Senior fair

The event offered sandwiches, popcorn, and plenty of hard candy and chocolate.  The doors to the church’s long deck overlooking the woods were flung open, and many seniors chose to bring their food outside to enjoy in the sunshine.

The 28 fair participants came to spread the word about the resources their organizations offer for area seniors.  Groups ranged from medical to legal to financial, and all of them wanted to make sure seniors know they are ready to help.

Mike Montgomery, a volunteer with Hospice of the Piedmont, took some time to talk about what hospice is.  “Hospice helps people at the end of life, but not only that, we help them be comfortable,” he said.  “We help family through social and medical issues that go along with having a loved one at the end of life.  For example, we offer someone to come sit with your loved one so that you can go out and run some errands.”

When a loved one becomes so ill that family can’t provide care at home, Montgomery said, there is a Hospice House in Charlottesville with about eight beds, staffed by paid nursing and social services workers along with volunteers.  “We have group meetings with others who have lost loved ones,” Montgomery continued.  “It’s helpful to be with others who are in the same situation, to help you learn to grieve and realize you’re not the only one.  After the patient has passed hospice is still there for the family.”

Emily Daidone from Jefferson Area Board for Aging (JABA) said that she was at the fair to spread the word about the supportive resources JABA has for seniors.  “It’s not just about waiting till a crisis point to reach out for services, but starting earlier,” she said.  “JABA will support your needs along your entire path, keeping you engaged mentally, emotionally, and physically.  We believe people are aging from the moment they’re born.”

Outside on the deck some seniors took a break from milling around the room and gathered to chat with friends.  “I came to find out what’s going on, what it’s all about, how it can help us,” said Nellie Lewis.  “I found all sorts of interesting stuff, pamphlets I can read when I go home, that tell me where I can go when I need help.”

“I came to see what it’s all about,” agreed Gracie Washington.  “I found a lot of helpful stuff from some very nice organizations.”

TRIAD is a cooperative effort between senior care providers, senior citizens, and law enforcement to help reduce crimes against seniors.  Its name is derived from the three founding organizations that established the program in 1988: the American Association of Retired Persons, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the National Sheriffs’ Association.

In August Fluvanna kicked off its own TRIAD chapter.  The senior fair was its first major event.

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