In hopes of quelling this anxiety, the Kingsport Senior House — in conjunction with some local health care providers — hosted its sixth annual Fun Fest Healthy Seniors Fair on Friday, offering free health screenings to area senior citizens.
“Sometimes elders are afraid to go to the doctor because they’re just afraid of what might happen. And sometimes they resist going to the doctor because they don’t want to be put on medicine,” said Dava Snyder, administrator of the Kingsport Senior House. “So what we’ve found is that oftentimes they are much more willing to come out and get the screenings that they need in a lighthearted event such as this one. If we see something that indicates they might be at risk for something, then we can encourage them to follow up with their doctor.”
Snyder said when the Healthy Seniors Fair first began, there were not many Fun Fest events geared for the elderly population.
“We wanted to do something very special for them. And with the many health care problems facing them today, we wanted to do something that offered free services. And fortunately, we had other providers in the area who wanted to come together with us and help,” she said.
Partnering with the Senior House for this year’s fair were Max Medical Specialties Home Medical Equipment, Amedisys Home Health Care, Mobile Images, Wellmont Holston Valley Medical Center and Holston Medical Group.
The free health screenings offered Friday included blood sugar checks, blood pressure checks, cardiac risk evaluations, bone density tests, body fat analyses, and pulse oximetry tests, which measure the amount of oxygen in a person’s blood.
Wanda Hicks of Church Hill and Florence Frazier of Kingsport are cousins who attended the fair. Both women said they were pleased with the results they received.
“We went through all the screenings. Everything was great,” Hicks said. “They did tell me I could have just a few more calories, though.”
And, Hicks said, she was excited because she’d found out she had a pulse oximeter reading of 100 percent.
“The man doing the test told me he didn’t know when he’d seen that,” she said.
Frazier said she would definitely consider coming back to the event again.
“It’s a good thing to keep check on your health with tests like these. They even give you a little pamphlet here so that you can write your numbers down each year and keep track of how you are doing when you do come back,” Frazier said.
The Kingsport Senior House, an assisted-living facility and adult day care center, currently houses 26 residents. Snyder said an expansion plan for 2010 will allow the facility to house up to 52 additional residents. Kingsport Senior House is located at 100 Strickland Court.