Wellness fair promotes healthier lifestyles for Monroe seniors

Carmen Weber, a registered dietician and nutritionist, led wellness fair participants in a game of Nutrition Jeopardy.

MONROE, CT — Senior citizens attending a Heath and Wellness Fair at the Monroe Senior Center Wednesday had flu shots, COVID-19 boosters and blood pressure screenings, and heard tips about diet and nutrition, disaster preparedness, avoiding fraud and the proper way to dispose of medications.

The event, featuring booths with health experts, was organized by the Monroe Health Department and the Monroe Senior Center.

Laurene Gomez, MS, LMFT, a psychotherapist, gives a presentation at the Health and Wellness Fair at the Monroe Senior Center Wednesday, as Anne Crawford, RN, looks on.

Laurene Gomez, MS, LMFT, a psychotherapist, and Anne Crawford, R.N., from the Department of Mental Health, and Addiction Services, presented a program on mental health and sleep issues.

“Depression is not a normal part of aging,” Gomez said, adding that avoiding isolation and loneliness can help to overcome it.

Sleep is important, according to Crawford.

“A white noise machine, the calm app and journaling before bed can all lead to a better night’s sleep,” she said.

Among the other representatives who participated, TRIAD, a national community policing initiative, in which law enforcement, older adults and community groups partner to educate and protect seniors from being victimized by fraud, had a drug disposal where fair goers could bring expired or unwanted medications for proper disposal.

The Monroe Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) distributed literature about emergencies, a personal disaster preparedness guide, first aid kits, packets of tissues and Band-Aid® packs.

CW Solutions LLC, which sponsors a senior nutrition program through Meals on Wheels, congregate meals and senior dine, provided entertainment with “Nutrition Jeopardy” hosted by registered dietician nutritionist, Carmen Weber.

Joyce Burr, a volunteer on the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), gave tips on how to be prepared for disasters.

Weber gave a presentation,” Getting to Know Your Carbs” which included a nutrition facts label scavenger hunt and a simple food demonstration with sample tasting.

The Southwestern Connecticut Agency on Aging provided information on Medicare and its variety of programs.

Kathy O’Connor, RN, spoke on medication management. There was a vital sign screening-pulse and blood pressure and, in celebration of Audiology Awareness Month, an audiologist was available at the event.

Flu shots were administered, as well as Moderna COVID Boosters.

Sue Westerburg, RN, a public health nurse from the Monroe Board of Health, and Community and Social Services Director Kim Cassia, both said they considered the Health and Wellness Fair to be a success.

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