Scores of Services for Older Adults Showcased at Troy Senior Expo
(Cheryl Weiss, April 1, 2019)
Troy, MI- If you are a senior citizen, or have a senior citizen in your life, it can be overwhelming to navigate the organizations, service providers, and businesses that are available to provide support in Oakland County. The Troy Senior Expo, held on March 19, 2019 at the Troy Community Center, was an event designed to make that easier. Elaine Turbinen, Recreation Supervisor for the City of Troy, first organized this event in 2005 as a way to share information about products and services for seniors. It was a free event, open to the public. Lunch was offered in the Community Center Dining Room for a suggested donation of $3.50 for seniors and $6 for guests under age 60. According to Turbinen, this year’s Senior Expo was the biggest one yet. Hundreds of guests attended the event and visited the 75 vendors spread out over four rooms and a hallway.
Vendors ran the gamut from the Area Agency on Aging, the Troy farmers Market, law firms, health systems, chiropractic offices, services for people with vision or hearing difficulties, physical therapy centers, transportation services, senior living communities, and more. Most vendors also offered raffle prizes, such as gift cards for local restaurants, gift cards for Barnes & Noble, and gift baskets. Some vendors offered health screenings. There was something for everyone to enjoy.
One of the vendors was Oakland Meals on Wheels, an organization that delivers a hot meal during the week to people in many Oakland County communities who are over age 60, home-bound, and do not drive. If you know someone who meets those qualifications, and they are struggling to cook meals or eat healthy balanced meals, contact Kim Stevens at 248-689-0001 for more information.
Bright Star Care offers RN- supervised home care. Bright Star Care is different from most medical staffing companies, according to Owner and President Jinan Abbas. It is a woman-owned franchise based in Troy, MI. All employees go through extensive screening, an intense interview process, and full orientation. They are bonded, and there is nurse oversight daily. Abbas takes her responsibility as owner of the company seriously and expects the highest level of professionalism from her staff. She uses a GPS system to clock staff members in and out; she knows where they are, and ensures they are spending enough time with each client. In addition, clients have her personal phone number so they can contact her if they have any questions or concerns about their home care worker. “Patient safety is number one!” Abbas said.
A company that attracted quite a bit of attention was Clear Captions. They provide free captioning of phone calls for people with hearing loss under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) . This is a national program, funded by phone companies. Clients of Clear Captions must have hearing loss, a land line telephone, and high-speed internet. There is no other cost. Clear Captions provides the caller’s words displayed in large font on a large color screen. Clients are also given an amplified headset and speakerphone, along with an internal answering machine, phone book, and call log programmed in the device. The way it works, is captions may use a live operator to generate captions of what the other party calling says, and quickly captions the conversation. Then, the conversation is sent to your phone. An app for cell phones is coming soon. Contact Pam Howe at 810-287-4759 or check out their website at www.clearcaptions.com
Loving Touch Transportation provides non-emergency transportation for those in wheelchairs and walkers. They will pick seniors up at their home and take them anywhere they want to go. Want to go to the casino for a while? They’ll take you. Want to go to a concert at LCA? They will take you. Need a ride to dialysis or to your doctor appointment? They will take you there too. This is not a free service; the minimum fee each way is $30 plus $3 per mile, but it is an option for those who need or want to get out and must use a wheelchair. You can find out more by calling 1-855-312-2005 or check out their website at www.lovingtouchtransportation.com
Have you heard of The Village of Oakland Woods, a senior living community in Pontiac located at Opdyke and South Boulevard? According to Sue Carney, the Service Coordinator, and Jon Hayes, the Wellness Coordinator, they offer 1-2-bedroom apartments as well as larger cottages in an active, safe, welcoming community with numerous activities for everyone to enjoy. It is a safe place to live; everyone gets a LifeCall device to wear in case they fall and need assistance. They have security staff who patrol around the community at night, and Oakland County Sheriffs stop by to speak to residents on topics of interest on a regular basis. It is an affordable place to live; residents pay 30% of their gross income for apartments; it is standardized housing. It is also a fun place to live; they have many events, such as fitness classes, trips, activities, a mobile dentist, March Madness party, St. Patrick’s Day party, and much more. In many ways, they have created a community of friends.
“They keep us hopping!” laughed Chris Milz, a resident of the Village of Oakland Woods. A group of residents from the senior community came to the Troy Senior Expo to check out the displays, participate in the activities, and enjoy lunch. What did they like best? “There are services I didn’t realize were available for seniors!” said Gail Holmes. “It was fabulous! There was a lot to see,” said Milz. Another member of the group, Johnetta who goes by the nickname of “J” enjoyed personally experiencing some of the activities available at the expo. “The chair massage felt good! I am able to walk better now. It felt so good!” she said. Gertie Rankin liked everything. “It was nice. I never knew this was here! I enjoyed it,” she said. The group agreed that the lunch was enjoyable as well, and the food was delicious. As they all live in the same senior living community, they are also friends who enjoy spending time together, laughing easily and happily posing for a group photo.
Barbara McKigney of Royal Oak also enjoyed the Troy Senior Expo. An 85-year-old widow with a twinkle in her eye and a nickname to match that sparkle in her personality, she fully enjoyed everything the expo had to offer, and stayed until it was over. “I enjoyed it,” she said. “There are different things about problems you might have, and you can look into them here. I asked a lot of questions, and I got a lot of information.” McKigney’s nickname is “Trouble,” going back many years when she perennially found herself in situations that caused her trouble, or at least, a little local fame. And she loves it! Not one to stay quiet and shy away from attention, McKigney is full of life and mischief, making those she meets smile and feel uplifted. She has a way of attracting attention in a quiet way, sharing with laughter a story of how a simple visit to a zoo once when she was traveling ended with her on television in another state, talking about what she had seen at the zoo. She didn’t intend to be on television….it just happened. Today, she was on her way out of the expo, wearing a bright red hat, a dark coat, using a walker for support, and carrying a tote bag full of goodies and information. She had seen all the vendors, talked to many people, eaten lunch, and enjoyed a chair massage when she agreed to be interviewed for this story. She wasn’t expecting to be interviewed for an online new source…but it happened. McKigney stays active, is a positive person, and treasures the memories of her past while creating new memories each day, continuing to learn, and finding herself in unexpected situations along the way. As much as she enjoyed the expo, she spread a little sunshine, and delight in being a bit mischievous at times, to those she encountered. And that was the added bonus of the Troy Senior Expo. Much information was shared, much information was received, and many people connected through simple conversations walking from booth to booth.