Health fair helps seniors sort out services

ROCHESTER — María Laureano of Rochester clutched a stack of papers for herself and friends as she went from table to table at a health fair for seniors May 30 at the Salvation Army, 915 N. Clinton Ave.

"It has been very, very helpful," Laureano said. "I’m getting info for other people and for myself."

The goal of the health fair was to help seniors sort out all the options and services available to them, said organizer Albert Algarín, founder and executive director of the Hispanic Community Center at 675 N. Clinton Ave.

"One of the top goals we have is to try and keep seniors as healthy and strong as possible," Algarín said.

The nonprofit Hispanic Community Center was one of the agencies at the fair providing information about its services. Located on the ground floor of Los Flamboyanes apartments and townhouses, the community center’s staff members help seniors fill out applications, schedule appointments, arrange transportation, translate letters and obtain referrals for services they need.

The fair is another way to overcome barriers to care, the center’s staff said.

"Maybe there’s a lack of information or a fear of the unknown," said Maritza Angulo, office manager of the Hispanic Community Center.

Fear was one of the things that representatives with Lifetime Care worked to dispel at the fair as they gave out information on hospice care, which allows people to manage pain and other symptoms during the end of their lives. Hospice is a service many people don’t like to talk about, said Mae Fox, a registered nurse with Lifetime Care, but she said that people are often glad to be able to die with dignity in their own homes.

"It’s such an asset, and there’s going to be such a need for it in the future," Fox said.

Many of the providers at the health fair were there to talk to seniors about services that can help them stay out of nursing homes. Susan Barnes, marketing and community relations manager for Independent Living for Seniors, an affiliate of Rochester General Hospital, gave out information about the agency’s all-inclusive long-term care, which includes transportation, medical care and social care at day centers in the community.

"It’s a great program for anybody who is chronically frail," Barnes said.

Catholic Family Center likewise offered information on its array of services to help seniors maintain their independence. Estella Velez gave details about Catholic Family Center’s STAR/ESTRELLA program, which provides nonmedical home support services including grocery shopping, transportation, visitation, essential errands, banking, yard work and chores. To qualify, residents must be 60 years or older and fees for the services are donation-based. For details, call 585-262-7050; bilingual volunteers also are needed.

Velez, supervisor of the STAR/ESTRELLA program, said that other services offered by Catholic Family Center or its partners include home-based care, transportation services, case management, light housekeeping, personal care and respite care, adult social day care, counseling to homebound seniors with anxiety or depression, resources for kinship caregivers, and minor home maintenance and repairs. For details, call 585-546-7220.

As an outreach volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association, Velez also distributed information about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease prevention, including maintaining healthy blood pressure and blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

"Everything that is good for your heart is good for your brain," Velez said.

Other participants in the health fair were Rochester Optical insurance benefit savings plans, Home Care Rochester, Visiting Nurse Service, Lifespan, Anthony L. Jordan Health Center, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, the Salvation Army, United Healthcare and Carmen Coleman, a Lifetime Financial insurance sales agent.

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