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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, December 02, 2015 12:17 am

New twists ahead for city seniors event

Rosa Salter Rodriguez The Journal Gazette

It’s got a new name, a new location and a new sponsor, but the 50+ Life Expo will still have a mix of health and lifestyle information and activities geared to those in or anticipating their senior citizenship.

So say the organizers of an event they expect will attract at least 500 people to Memorial Coliseum on Saturday. 

"The theme is how to be active, and healthy, and to have fun and enjoy life at any age," says Debby Stellwagen, Expo coordinator at Fort Wayne Newspapers, which is sponsoring the Expo for the first time. The Expo is free and open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Deana Croussore, community affairs supervisor for Lutheran Health Network, presenter of the Expo, says the event grew out of previous expos geared to seniors organized by the network’s Senior Circle program and staged at IPFW and the Academy of Sports and Health (also known as ASH) Centre in Fort Wayne.

But this year’s event was planned to expand the appeal.

"You don’t have to be 50 or over to come," she says, adding she expects caregivers, children of elders and grandchildren at the Expo.

One feature expected to be popular is the opportunity to talk to medical experts face-to-face, she says. Board-certified family practice physician Dr. Mahnaz Qazi of St. Joseph Medical Group will be available for questions from 10 a.m. to noon, and Lutheran Health pharmacist Sara Trovinger will take questions about drugs and supplements.

Expo attendees will be able to complete risk assessments for various medical conditions and speak to medical professionals in those fields, Croussore says.

Dr. Rudy Kachmann, neurosurgeon and co-founder of the Kachmann Mind Body Institute in Fort Wayne, will speak on "Reversing Type 2 Diabetes," and Merri Davis of Muskegon, Michigan, will demonstrate her fitness regimen using padded hula hoops during "Hoop Happy Hoop Healthy" sessions.

About 70 vendors, including assisted living communities, health insurance companies, home remodelers and genealogy organizations, have arranged for booths at the event.

And representatives from the Fort4Fitness Senior Challenge marathon program will be signing up participants for the summer-long fitness walking and running program that culminates in a 1-mile walk/run at Parkview Field at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 25. The Senior Challenge is open to anyone 50 and over.  

Limited, free parking spaces at the Coliseum have been arranged for attendees, and Lutheran Health Network will provide shuttle service to the door.

"Our thought is we want to reignite people’s passions," Croussore says. "We want people in this age group, with their experience, to know that we need them ... to continue helping in our society."