By Sherrie Norris
May is Older Americans Month and the perfect time for local seniors to not only be recognized, but to become more familiar with organizations and services available to them in their communities.
A great opportunity for seniors in the High Country to do just that, as well as to meet and greet their peers and advocates, will be at the 17th Annual Adult Services Expo at Boone Mall on Friday, May 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free and open to the public, the event attracts hundreds of individuals and dozens of agency/organization representatives each year.
Hosted annually by the Adult Services Coalition of Watauga County — which includes a number of local agencies such as Area Agency on Aging, Watauga County Department of Social Services and Project on Aging — the purpose of the expo is to increase awareness about available services by showcasing agencies that provide the services. It also helps to identify needed, but currently unavailable services, and provides networking opportunities among agencies and citizens in the community.
Always a highlight of the event, the Celebration of Living Awards will be presented at noon and will honor outstanding individuals in the following categories: Facility Resident of the Year, Centenarian of the Year, Caregiver of the Year, Individual with Disability of the Year and the Hearn Volunteer of the Year (adapted to honor the memory of recently deceased Dick Hearn, longtime volunteer, community activist and great supporter of the coalition and expo).
According to Billie Lister, Director of the Lois E. Harrill Senior Center and current coalition chairperson, a variety of vendors will have booths set up throughout the mall and will provide valuable information, along with knowledgeable representatives to answer any questions one may have regarding the area’s senior population and available resources.
Door prizes will be given out at 2 p.m., and will include nice items, with the grand prize of a flat screen TV, donated by Infinite Beginnings.
New this year will be free assistance — provided by Medi Home Hospice — for individuals wishing to complete advance directives (living wills and healthcare powers of attorney) .
The Adult Services Coalition founded the Adult Services Expo in 2002. Funds raised through the expo (registration and sponsorships) go back into the community through small grants to help with programs benefiting the elderly and disabled population, said Lister.
In the past, grants have also been used to fund new programs and projects in the community, such as Project Lifesaver and the Elderly and Disabled Adult Abuse Prevention Team.
Sponsors/levels for the expo (to date) include the following:
Diamond: Appalachian Home Care, LLC,Deerfield Ridge Assisted Living, Medi Home Health and Hospice.
For more information, contact Billie Lister at (828) 265-8090.