Finding community resources

Health fair connects seniors with area services, agencies

A senior health fair held at Brookridge Heights Assisted Living and Memory Care May 30 gave attendees an opportunity to learn about a wide variety of community resources for seniors, with many agencies, organizations and businesses gathering under one roof to provide information about their services. (Journal photo by Cecilia Brown)

MARQUETTE — The May 30 senior health fair at Brookridge Heights Assisted Living and Memory Care in Marquette offered attendees an opportunity to learn more about a wide variety of services, agencies and organizations in the community.

Organizers said the goal of the health fair is to get all of the resources in one place for seniors and their families, which can help them find an agency or organization that offers a product or service that is a good fit for them.

“It’s just really a great opportunity for us to get all the senior services together under one roof and have them all here to answer questions for folks and to give out information,” said Jennifer Huetter of Brookridge Heights Assisted Living and Memory Care. “A lot of seniors and their loved ones are looking for those answers and looking for the resources that are in our community, so this is a really great opportunity to get everyone together.”

Janell Larsen of UP Rehab said the health fair is convenient because all the businesses and entities offering seniors services are in one place.

“So there’s everything from memory rehab to stroke rehab, to home health and hospice to medication management,” Larsen said. “They can get their cholesterol checked, their blood pressure checked, all in one day.”

Nora Kessel, administrative assistant at Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress, or UPCAP, stands with UPCAPÕs informational booth at a senior health fair May 30. Kessel said UPCAP offers a wide variety of programs and resources for people across the Upper Peninsula and recommends calling 211 for more information on UPCAP services. (Journal photo by Cecilia Brown)

UP Rehab Services offers rehabilitation programs those suffering from a stroke, cancer, memory loss and many other conditions.

Larsen said the memory rehab services can “help people who have memory concerns and are interested in memory testing” and give patients, families and physicians a better understanding of the extent of a person’s memory impairments.

She said her coworker occupational therapist Rachelle Connon regularly evaluates patients who express memory concerns and performs a number of assessments to determine their level of impairment and needs.

“Her testing is very specialized. She’s one of the few people in the area that is certified to do that,” Larsen said.

For more information on UP Rehab Services, call 906-225-5900 or visit uprehab.com.

Lake Superior Hospice and Life Care provided health fair attendees with information on its services.

Julie Higbie, clinical director of Lake Superior Hospice and Life Care, highlighted the Transitions program, which is designed for individuals who would benefit from regular support and contact with a medical professional.

“Nurses go into the home once a month and then they make a phone call the following weeks of the month so that elderly people can be followed at home closely, communicate with the physicians, and we can assure their family members from afar that we’ve got our eyes on them,” Higbie said.

She said they also offer the Journeys program, which is designed for patients who were once in hospice care but graduated due to improved health circumstances.

The program, which is structured much like Transitions, allows former hospice patients to be monitored by the health care professionals that provided their hospice care and know them well.

“They keep the same primary nurse all the way along, so it’s somebody that they know and trust,” Higbie said.

For more information, visit www.lakesuperiorhospice.org/ or call 906-225-7760.

The Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress, or UPCAP, also had a booth at the fair.

“We provide care management services, we connect them with resources that will keep them feeling good about themselves and restore their dignity or just maintain their dignity, which is No. 1 for UPCAP,” said administrative assistant Nora Kessel.

Kessel said UPCAP offers a wide variety of programs and resources, including wellness and caregiver programs, an aging and disability resource collaborative and a Medicare/Medicaid assistance program.

Kessel recommends dialing 211 for more information or assistance for any of UPCAP’s programs.

The local Alzheimer’s Association chapter was also present at the fair.

“We have support groups, we provide education programs, we have a 24/7 helpline that you can call any time day or night,” said Jake Bilodeau of the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Michigan Chapter Upper Peninsula Office.

He said they also have a social worker on staff in their Marquette office who can help patients and their families plan for the next steps, connect them with resources and find out what they should expect.

For more information on the Alzheimer’s Association, visit www.alz.org/gmc/ or call the local office at 800-272-3900.

Overall, organizers said the event had a “great turnout.”

“It’s a great community and I think the senior community itself is very in tune to that,” Huetter said. “We all want to help seniors and so we’re willing to help each other and refer different services from other organizations so we’re meeting people’s needs.”

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.