The U.S. Census Bureau report, “An Aging Nation,” shows the population of adults 65 years and older will increase by 85% between the years 2012 and 2040. Americans are not only living longer, they are working longer, too; as these trends continue, the face of aging in America will continue to change, as evidenced by the Baby Boomer generation — who are making it clear they don’t just want to live longer, they want to live better.
Luckily, most recognize the importance of being financially prepared for retirement, and many are embracing the importance of adopting a healthier lifestyle so they can enter their older years with fewer medical problems.
A New Society
According to the 2015 report, “Planning for the Growth of the Older Adult population in Howard County: Building an Age-Friendly Community,” the county will also experience unprecedented growth in its older adult population.
The proportion of residents aged 65 and older will increase from 10% in 2010 to 22% in 2035, a societal transformation which will affect everyone living and working in Howard County. Recognizing that it is never too soon to plan for the future, the Howard County Office of Aging and Independence (OAI) will focus on preparedness, information and education as they relate to all aspects of healthy aging at the 50+EXPO on Friday, Oct. 20.
The 19th annual event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Wilde Lake High School, in Columbia. More than 160 vendors and exhibitors will offer information, resources and services geared to the needs and interests of adults age 50 and older, but also relevant to families, caregivers, and health care providers and professionals.
New for 2017, OAI has partnered with the Howard County Department of Fire & Rescue Services (HCFRS) to present “Fire, Fall and Life Safety for Aging Adults.” Part of the HCFRS Remembering When initiative, the program includes tips on fire and fall prevention, hands-only CPR and bleeding control. Attendees can also sign up for a free home safety visit.
There’s Much More
In addition, AARP Maryland will offer a HomeFit workshop for those who want to safely age in place, and a Driver Safety seminar with tips to stay safe behind the wheel. AARP will also present a special screening of the PBS American Masters documentary, “James Beard: America’s First Foodie,” in the Jim Rouse Theatre (JRT) at 1 p.m. After the screening, attendees can learn how to make quick, healthy meals from a local farm-to-table restaurant.
At 2:30 p.m. in the JRT, the Horizon Foundation will present “Speak(easy) Howard – Have You Had the Conversation?” to stress the importance of talking with loved ones about end-of-life health care wishes. While 90% of people say it is important to talk about these issues, only 27% have done so.
For a truly unique experience at the 50+EXPO, take the Virtual Dementia Tour (VDT). The 15-minute tour is a multi-sensory experience which simulates living with dementia. A series of free seminars will continue the Preparedness, Information and Education theme. Featured topics include the following.
• Avoiding Cyber Crooks and Other Scammers: Learn the latest tips and information to prevent being a victim of a scam from Rebecca Bowman, administrator, Howard County Office of Consumer Protection.
• Relationships in Grandparenting: Learn about modern day grandparenting to make your experience a positive one; presented by Marva Dickerson, retired child health supervisor, Howard County Health Department; and Valerie Harvey, adolescent resource specialist/Grandparents as Parents, Howard County Office of Children and Families.
• Managing Caregiver Stress: Caregiving and making decisions for your loved one can lead to stress. Explore self-care techniques and communication skills to manage stress before it manages you; presented by Kathy Wehr, caregiver support program manager, Howard County Office on Aging & Independence.
• Future Planning 101: Discuss the importance of talking with family members and caregivers about personal health, legal and financial matters and end-of-life decisions. Learn where to find information and resources for long-term care, including aging in place and supportive services, and housing options; presented by Jill Kamenetz and Emily Leclercq, resource specialists, Howard County Office on Aging and Independence.
• AARP Driver Safety Resources: Explore AARP educational programs, including the Driver Safety Course, CarFit and We Need to Talk; presented by Rose Hobson, Maryland State Coordinator-Driver Safety, AARP.
Flu vaccines are available at no charge at the 50+EXPO, and free health screenings are offered at the onsite Health Fair. Howard County General Hospital and other local health practitioners will screen for blood pressure, breast health, cholesterol, emotional wellness, glaucoma, glucose, hearing, height/weight/BMI, oral health, pulmonary function, pulse oximetry and Vitamin D levels. Balance screenings and podiatry screenings will also be offered.
New for 2017, take part in the roundtable discussions in the 50+ Café to share your thoughts on life in Howard County. And, don’t miss the politically-incorrect antics of the Capitol Steps, who return to the stage at the JRT for one show at 11 a.m., sponsored by the Horizon Foundation. Capitol Steps tickets are available beginning at 9 a.m., while quantities last (a $5 donation is requested per ticket.)
Admission to the 50+EXPO is $1; all admission and Capitol Steps proceeds benefit the Vivian Reid Community Fund, which provides emergency assistance to older adults and adults with disabilities in Howard County. Event parking is at The Mall in Columbia, lower level, near Sears (a courtesy shuttle runs all day between the mall and the EXPO); only limited accessible parking is available at Wilde Lake High School.
The 50+EXPO is made possible, in part, through the support of sponsors, including The Business Monthly. A full schedule of event highlights, seminar descriptions, sponsors and exhibitors is available at www.howardcountymd.gov/50plusexpo.
For more information, check Facebook at www.Facebook.com/HoCoCommunity and #HoCoEXPO17 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To request a sign language interpreter or other accommodations to participate, call 410-313-6410 (voice/relay) one week in advance.