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55+ Expo organizers hope exhibits attract all ages


Tomorrow's 55+ Expo isn't just for people 55 years and older. The second annual trade show is for anyone who will get old, say organizers and exhibitors.

Eighty exhibitors are expected to display products and services at the BWI Marriott Hotel from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eighteen seminars also will be offered on topics ranging from eyesight to living trusts.

The free event, sponsored by the Anne Arundel Trade Council and the Anne Arundel Department of Aging, drew 1,500 people last year, a strong indication that services for seniors are needed.

"It's certainly a growing market, and certainly many businesses are tapping into it," said Jeanette D. Wessel, executive director of the trade council.

In Anne Arundel County, 79,000 people are over the age of 55, and by the year 2000, there will be 111,000, said Dr. Carol Baker, director of the county Department of Aging.

"With people living longer, it's really important they plan and manage resources -- so they can remain independent as long as possible," Dr. Baker said.

Ginger Cove representatives plan to show people that their older years will be best spent at the waterfront community in Annapolis.

"It's probably the closest to a country club with health care thrown in," said Betty Ann Bunne meyer, Ginger Cove's director of marketing. "This is not where you put mom and dad. This is where mom and dad put themselves."

About 330 seniors live independently in apartments off Gingerville Creek. A 61-bed nursing care unit also is on site. All this comes at a price. Ginger Cove requires at least a $135,000 down payment, which is 90 percent refundable whether a person leaves or dies. There is also a monthly fee starting at $1,395.

For those who don't want to move into a separate community, Almost Family Adult Day Care can help, says the center's executive director, Mark Saperstein.

For $62 a day, the Arnold business will provide door-to-door day-care service. As early as 6:30 a.m., seniors are picked up from their homes.

Once at the center, meals are provided, and activities such as outings to the Naval Academy or a Bowie Bay Sox baseball game are offered. Complete medical services are also available on site. At 6:30 p.m., seniors are taken home.

The expo will also feature the newest products.

The Chesapeake Hearing Center will bring the "Phonak Zoom," a $1,850 Swiss-made hearing aid that operates like a zoom camera. The hearing aid allows the user to amplify sounds with a remote device the size of a pager.

Tim Aland, project director at the Chesapeake Hearing Center in Severna Park, said hearing loss, just like the expo, doesn't just concern seniors.

"Hearing loss doesn't affect people with it," he said. "It's the people around them that are affected."

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