Senior expo showcases local resources

By Annette Brand


Senior expo  showcases local resources | Back Page, Seniors

Photos courtesy Delta County Senior Reource Council Gary West from Bill Heddles Recreation Center in Delta led the exercises at the 2014 Senior Expo. Gary threw balls back and forth with the seniors, led a resistance band exercise to strengthen the arms,

On Thursday, Oct. 22, seniors from around the area are invited to come together to enjoy entertainment, a tasty free lunch, fun exercises, and to learn more about several matters that affect their lives.

All these opportunities will be available during the seventh annual Senior Expo, held at Bill Heddles Recreation Center, 531 N. Palmer Street in Delta. This year's Senior Expo runs from 9:00 a.m. through 1:30 p.m.

Starting off the Senior Expo at 9:15 a.m. will be Cheryl Oeltjenbruns, co-owner of CM Management, who will speak in a general way about powers of attorney and advance directives.

Popular performer Hugh Plumleigh will perform on the keyboard during the fun exercises before lunch.

Lunch, which is free to seniors, will include a HUGE birthday cake in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Delta County Senior Resource Council (DCSRC), one of the sponsors of the Senior Expo. Bank of the West is a co-sponsor.

The theme for this year's Senior Expo is "Leaving a Legacy."

Leah Lewis, Senior Coordinator for DCSRC, says, "We are encouraging seniors to gather materials such as photos, stories and treasured items to preserve as a legacy for their children and grandchildren.

"Often someone will recall, 'I remember granddad telling me that story when I was a small child. How I wish I could hear him tell it again.' Granddads living today can record their stories so their grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, can have the pleasure of hearing the story in granddad's own voice," Leah said.

"Or someone will recall having seen a favorite photograph of a relative who lived decades ago and say, 'I wonder what ever happened to that picture.' Now is the time to get those photographs together to save them for the future generations.

"Since many of our recent photographs are on computers or thumb drives, now is a good time to get prints made of them so future family members can see what we looked like," Leah added.

Scrapbooking enthusiasts will be available at the Expo to demonstrate techniques and materials for preserving legacy items.

Great opportunities are available at the Senior Expo for those interested in researching their ancestry.

Genealogy specialist Don Pyle of Cedaredge will speak to seniors about genealogy and respond to the seniors' questions.

The Mormon Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), active and respected in the field of genealogy, will bring to the Expo four computers and genealogy specialists to give seniors hands-on experience in genealogy research. VOA will bring six computers to aid in this research.

The lunchtime speaker will be Delta attorney Aaron Clay who will speak on legal matters of interest to seniors that his senior clients bring to him.

Leah says 45-plus vendors/demonstrators will be available at the Expo, so seniors are encouraged to come early and take advantage of all the information and demonstrations in which they have an interest or need.

Delta County Memorial Hospital will have representatives at the Expo to give blood pressure tests.

Acupuncturist Catherine Rodeback will demonstrate ways to deal with stress.

Mental Health Center will have staff on hand to answer questions and hand out brochures. Leah says, "They have loads of information."

Veterans of Foreign Wars' Jim Baker will bring a claims person from Denver to talk about claims. A claims adjuster will be on site as well.

USDA Rural Development's Victoria Martinez will be present to discuss with seniors the availability of funds, up to $7,500, to cover such needs as rails, ramps, roof leaks and other home repairs. Leah stresses: "This is money set aside for that purpose and is given, not loaned."

In addition to that program, seniors can borrow USDA funds at 1 percent interest.

CapTel Phones will demonstrate a phone that gives a visual translation of the conversation coming through the phone.

For questions about the Senior Expo, call Leah Lewis at 970-712-2295.

DCSRC sponsors another stellar event every year for seniors, inviting "anyone age 55-plus from Delta and Montrose counties and beyond" to the Delta Senior Prom. The prom is held in the Delta High School gym during the afternoon prior to that night's Delta High School annual prom. Seniors enjoy dancing in the decorated gym.

Seniors may want to make a note in their 2016 calendar to attend next year's Senior Prom, which is tentatively scheduled for April 16.

Leah Lewis says, "The number of seniors who come has grown every year since we started the Senior Prom in 2012. We had over 100 in 2015."

Crossroads Care Center, Colorow Care Center and Willow Tree at Delta bring their residents. Paonia Care Center has participated every year, this year bringing two vans of their residents. Individual people from the communities of Montrose and Delta come.

"This year we had a DJ and seniors enjoyed music from the '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, and '60s.

"JROTC members from Delta High come to the prom in their uniforms and dance with the seniors every year. The seniors really enjoy dancing with these young uniformed boys and girls. For some it brings back memories of when they were young and their boyfriends or husbands were going off to war or were home on leave," Leah said.

"No one goes away without having a dance," she said.

"It is such a delight to take people in wheelchairs and twirl them around and do the twist with them in their chairs. You see the biggest smiles on their faces.

"Marilyn Wyatt from Hotchkiss, celebrating her 80th birthday, brought her whole family, including grandchildren, so they could celebrate together."

"A king and queen are crowned during the prom," Leah said. "Sunset Mesa Funeral Home in Montrose, a DCSRC member, provided a limo and driver to pick up the king and queen, take them to dinner after the prom and then to their home. Touch of Care sponsored the dinner this year."

DCSRC member Alpine Bank bought the king and queen crowns and sashes.

Crossroads Assisted Living has made corsages and boutonnieres for the seniors for several years.

People Care Health Services made the decorations for the tables.

VOA Pace Program provided the food in 2015 -- platters and platters of meat and cheese, chips, nuts, fresh fruit and dessert. There were leftovers which seniors took home with them.

Linda Fuller, a local photographer, comes to the prom, takes photos of every one and goes to Walmart to have the photos developed, then brings them back to the prom.

"We insert the photos in individual programs and the seniors have a great souvenir to take home with them," Leah said.

Delta High Key Club members helped set up the tables this year. DCSRC and the DHS Junior Class took down the DCSRC decorations and tables, assisted by Rocky Top Ramblers 4-H Club.

DCSRC is "donation driven," Leah Lewis said. As Senior Coordinator, she is its only staff.

Leah works from her office at 823 Main Street in Delta. She receives questions from seniors and provides information and names of contact people for the broad range of senior needs, either at the office or by telephone, 970-712-2295.

DCSRC's mission is "To promote awareness, education, and collaborative opportunities for seniors seeking to enrich quality of life in our community."

Its vision statement is "Celebrate, develop, nurture and establish connections between our seniors and our community to enrich lives."