Health fair helps connect seniors to resources

Reporter: Amy Oshier
Published: Updated:

The rising cost of healthcare is crippling to many of our area seniors. Keeping up with medical expenses is challenging, especially for people living on a fixed income. On Friday, the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida hosted a health fair to connect low-income seniors with services.

Keeping her health in balance is very important to Diane Diker. “I find it’s important to have balance in my heart, mind and soul and my body, for sure,” Diker said.

She came to the right place. Dozens of medical providers and vendors set up at the health fair to showcase their services. Screenings included hearing tests, blood pressure, balance exams and more, explained Sarah Gualco. She is the program planner for the Area Agency on Aging; the regional chapter covers a seven-county area in Southwest Florida.

“We kind of act as that monitoring body for the state and federal funds. Helping people to navigate the system of Medicare to know about how to enroll, how to coordinate benefits, how to look for cost-saving measures, and then we do the assessments here for those state and federally funded services,” Gualco said.

That is help that Fort Myers resident Mayra Mones has a great need for. “I don’t have any insurance for now, and I’m trying to find any kind of help, because I do have a lot of health issues.”

When money is tight, the need is great. Making events like the health fair timely says Gualco. “We can talk about inflation. We can talk about rising rental costs. All of these things will mean that income for people who are living on a fixed income that’s going to be spread even more thin. So people are in even more need of services.”

Barbara Snyder is 81 years old and facing a host of health problems. “I have spinal stenosis. I have a plate in my neck and screws in my right shoulder, and an artificial hip and both of my knees hurt,” said Snyder.

The fix she is looking for, along with many others like her, is to get access to free or affordable care.

The Area Agency on Aging is celebrating its 45th anniversary. If you would like to register with them to see what type of services you are eligible to receive, you can call their Helpline at 866-413-5337.

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