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Turnout high for senior expo

POSTED: February 20, 2013 12:28 a.m.
Autumn Vetter/

Nan Meadows, left, helps Kaye Wengert on Saturday during the Forsyth County Senior Expo at the Forsyth Conference Center. More than 1,500 people attended the three-hour event.

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Representatives of everything from health care and financial services to civic clubs and restaurants presented information to the local senior population Saturday.

Mike Bohn, director of Forsyth County Senior Services, said the annual Forsyth County Senior Expo drew about 85 vendors to the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference.

“We’ve had a wonderful turnout,” he said, adding that more than 1,500 people came over the three-hour time period, a new attendance record.

“We get a lot of seniors who come to our centers who come [to the expo]. They come in their little groups and they love seeing the staff that they see during the week and roaming around.”

Bohn said the vendors who participated in the event, which was held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., included a wide range of services.

“There’s everything from home health care and assisted living facilities to insurance and we even have a pest control guy. This is his biggest event of the year,” he said.

Susie Piper and friend Pat Truitt have been coming to the expo since it began 11 years ago. This was the first time it was held at the conference center, which to Truitt was a big improvement.

“It’s much easier to move around now,” she said.

Piper noted that the expo provides seniors with an opportunity to get out and about.

“It’s important to get this community together,” she said. “It’s a way for people to get together who don’t get together very often.”

For Kaye Wengert, who recently moved to Forsyth County from Delaware, it was an opportunity to learn about her new community.

“It’s a beautiful fair because I’m new to the area and it’s letting me know what’s available for seniors,” Wengert said. “I’m amazed at how big it is … I’m just stunned at everything. I’m getting information of what I need to know.”

Stephen Kight of the Forsyth County Public Library system said the expo is a good way for vendors to share their message.

“We want to make sure everybody in the community knows all the services we offer and we offer quite a few things for seniors,” Kight said.

“We’re telling people about our health resources, our [electronic] resources, about the new [Post Road] branch that’s opening this summer, all kinds of things.”

Stella Cone with Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Service, or GLASS, said the expo was a great fit for her organization, which provides audio, Braille and other special types of books.

“I’ve talked to several people who’ve said, ‘Oh, I know somebody’ or ‘My eyesight’s going and I’m having a hard time,’ so they would qualify for our service,” Cone said. “My goal is someday that everybody in the state who wants to know about the service and could use the service at least knows about it.”

Besides vendors, Bohn said the event also featured about 50 volunteers from organizations such as United Way of Forsyth County, the local Retired Educators chapter and Age Well Forsyth.

The event was also a way for Bohn to get feedback.

“The bingo is a big deal,” he said. “The seniors go around with their card and they have to visit each table … and then we do door prizes.

“One big thing is we put a survey on the back of the bingo card asking the seniors what they want from Forsyth County Senior Services. We really want to know what they want.”

 

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