Seniors shine at festival

September 26, 2018

Mother Nature couldn’t stop Columbus’ own Gloria Rinkol on Tuesday.

Despite the rain showers throughout the morning, Rinkol got over to the Ramada Hotel and River’s Edge Convention Center for the 31st annual Senior Living Festival. Rinkol stopped by numerous booths, took advantage of the various free health screenings and picked up all kinds of health care information.

“I just enjoy it. It’s really nice and informative and helpful. Then there are the giveaways,” she said, with a smile. “I love it.”

Rinkol was one of more than 300 residents who packed the hotel for the event, which each year aims to provide those 65 and up an opportunity to learn more about health care and what’s happening in the industry. Dozens of area businesses and community organizations were featured at booths and had officials visiting with attendees, including Columbus Community Hospital.

CCH, which co-sponsored the event with The Columbus Telegram and Alpha Media, had several of its department on site. Its Occupational Health Services offered free bone mineral density and blood pressure screenings. Flu shots and pneumonia vaccinations were also available. Rehabilitative Services team members were also seen answering questions about the hospital’s programs, as well was CCH Diabetes Educator Joan Plummer.

“It’s going great. We’ve had a lot of people come by … we’ve had some good questions, too, …” said Plummer, who is also a dietitian, adding the illness has become more prevalent throughout recent years. “I’ve had quite a few questions about medications, some about lifestyle … It’s a nice opportunity to talk to people in the community (who) maybe aren’t going to come see you as an outpatient.”

It was also an opportunity for Plummer to remind residents of CCH’s 15th Annual Diabetes Awareness Day, set for 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Columbus Wellness Center. The event will give people the chance to learn about what’s new in diabetes, nutrition, exercise and other topics, as well as undergo various screenings.

The morning also boasted a couple of guest speakers: Dr. Nila Novotny of Columbus Otolaryngology Clinic and Dr. Richard Cimpl from Columbus Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Clinic. Novotny was scheduled to speak on skin lesions, while Cimpl discussed joint replacement procedures.

“The guest speakers are always good,” Rinkol said.

Columbus Community Center Director Cindy Branting agreed.

“The speakers they brought out are outstanding,” she said.

As attendees made their way from booth to booth they were also greeted with the option to play Bingo nearby. Bingo is a game of chance in which each player matches numbers printed in different arrangements on small cards with the numbers the game caller draws at random, marking the selected numbers with tiles. When a player finds the selected numbers are arranged on their card in a row, they call out “Bingo!” to alert all participants to a winning card, which prompts the game host to examine the card for verification of the win. Players compete against one another to be the first to have a winning arrangement for the prize or jackpot.

“Senior always love their Bingo,” Branting said, adding vendors on hand donated all of the prizes for the game and gift bags attendees received.

Columbus resident Pat Szatko was one of the many people who got in on the action.

“Because of the giveaways and (to) play Bingo,” she said, with a laugh.

Games and prizes weren’t the only reasons, though.

“There’s always something new you can learn from these booths and it’s kind of to find out what services they actually have available that you can partake in,” she said, noting she has attended the festival the last several years.

Mike Lozos, who lives in The Heritage at Meridian Gardens, was at the retirement community’s booth helping greet those who came up. It’s something he has done the last five years or so.

“I like all of the people. You meet people you haven’t seen for years,” he said. “It’s a nice deal and it’s good for the older people.”

The Columbus Telegram’s involvement with putting on the festival is just an extension of its mission to keep the community informed.

“I think the event is good because it helps the residents visit with the different services that are part of this community they may not be familiar with,” said Kelly Muchmore, The Telegram’s account executive – key accounts team leader.

As residents made their way around the festival, it was clear the work being put in by event organizers and vendors was going a long way based on seniors’ smiles. Branting said she had several attendees who shared with her their enthusiasm for the multi-hour occasion.

“I think it’s a super event for the seniors. (It’s an) all-in-one venue where you can find out just about everything you need to know as a senior, get ideas, maybe (have answered) a few questions, kind of get your thought process going of things that might be coming up you might be in need of. The people who can answer those questions are right here …,” she said. “We’re all here for the same reason: To support our seniors in the community.”

Matt Lindberg is the managing editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at matt.lindberg@lee.net.

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