The Health and Wellness Senior Expo of November 1st provided seniors of Porter County with an opportunity to learn more about services they can take advantage of locally. Keeping people independent and autonomous is what the Expo’s founder, Triad, is all about.
Porter County Sheriff David Reynolds said, “You need to understand what Triad is and what it did. Triad is the combination and cooperation between the community, law enforcement, and seniors. It’s a perfect match. Our goal is really simple: to improve the quality of life for seniors from a lot of perspectives. There’s a lot of stuff [the Sheriff’s Department] is doing that we’re really proud of but we need your help. We need the input of our seniors.”
Triad Director Cathy Ellis said, “The [Porter County Sheriff's Department’s] involvement is so important in this because we are talking about the safety and wellness of our seniors. They're involved in every aspect of keeping our community safe. Who better is there to partner with?”
This year's expo is raising money to pay for Project Lifesaver, a program that the Sheriff's Department usually covers themselves. They give out free wristbands with GPS tracking functions so members of the community who are prone to getting lost can be found in an emergency.
“The funds are needed,” Ellis said. “Since we've been doing so many speaking events, more people are interested in them, which makes their cost go up.”
Betsy Chinn, Marketing Director for Life Care Center of the Willows explained, "We're trying to promote Porter County Triad in the community. Triad is a state nonprofit. Porter County Triad is the union of law enforcement, community and seniors. We promote health and safety for seniors in the community."
Triad and the Sheriff's Department also sell special light bulbs for front doors and porches, designed so someone in trouble can set to flickering. They let first responders know which house to go to on a dark street.
Services like these are growing more and more common. Each expo booth had something to share with the community.
The United Way Retired Senior Volunteer Program pairs retirees with volunteer opportunities based on their interests, past work experience, and availability.
“It's impactful for them,” Director Michael Glorioso said. “Our seniors want to volunteer, it's just a matter of finding the right place. We take the guesswork out of it.”
Socializing is important at all stages of life. People in Glorioso’s program see an improvement in overall health comparable to the benefits of exercise.
The Silver Sneakers program at the Valparaiso YMCA couples social and physical experiences into one challenging work out. Medicare offers a free membership to qualifying seniors. Instructor Jill Pfister noted that most of the Y’s membership does come from older adults who are “redefining their fitness goals.”
“Exercise is important,” said Pfister, “But you have to know the right way to do it. Going to the Y and taking a class will encourage you to try things you haven't before. It's a great support system: it makes you accountable.”
Kevin Zwiers, with Community Healthcare System and a member of Triad, said, “We have the unique ability to service the part of the population that others shy away from. We attempt to debunk some of the negative stigma associated with us.”
For more information on Porter County Triad, click here.