OTTUMWA — On Thursday, senior citizens didn’t have to drive all over town to get information on health and lifestyle opportunities. They just had to go to the fourth annual Senior Lifestyles Expo to get the information.
Getting the event organized was no easy task for Tyler Goodell and other members of the Ottumwa Courier advertising department. They have planned this expo since the beginning of summer, reaching out to different businesses and sister papers like Centerville and Oskaloosa asking if they would like to participate.
Goodell was pleased with the outcome. “We have a lot of attendees,” Goodell said. “It’s great exposure for all these businesses, and it gives them a chance to have some one on one interaction with all these people attending, while at the same time being helpful and informative to the attendees.”
Many businesses like Good Samaritan Hospice, Active Ottumwa and River Hills Community Health Center reached out. Goodell said without the different organizations, there would be no expo.
Virgina Hindsley said this was her third or fourth year of coming back. She enjoyed the goodies, but as Goodell said before, also enjoyed the information she received on different services.
Hindsley said seniors benefit from learning about the services, and people who volunteer can benefit, too.
“If people are able to, it’s good they volunteer at services where they are needed,” she said.
Judy Schweitzer said she came last year and wanted to come again. She volunteered at last year’s expo but wanted to come as an attendee this year.
“I enjoyed everything about the expo,” Schweitzer said. “I just enjoy seeing people that I know and seeing what there is to offer here in this area. More people should come back because it’s a beautiful day and it’s fun.”
Alan Paris from Good Samaritan Society-Hospice said he chose to come back for the third year because like many other businesses, he enjoyed giving information to the attendees and the exposure.
“I really appreciate this is something that definitely helps the community and senior citizens,” Paris said. “We’re to help the community for the community in whatever needs they have at the end stages of life. We’re just there to make them comfortable, pain-free and their last years of life are enjoyable. It’s not the end, but living the best life you can at the end.”
Comfort Keepers Office Manager Dawn Garrett came back for the fourth year with the hope of letting attendees know about Comfort Keepers. Like other businesses and attendees, Garrett enjoyed the community and the reactions from different people.
“I always enjoy talking to people and helping them with any questions they have discussing our services,” Garrett said. “We get a lot of compliments from people saying its a good system to have in Ottumwa.”
Like Garrett, Active Ottumwa Field Coordinator Sandy Berto came back for the fourth year. Berto came so she could encourage more attendees to exercise and for the community.
“I think being able to make that personal connection with your business is huge,” Berto said. “I had a mentor once tell me ‘People don’t care what you know until they know you care,’ and I think face-to-face events help people know that you believe in what you’re doing.”