Information Overload

Published 4:32 pm Friday, November 24, 2023

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News Correspondent

JACKSON – The first one was a good one!

The Northampton County Office of Aging staged their inaugural Aging Expo here Nov. 17 at the Cultural and Wellness Center, bringing awareness of services for seniors in the local area.

Ashley Holloman (right) is shown giving a demonstration on CPR. She expressed how knowing this procedure could save a life while waiting for rescue or medical help to arrive. Photo by Danny Bowman Jr.

The Seaboard Lions Club, one of the 25 participating organizations at the Expo, was on hand with the Mobile Screening Unit for vision and hearing checks. Friendly banter was enjoyed by all as seating was limited resulting in a sort of musical chairs, having to trade seats to move on to the next test. Participants were given recommendations on how quickly they needed to make an appointment to have their vision or hearing checked by a doctor if the tests showed there might be a problem.

On this beautiful, warm fall day, Chester Williams of A Better Chance Community directed people to get and fill a box with their choices of a carton of eggs, grits, corn meal, cabbage, collards, dry beans, and sausage links or hamburger. While some people chose a few things, others chose all items. As people exited the tent, they expressed their appreciation for the bountiful boxes.

Those coming inside the building had the opportunity to register for a backpack bag, a free meal ticket for a box lunch catered by Chick-fil-A, a door prize ticket, and a bingo card to be signed by each exhibitor.

Refreshments were offered and exhibits were opened.

Rev. Edwin Horsely of Roanoke Salem Baptist Church gave the blessing of the day.

Itia Robertson, Assistant County Manager, welcomed everyone, noting there were 53 door prizes donated by various venders, the Aging Expo Committee, diverse groups, and individuals. They consisted of colorful gift bags, boxed items, and gift cards from Walmart. You could hear people everywhere saying, “I want one of those prizes.” She explained that there were two ways of winning a prize. If your ticket number was called you would be a winner. The second way was to have the bingo card paper signed by any of the exhibitors visited. After a person finished getting the signatures, you were to place the bingo card in a designated box at the front of the room.

Lisa Baker of the NC Department of Insurance (SHIIP) spoke on insurance.

Sharon Whitaker, SECU, Assistant Branch Manager, spoke on fraud prevention.

At the Nov. 17 event, The Upper Coastal Plain Area Agency on Aging offered information to senior adults, family caregivers, and individuals with disabilities residing in Northampton County. Photo by Danny Bowman Jr.

Vendors at each exhibit offered a variety of information on their purpose. Candies, bags, pens, pill holders, magnets and other items were given as gifts for visiting their booths.

The Rural Health Group – with Monique Harvey, Valeria Rooks, Semiko Jacobs, and Kenedria Harvey – administered COVID and flu vaccines at their booth.

Donna Ebron and Tiffany Peterson Felder with Role Model Agency said they help people all over the country with insurance and other benefits from ages 0 – 85.

Blood glucose screenings were given by ECU Health North Hospital.

NC Cooperative Extension gave information on managing diabetes. They offered a sample of a refreshing sugar free fruit drink. They offer classes to parents with children and adults on how to manage diabetes.

They also offer EFNEP (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program) for those with limited resources for youth and families with children. The program teaches and encourages healthy eating and physical activity. It also teaches food resource management skills.

They help connect and offer referrals to additional assistance and educational resources within the community.

Ashley Holloman, community paramedic at the NC Department of Health and Human Services booth, gave a demonstration on CPR. She expressed how knowing this procedure could save a life while waiting for rescue or medical help to arrive.

Community paramedics help to bridge the gap between citizens and the healthcare system to provide a better standard of living and better overall health.

A few of the services provided include home/facility visits, EKGs, fall risk assessments, monitoring of oxygen levels, blood pressure, blood glucose, heart rate, etc., disease management for chronic illness (diabetes, CHF, COPD, etc.) and mental health.

Itia Robertson (right), Assistant County Manager, kept things lively as she presented 53 door prizes as part of the Northampton County Office of Aging’s Expo held Nov. 17 at the Cultural and Wellness Center in Jackson. Photo by Danny Bowman Jr.

Legal Aid of NC spoke with people as well as gave information on their services. They offer free legal help with civil (non-criminal) issues to low-income and at-risk North Carolinians.

Jimmy Barmer, a Detective with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office, answered questions and addressed concerns as people stopped by his booth. He gave out locks for handguns and distributed brochures on firearms responsibility in the home. He also gave brochures on firearms and suicide prevention.

Robertson made the door prize give away an eye-opening event. She said, “On most days I am running on only two pistons, and I don’t know when the other two are going to give out.” She called several winning tickets out when someone in the audience hollered “Shake that box up.” With a mighty laugh she shook the box and belted out a tune of “Shake Rattle and Roll.”

After three rounds of singing, Robertson resumed calling out numbers. “Congratulations” could be heard as each prize was won or “I was one number off.”

A game of Right Left was played. Robertson called 10 volunteers to form a circle. Five wrapped presents were distributed among the volunteers. As she read from a story, if she said the words “right or left” you had to pass the gift in that direction.

“If you lose your place just keep it moving people,” she said.

Among much laughter and confusion, as it was a fast-paced game, whoever was left holding the gifts when she called the last direction won the gift.

“If you had fun this year be sure to come back next year as we plan on making it a yearly event,” Robertson said.

She kept everyone in stitches with her antics from the beginning until all 53 prizes went to lucky winners.

Theresa Scott, Director of the Northampton County Office of Aging, and staff provided a much-needed information sharing event for local seniors.

Many who attended remarked on the vast amount of helpful information and contacts they needed for various issues.