The H. Odell Weeks Activities Center was abuzz Wednesday with hundreds of people attending the fifth annual Aiken Senior Extravaganza.
The popular event, held by the City of Aiken Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, typically draws around 800 people who have an interest in attending seminars covering a variety of health topics and the free health expo. More than 80 vendors, including Primary Care Physician Center, Family Pharmacy, Hitchcock Healthcare, Aiken Regional Medical Centers, The Lydia Project, Georgialina Physical Therapy and Cold Creek Nursery, set up booths in the gymnasium and educated attendees on what services they offer.
Primary Care Physician Center’s presence at the health expo proved to be beneficial, said representative Sandra Barber. A woman who stopped by the booth mentioned she was looking for a doctor, and Barber made a call to the office to schedule an appointment.
“It has been great this year. I even booked a patient by phone,” she said.
Some booths offered flu shots, blood pressure screenings and free massages.
More than 300 participants who pre-registered for the event were able to attend 10 health seminars throughout the day, and enjoyed a luncheon and live entertainment. Pre-registration spots generally fill up within a few short days after the registration period opens, organizers said.
“All of the information is great. They give you such helpful information on health, jobs and medicine. It’s just so educational. That’s what draws me back,” said Betty Drayton.
Drayton took the opportunity during the health expo to sign up as a volunteer with The Lydia Project. The Lydia Project provides free services to women facing cancer. The support includes ongoing correspondence and encouragement, and a tote made by volunteers and filled with encouraging items, according to its website.
Dr. Sanil Lal, a board-certified doctor of internal medicine and gastroenterology, conducted a seminar on gastric problems and answered questions from the audience on liver and kidney cysts, Irritable Bowel Syndrome and probiotics.
Margaret Gibbs, vice president of Mended Hearts Chapter 294, said the booth she helped man had information on cholesterol, blood pressure, medication and risk factors for heart complications. Mended Hearts volunteers visit heart patients at Aiken Regional to provide support.
Frank Coleman got a flu shot during the health expo at the Family Pharmacy booth.
“I know there’s a lot of bugs going around, and I need to get some immunity,” he said.
Marion Marino couldn’t say enough good things about the expo. She visited the booths in between seminars.
“I always think it’s a great way for seniors to get to know the facilities around here” she said. “Lunch is always good, and the entertainment is always good.”