Senior Expo addresses variety of issues

Mining Journal sponsors annual event

A large crowd gets ready to hear speakers at Wednesday’s Senior Expo at the Holiday Inn. Topics ranged from health to crime to funeral pre-planning. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

MARQUETTE — The topics again were varied at Wednesday’s well-attended Senior Expo at the Holiday Inn.

The annual event, sponsored by The Mining Journal, featured speakers who were scheduled to talk about the spine and the aging process, food access and diabetes, funeral pre-planning, hospice, fraud, diabetic foot problems, dementia, the aging eye, and maintaining balance and posture.

In fact, Maggi Haupt of Marquette said she attended the Senior Expo because of that variety of programs.

She was especially interested in the spine talk.

“Most of us have had back issues all our life,” Haupt said.

She also expressed a willingness to learn despite her advancing age.

“It’s always good to get new information,” Haupt said. “We’re getting up there.”

Some of that information was provided by Mark Canale, Canale Tonella Funeral Home owner, who talked about funeral pre-planning.

People have fire and auto insurance, he said, “just in case” of those unfortunate events, which, it is hoped, will not happen.

However, he asked the audience members if they had made final funeral arrangements “just in case you might die.”

Only a few raised their hands.

“It’s important to have that insurance, because life can change in an instant,” Canale said.

He has first-hand knowledge of that possible change.

During a recent bicycle trip to Harvey, he fell off his bike.

“In one second, I was on the ground,” Canale said. “Right over the handlebars.”

Fortunately, although he was a “bloody mess,” he acknowledged it could have been a lot worse.

That incident stresses the importance of prior planning — and people writing down their wishes.

“What I’m getting at is that a lot of people don’t want to pre-plan their funeral because they think that they’re sealing their own fate by doing it, or they don’t want to dwell on a bad topic,” Canale said.

However, noted that once they talk with a funeral director in his or her office to talk about important details under less stressful circumstances, they’d be surprised at how easy and light-hearted that meeting can be.

“Those things might not happen for years yet, but that’s the time to get together,” Canale said.

Some people also want to take that planning a step further by pre-funding their funerals so their children don’t have to worry about them, he said.

Canale said people can take care of that issue in several ways, including taking out an insurance policy that covers just funerals or pre-paying the service in advance.

Loved ones also can relieve themselves of post-death paperwork.

“When you’re grieving, you’ve lost the most important person in your life,” Canale said. “You’ve been married for 50, 60, 70 years; you never get over that. That’s bad enough.

“But then you’re besieged with the paperwork that comes when someone passes away. It’s insurmountable, and some people just want to give up.”

However, he said it’s easier for funeral directors to deal with paperwork because they work with that every day.

The other speakers were Dr. Craig Coccia, UP Health System-Marquette, “The Spine and the Aging Process”; Ashley Roberts and Carlee Wasik, clinical coordinators with U.P. Health Plan, “Food Access and Diabetes”; Cynthia Nyquist, a registered nurse with U.P. Home Health & Hospice, “Choosing Hospice: Is It Right For You?; Marquette County Sheriff Greg Zyburt, “Fraud & Current Events“; Dr. Conway McLean, Superior Foot & Ankle Centers, “Diabetes: Preventing Diabetic Foot Problems“; Brian Gaudreau, Brookridge Heights Assisted Living and Memory Care, “Dementia-Living in the Moment“; Dr. John G. Kublin, Eye Associates of Marquette, “The Aging Eye”; and Cathy Ruprecht, physical therapist with UPHS-Rehab Services.

Jim Reevs, publisher of The Mining Journal, addressed the crowd about the Senior Expo before the programs began.

“Every year afterwards, we hear so many good comments that we’ve got to keep doing it, unless we hear otherwise,” Reevs said.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.