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Fair serves seniors

Annual Senior Fair draws more than 1,000

Annual Senior Fair draws more than 1,000

May 21, 2004|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

wandaw@herald-mail.com

Dottie Henson said she's been trying to get a representative on the phone to request her new Medicare prescription drug card.

"I tried for days, they just put you on hold and you just give up," said Henson, 77, of Hagerstown, who attended Thursday's 12th annual Senior Fair with the hope of speaking with someone face-to-face about getting her card.

"This business of pushing one button and then another is for the birds," said Henson's friend and fellow Washington County Hospital retiree Ann McElroy, 76.

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The women were among a crowd of more than 1,000 senior citizens from throughout Washington County who drove or took a shuttle to the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center on Dual Highway for this year's event, according to Senior Fair steering committee member John Kenney.

Sponsored by the Washington County Commission on Aging, the Senior Fair offers free health screenings, news and information that keeps seniors coming back year after year.

"Seniors need all the help they can get," said McElroy, who said vendors often offer a variety of discounts helpful to people living on fixed incomes.

Henson and McElroy had to leave before Henson was able to find someone to speak with about her Medicare prescription drug card. But she said she'll be contacting the Washington County Commission on Aging for assistance if Medicare's toll-free line continues to be busy.

Fred Otto, executive director of the Washington County Commission on Aging, said that agency provided shuttle service to and from Hagerstown's Municipal Stadium, where many attendees parked their cars.

Among those on hand for the Senior Fair were Francis Ritchick, 84, and his wife, Virginia Ritchick, 82, who took advantage of a free glaucoma screening.

"The right eye was fine, but the left eye has to be checked out," she said after getting her results.

"Prior to this new technology, 30 percent of senior citizens may have gone undiagnosed," said Deana Platter, office manager with Bergman Eye Associates.

Organizers said attendance at this year's fair was still strong, despite a first-time admission fee of $2 in advance and $3 at the door.

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