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Senior Health Expo educates community

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Herald Community Newspapers and South Nassau Communities Hospital partnered to present their inaugural Senior Health Expo on Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event brought free health screenings and information to more than 250 attendees, including a panel discussion with keynote speakers from SNCH, Dr. Clifford Feiner and nurse Allison Anderson.

“We have been doing a lot of community screenings, so when [the Herald] asked us to do this, we were happy to partner with them,” said Dana Sanneman, executive director of public affairs at SNCH. “The response we’ve been getting today has been so great.”

The Oceanside-based medical center provided seniors with free tests for blood pressure, Body Mass Index, balance and prostate at the nearby O’Connell Gardens in Oceanside. In addition, CVS provided seniors with flu shots.

“It’s wonderful to have an opportunity to bring health screenings and education to the senior community,” said Katie Zummo, director of community education at SNCH. “We appreciate the support from the Herald and O’Connell Gardens. This was a big collaboration.”

The banquet hall buzzed with conversation about various topics regarding seniors’ wellbeing, from insurance and legal representation to home security and physical activity. Over 35 companies had tables around the perimeter of the room and spoke with guests about the services that they offer.

Ronald Foutallah & Associates, an elder law firm in Great Neck, attended the event to educate seniors about planning for the future. “We’re always out and about, talking about the importance of being prepared in case you need a long-term health care policy,” said marketing and outreach coordinator Jackie Rothermel.

WellCare, one of the event’s sponsors, provided information to the senior community about its long-term healthcare programs. “We want everyone to know that this is a community resource,” said Director of Assessment and Enrollment Walter Aguilar. “It’s a pleasure to be here.”

Paul Anthony, comedian and host of the Long Island Comedy Festival, was the emcee for the day. Midway through the Expo, 10 health professionals and senior care experts addressed the audience. Dr. Feiner, chief of the geriatrics division at SNCH, spoke about dietary supplements, sleep and aging, memory problems, osteoarthritis and falls.

Nurse Anderson picked up where he left off to suggest ways to prevent falls and keep seniors’ bodies and balance strong. She teaches free tai chi classes for people 65 and over that decrease fall risk by over 50 percent when taken twice a week for eight weeks, Anderson said. She demonstrated the basic tai chi movements that can help seniors as they age.

“It helps with relaxation and meditation,” she said. “For people with lung problems, it helps bring oxygen into the body.”

The remaining speakers discussed estate planning, homecare, medical insurance and identity theft.

Attendees enjoyed free snacks and refreshments, complimentary goodie bags and the opportunity to win raffle prizes, including theater tickets, gift baskets, tickets to the 50+ Comedy Tour and gift certificates to local restaurants and Costco. The grand prize was a trip to Cancun.

The event was sponsored by Cassena Care, WellCare, Towers Funeral Home and O’Connell Gardens. Herald Community Newspapers will host a series of senior health events in 2019.