Residents get information and screenings during annual SeniorFest
HUNTINGTON — When retired Army Capt. Fred Langille came to Cabell Huntington Hospital’s sixth annual SeniorFest on Saturday, he didn’t know he had carpal tunnel syndrome, but he left with the diagnosis and options on how to address it.
“If there are seniors out there that haven’t been here or heard about it, please come,” Langille said. “It’s a wealth of information. It will help you, and it helps the hospital, too, because it helps them learn what they can do for you as well as you knowing what they can do for you.”
More than 1,600 seniors ages 50 and older attended the popular event Saturday. Along with free food, the hospital offered free flu shots and health screenings for diabetes and blood pressure. More than 50 booths were set up with information, screenings and activities.
“We are really focusing on seniors and how to live well, how to stay healthy and how to age in place so they can do the things that they love,” said Teresa Sexton, director of nursing and senior services at Cabell Huntington Hospital.
With more than 80,000 people dying of the flu last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Sexton said making sure seniors get a flu shot was a passion for her this year.
“As we age, our immunity weakens and you are more susceptible to infection and to the flu, and we know most flu deaths are seniors, and it’s unacceptable,” Sexton said. “Getting a flu shot will (help) prevent that.”
Among the booths was Jenny Murray, director of Trauma Services. She and her team gave out a checklist for people to evaluate their home’s risk of injury. Murray said many people think of things like smoke detectors, but they don’t think of other safety measures like nonslip rugs on hardwood floors or other potential hazards.
“Prevention is key,” Murray said. “It seems kind of overwhelming, but every station will give them things to think about that maybe they haven’t in the past.”
Trauma Services also taught Stop the Bleed training. Murray said they have been doing the training across the Tri-State with the idea of a mass casualty situation, like a shooting, in mind because the bystanders are the first ones there as emergency services must wait until police declare the scene safe. On Saturday they did the training with the idea that seniors are often on blood thinners, which means they do not clot as well.
The Institute for Minimally Invasive Surgery had its da Vinci Robot out and allowed visitors to use the simulation robot to get an understanding of how robotic surgery works.
“The surgeons control the robot,” said Heidi Hamady, program manager of the Institute for Minimally Invasive Surgery. “There is a misconception that the robot does the surgery, but it’s the surgeon.”
Surgery is scary, added robotic supervisor Phillip Conley, and not understanding what robotic surgery is can add to it. The hope was to get people acclimated to what it is and how it works in order to reduce any confusion or anxiety about using the new technology.
Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.