VIDEO: Expo celebrates, informs seniors

Published on Friday, 4 April 2014 09:18 - Written by

BY FAITH HARPER, fharper@tylerpaper.com

A Tyler couple satisfied a sugar craving and went over the pertinent changes to their insurance plan at one stop Thursday afternoon.

Lois and Jim Leihgeber, both 77, joked that they came to the Harvey Convention Center Thursday afternoon to grab some candy.

“We needed to do that to keep up with all the things that are going on ... and then to get candy,” Mrs. Leihgeber said, adding the couple has attended the event in the past. “We came for candy. We didn’t get any pens this year — we are stocked up on pens.”

The couple stayed for a catered lunch at the eighth annual Seniors Celebrating Life event, presented by the senior resource committee with the Tyler Parks and Recreation Department.

“Maybe if I’m real nice, she’ll give me a piece,” Jim Leihgeber joked.

Debbie Isham, special event and recreation manager for the city of Tyler, said the annual event is educational and fun for seniors.

“We say, ‘You’re never too old to learn,’” she said. “At this event we nave 15 breakout sessions, so it could be a hobby, such as our ‘plant surgery and care,’ but then some people may want more information on things, such as Medicaid or Medicare where there have been a lot of changes, or investment fraud and scams — things that are important to the senior.”

There were also 40 vendors with information on continuing education, investments, retirement, medical services, nonprofits and churches.

Nellie Henry, certified benefits coordinator for the Area Agency on Aging of East Texas, said the event helped the organization reach out to hundreds that may not know about its programs.

The agency covers 14 counties and has a variety of programs including, but not limited to, nutrition, home repair, transportation, emergency response, benefits counseling and care coordination.

“We got over 250 names on our sign in sheet, and so we (gave) out a lot of information on lot of resources for the community,” Ms. Henry said.

Ms. Isham said about 500 free meals would be served at the event.

Attendees were entertained by the Tyler Senior Center Line Dancers and Cloggers, gypsy dancers, Patrick Odom and Kornpop the Klown.