Despite fewer vendors and attendees and special COVID-19 protocols, Seniors on the Go Expo organizers were happy they were able to present the 15th edition of the event Wednesday at Carroll County Ag Center after a year’s absence because of COVID-19.
And those in attendance were pleased the event made it back too.
Melanie Imhoff and Elizabeth Kirby of Finksburg have been attending expo together for several years. Imhoff goes for the health screenings.
The expo’s free health screenings included assessments of balance, flexibility, endurance, functionality, blood pressure, bone density and grip strength. Information on advanced directives, stroke awareness, medication management and chronic diseases was also provided.
“I think it’s a pretty neat thing to have those here,” Imhoff said.
Well over 600 guests attended the event. Pre-COVID-19, approximately 2,000 people would usually attend, according to Gina Valentine, bureau chief of the county’s Department of Aging and Disabilities.
Despite lower attendance this year, she said she’s “very pleased with the turnout.”
Hosted by the Carroll County Department of Aging and Disabilities, the event featured 82 vendors, rather than the usual 140. These numbers were limited to allow appropriate space between each booth. Participants were required to wear masks indoors, and hand sanitizer stations were placed throughout the venue.
“It’s awesome we were able to have the expo this year after having to cancel last year,” Commissioner President Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, said at the event. “Even with masks mandated, you can tell there are a lot of smiles under them.”
The commissioner said there are so many county programs for seniors and the expo is one way to show them what is available. Nearly 20% of Carroll’s population are 65 or older, according to recent U.S. Census data.
“This is why I’m a proud Carroll Countian,” Rothstein said. “The community all comes together to provide services for our seniors.”
Other activities at the expo included fitness demonstrations and three informational seminars on medical cannabis, scams and social media tips and COVID-19 information.
The Carroll County Health Department was in attendance, providing COVID-19 vaccinations to those in need of one.
Ed Singer, health officer for the county, said he encourages any resident who is not yet vaccinated to get their shot to help stop the spread of the virus. At Wednesday’s event, the health department was able to provide one second dose of the vaccine and 22 third doses to individuals who are immunocompromised.
Singer pointed out COVID-19 booster shots have not yet been approved on a federal level but the health department “is ready to support the community any way they can.”
Carol and Howard Hose of Manchester said since they weren’t able to go out much during the pandemic, they were excited about attending an in-person event.
Carol mentioned she’s always struggled to find comfortable shoes for her bad feet. But after stopping by the Finksburg Pharmacy booth, a representative was able to refer her to a new shoe company that sells shoes catered to seniors.
“Everyone is very friendly here and willing to help,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to meet people face to face.”