- Written by Megan Joyce Megan Joyce
Retirement encourages a reshuffling of priorities — and the freedom to dawdle a bit while accomplishing them.
This seemed to be the mindset of one visitor to the Dauphin County 50plus EXPO, who said it was her third year at the event, held recently at the Hershey Lodge.
“Being retired, I take my time and do what I want to do, and this was on my list of things to do,” she said.
Dauphin County’s baby boomers, seniors, and caregivers joined more than 90 area businesses and organizations at the free, one-day 50plus EXPO, which provided information and resources for the area’s 50+ community.
Co-hosted by OLP Events and the Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging, the EXPO gave guests the chance to speak with exhibitors about products and services in travel, housing, medical services, nutrition, home improvements, finances, healthcare, and more.
Exhibitor Michelle Stehman, marketing/sales representative with Patriot Home Care, said the 50plus EXPO is an ideal forum to reach caregivers or people in need of home care. The company is looking to expand beyond its home base in Philadelphia and has established a Harrisburg location.
“We’ve been there for about a year — so we’re just now trying to branch out now to get the word out about [us],” she said.
Attendees were eligible for door prizes and took advantage of free health screenings for lower back and sciatica pain; grip strength; blood pressure; genetic testing for cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and more; and others.
Longtime visitor Roy Burkholder, of Mechanicsburg, had fond memories of the event.
“My late wife and I always enjoyed coming to the Expo here at Hershey,” Burkholder said.
Although he enjoyed all aspects of the EXPO, he admitted the puppy hugging was a special draw.
Harrisburg Kennel Club’s puppy hugging corner — “staffed” by friendly dogs in a variety of breeds — raised money to benefit the Purple Leash Campaign, which helps pet victims of domestic violence.
Onstage, the EXPO’s ongoing entertainment started with Jerry Mitchell, outreach specialist with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, who brought EXPO guests up to date on the newest scams targeting older adults — including calls from a phone number that appears local.
“Folks, this is a new technique called ‘neighborhood spoofing,’ where a phone call looks like it’s coming from your neighborhood but it’s not,” Mitchell said. “These calls are coming from out of the country, but they’re using call centers here in the U.S.”
Next, Chad Madden, physical therapist and founder of Madden Physical Therapy, demonstrated a therapy technique for rotator cuff problems on an audience volunteer who had been experiencing pain in her neck and shoulder area for more than a year.
After Madden applied pressure combined with a few therapeutic movements, the volunteer demonstrated measurably increased range of motion in her arm and was surprised to notice a pain decrease.
Tiffany Penn, health and mental wellness educator at TrimLine Weight Loss Centers, spoke on the psychology behind emotion-based or stress eating and ways to rewire our minds toward a path of better nutrition.
Penn said that as children, we are conditioned to connect rewards with unhealthy foods, such as receiving an ice cream treat for a good report card.
“We focus on changing your relationship with food, because once you break the tie — your emotions tied to your food — then you’re free,” Penn said.
Graham Hetrick, Dauphin County coroner and star of the Investigation Discovery show The Coroner: I Speak for the Dead, shared with the audience how he wound up in his profession.
Hetrick focused most intently, however, on the troubling reason many Pennsylvanians end up on his autopsy table: the opioid epidemic and prescription-drug dependencies. This will be the topic of a planned television series examining how society treats addicts and addiction.
“Pennsylvania is one of these states where there are more people dying of drugs than in accidents or homicides,” Hetrick said. “It’s a major problem … The way people die tells us how we live and should be living, how we can correct some of these [problems].”
Finally, Chaz “The Entertainer” Matulonis wrapped up the day flexing some of his 29 vocal impressions, such Mohammed Ali and Neil Diamond, as well as performing a musical tribute to singers and comics of the past and the present.
OLP Events’ 50plus EXPOs will return in the fall with events in Lancaster, York, and Carlisle. For more information, call (717) 285-1350 or visit www.50plusExpoPA.com.