COOKEVILLE – The 2015 Upper Cumberland Senior Expo, held Oct. 22 at the Hyder-Burks Agricultural Pavilion, brought together more than 950 seniors, caregivers and health care professionals – breaking an attendance record for the past several years.
The Upper Cumberland Area Agency on Aging and Disability (AAAD), a division of the Upper Cumberland Development District (UCDD), hosted the event to connect individuals with businesses and organizations in the region. The Senior Expo was truly a regional display, organizers say, from senior centers coordinating participant transportation with the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) to the vendors representing businesses throughout the Upper Cumberland.
“On behalf of AAAD, we would like to thank the vendors, sponsors and volunteers who made the Senior Expo a fun and successful event for those in our region,” Clare Farle
ss, AAAD family caregiver manager, said. “The Senior Expo is an educational event that seniors from all 14 counties look forward to each year. Overall, it’s a way for seniors to gather resources while socializing, mingling, and having fun. It’s like an educational field day.”
This year, vendors were encouraged to participate in the “Get Into the Act” booth decoration contest and involve participants with interactive activities. Awards for the most innovative booth were given to Buckeye and Quality as first place corporate sponsor, Cumberland Regional Development Corporation as runner up corporate sponsor, Lifecare of Sparta as first place silver sponsor and SunCrest Home Health as runner up silver sponsor.
“One goal is to make the expo intergenerational,” Farless said, which is accomplished by increasing the involvement of college students.
This year, AAAD interns Nestor Chavez and Katie Cunningham from Tennessee Tech University’s sociology department acted as co-chairs for the Senior Expo, which provided them the opportunity of organizing an educational community event. Also, TTU’s College of Human Ecology Club assisted with Infinity’s Adult Day Services program that joined the Senior Expo for the day. Clients of Adult Day Services were able to participate in the brain stimulating “Music and You” class.
Plans are already in the works for next year’s event, which is set for Oct. 27. Organizers hope to include more interactive activities for participants, like this year’s classroom activities “Art for Two,” “Music and You” and “Check Your Brain.” They also hope to continue the health-care focused college career fair, which was introduced for the first time this year.