at 9:45 a.m. with an Indigenous blessing and smudging ceremony.

Activities include a fall assessment station, where health experts will get people to stand and sit and have their movement assessed based on their age.

People can also have their hearing assessed at a testing booth. In addition, anyone who is hearing impaired can attend a session about the benefits of a hearing loop, which provides a magnetic, wireless signal that is picked up by the hearing aid when it is set to a specific setting. Because the signal is going directly to the hearing aid or cochlear implant, the sound is customized to a person’s hearing loss, according to the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association.

To make it convenient, Orth said there will be self-assessment questionnaires people can take home for other health screenings as well.

Massage therapy students from the university will give demonstrations on the health benefits of the low-impact physical therapy.

The Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba will also have painting demonstrations, and the Brandon Public Library will bring its portable library. Orth said this is to demonstrate the self-care aspects of these activities and the mental health and stimulation benefits of expression through art and reading.

However, the event won’t all be about health. There will be some information on recreation for fun. The pickleball court will be open for people to try the game, which is run out of the centre several times a week.

The city will also survey people about their thoughts on the city plan. The city’s emergency services, public transit will also be there while Age Friendly Brandon will talk about its services and ask the public how it can improve.

This event is put on by a steering committee that includes Prairie Mountain Health, 14 local and provincial non-profit organizations and private citizens. It’s a large grassroots movement to help people learn about what’s available to keep them healthy, Orth said.

The information and activities at the event are the result of surveys committee members put out to the public, she added. Most of the answers they received centred around what activities are available in the city right now that help people.

There’s plenty of information available about children and youth activities, Orth explained, but not as much information about adult and senior activities and services.

“No one ever really stops to think about that,” she said.

“We need the same information. Everyone’s getting older, but a lot of people don’t know what services, services and everything else is available as they age. This focuses on the aging population, it’s important for everybody.”

» kmckinley@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @karenleighmcki1

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