It started with some sobering statistics from the Marco Island Fire Department, and it has now morphed into a regular on the YMCA of South Collier (Marco) calendar.
Each fourth Thursday of the month, the Y hosts a health fair aimed at educating and providing an assortment of opportunities to those who attend.
At the most recent fair, it was a get-together where you could have your blood pressure checked, where you could learn about home health services for older folk, get a flu shot, enjoy a massage, learn about the upcoming national census … and enjoy a healthy meal.
About two dozen people attended the fair, and walked out the richer for having done so.
“I come to the Y all the time for exercise,” said Jean Allian, whose first stop was to have her blood pressure checked by on-site nurse Monica Ramos.
“I saw this advertised. I had never been before,” Allian said. “It’s wonderful.”
Keynote speaker was Adam Corcoran of Golden Care Home Health, who said more and more people preferred to “age in place” by remaining at their homes, and relying on home health where necessary.
“About 90 percent of people would like to stay as independent as possible for as long as possible,” Corcoran said, adding that 70 percent of people over 65 are expected to receive some sort of long term care in their lifetimes.
“This is because we’re living longer, but at the same time are subject to diseases and cognitive impairment,” Corcoran said.
He added that in general, Medicare covers home care provided a doctor orders the services.
Not covered, for example, are 24-hour care, meals and laundry.
“You have to have a need for a skill to come to your home,” Corcoran said. The company website is goldencarefl.com.
Almost everybody took advantage of chair massages provided by therapists from MassageLuXe, while Walgreens provided flu shots and Michelle Malsbury gave out information about the upcoming 2020 Census.
“In March, postcards go out to every address in the United States,” she said. “People have until April 1 to fill them out. The Census sets the pace for funding for the next decade … for healthcare, infrastructure, education and determining what businesses come into your community.”
She said that by the time the Census rolls around, about 32 specialists in different languages will be available for the sake of understanding and clarity.
Deborah Passero, who is activities director for the Y, said the health fairs were initiated partly because of learning from the Marco Island Fire Department that falls in the home are one of the most frequent reasons for emergency response.
“So we decided to provide education for our residents and visitors,” Passero said.
The idea blossomed, and now the fairs welcome applications from suitable companies and organizations to participate.
For information in how to be included, call Passero at 239-394-3144 x118. “It’s good exposure, and it’s good for the community,” she said.
For more on the Y’s wide variety of programs and activities for adults and children, visit marcoymca.org or call 394-YMCA (9622). Follow on Twitter at ymcamarco; on Facebook @marcoymca, and Instagram at ymcamarco.