55+ expo

The 16th annual 55+ Healthy Lifestyle Expo will take place at Elkton High School on Thursday, Aug. 9.

ELKTON — The 16th annual 55+ Healthy Lifestyle Expo will take over Elkton High School on Thursday, Aug. 9, providing face-to-face contact with dozens of vendors, a number of workshops, health screenings and more.

Sponsored by Cecil College and the Cecil County Department of Community Services, the annual event runs from 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9, at the school located at 110 James St. The $8 admission includes access to the vendor hall, workshops, lunch, door prizes and health screenings.

While the name of the expo may suggest that it’s intended for the county’s older residents, Cecil County Community Wellness Chief Sheila Murphy believes it has much to offer to many.

“We really want to invite our community members who are 55 and over, but we also want to invite family members, caregivers and those young-at-heart who should be getting information for the future,” she said, noting organizers hope to top the roughly 315 people who attended last year. “It’s the same spirited attitude and energy in the hallways as when the kids are there.”

This year’s wellness panel discussions include “Herbal Skin Care,” “Eating for Good Health,” “Home Remedies from Your Spice Rack and Beyond,” “Win the War on Arthritis,” and “Your Best Self NOW.” All of the workshops are determined by feedback left by attendees after last year’s expo, Murphy noted. Additionally, individuals seeking fitness advice may participate in workshops like Tai Chi Quan for Balance, Line Dancing, or Zumba Gold.

Kim Burton, older adults program director of the Mental Health Association for Maryland, who focuses solely on senior behavioral/mental health, will talk about brain and body changes for seniors, Murphy said.

“She does a really great job talking about things like the one cocktail you might have at 5 o’clock during your adult years, and how that is completely different later on because one of the enzymes in our gut changes after about 60 (years old),” Murphy said. “She’ll present some great science for attendees.”

Meanwhile, a panel of local health experts — Dr. Brian DeMuth, an orthopedic surgeon; Dr. Sirin Pandey, an internist focused on endocrinology; and Dr. Roger Wu, a gastroenterologist — will talk about health trends and topics for seniors, with a question-and-answer session to follow.

New to the expo this year is a drug take-back, where individuals can bring their expired and unused medications for proper, safe disposal. Also being provided to all attendees are Deterra drug disposal bags, which allow residents to destroy potential harmful medications at home.

“Our older population often have more medication prescribed to them, often for chronic or long-term conditions, but potentially for shorter term illness too. They also may not have the transportation availability to go to a police station to properly dispose of them,” she said, noting reaching seniors is increasingly important as they are playing bigger roles in the raising of children today.

Murphy noted that officials got some experience with a take-back from their Caregivers Conference earlier this year, when North East Police Chief Darrell Hamilton offered to oversee the effort.

“They really got substantive pounds of medication,” she noted.

A two-hour Volunteer Fair will also be set up during the expo to help recruit seniors to volunteer for more than a dozen causes seeking help. All have identified retirees as ideal recruits, Murphy said.

Murphy said that one of the biggest benefits of the expo may be less noticeable: the social impact on attendees, who can meet others and understand they are not alone in their health concerns.

“I think the entirety of the day is focused on wellness and whatever you may need, we probably have the capacity to help you in one place,” she said.

Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Call Cecil College at 410-287-1078 with registration course number SCX100-19. Individuals can also register by visiting the Elkton Senior Center, Healthy Lifestyles Fitness Center or Cecil College’s Elkton Station. For a list of participating vendors, and an updated schedule, visit www.cecildcs.org.

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