Photos from the Blacksburg AARP-VCOM Health and Wellness Fair
Wednesday, Sept. 19, was one of those days in Blacksburg that could hardly stand any improvement.
A weather front with needed rain had passed through the night before, and the morning of the Blacksburg AARP-VCOM Health and Wellness Fair was clear, cool and perfect for the early arrivers who began trickling in a good half hour before the noon starting time.
The fair is presented every two years through a partnership between the Blacksburg AARP Chapter and the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Inside the VCOM facility, a large foyer was already set up with student greeters, AARP local chapter veterans ready to sign up new members, a formal check -in desk where one could obtain handy canvas bags for all the materials available, and nine major vendors.
Everyone entering was welcomed and eventually directed down a long hall leading to a very large room completely filled with close to 100 exhibitors participating. By opening time, the exhibit hall was already buzzing with activity.
There was a lot to see and do for the approximately 500 folks who attended. Even an exploratory walk through took some time, yielding a long mental list of things to get back to for a more careful look. Participants enjoyed complimentary cups of coffee and colorful and healthy snacks while browsing through the exhibit hall.
Flu shots seemed to be first on the list of many who wanted early protection for the season.
And there was much more. Concerned about your hearing, bone density, blood sugar, blood pressure, skeletal issues, stress or vision? These were just some of the medical issues that fair participants could get at least a beginning reading on during the afternoon.
Need a prosthetic device, a chiropractic adjustment, a wheelchair van, a friendly drug store, a massage therapist, help with sleeping through the night, assisted living or home care, cancer information, medical help if you’re down on your luck, information about town and county social services, or a safer bathroom? Helpful information on all these things was available in one large room.
Young folks in blue shirts were everywhere directing traffic and providing an orientation to the fair. Other young folks —lots of them — were in white medical coats dispensing medical information or providing some of the medical services.
VCOM medical students turned out in force to provide an important backbone of the fair. A count seemed impractical, but there were clearly dozens of them on hand.
For this participant, the most fun was a brief conversation with a number of the students about their aspirations following medical school. The calling for many of them was primary care practice in areas needing more doctors. Others mentioned the possibility of serving internationally, as with the Doctors Without Borders program. I learned later that a portion of the fair proceeds will go to supporting a VCOM student with an interest in gerontology.
Health and wellness can be a transient affair, ebbing and flowing in both good directions and not so good. Whether it’s our own personal situation or that of extended family and friends, there are always new things we can and should do to improve health and well being, react to problems that may be emerging, or simply adapt to the inevitable need for one service or another as we progress in years.
Keeping the AARP-VCOM fair on our agendas every other year will help keep us informed, and no doubt lead to consideration of services in the future that we may not now anticipate.
The next fair may not bring the perfect outside weather we enjoyed on this day, Sept. 19, 2012, but you can be sure the climate inside will be friendly, helpful and informative.
– Submitted by Terry Wildman, AARP chapter member
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