Seniors get educated at fair

May 20, 2005|by DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

The idea behind the Washington County Commission on Aging's annual Senior Fair is to expose senior citizens to the services and products available to ease the aging process.

"Part of it is, I think, is they want to make senior citizens aware of all the services that are in the county," said Donald Zilch, who volunteers with the commission and helped plan Thursday's 13th annual Senior Fair at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center Antietam Creek. "Just about everything that has to do with senior citizens is represented here."

According to commission information, 84 vendors signed up for booths at the event, among them lawyers, doctors, insurance salesmen, movers, morticians, retirement communities, bankers and a masseuse.


Among the representatives were members of TRIAD of Washington County, a collaborative effort between seniors and members of the Washington County Sheriff's Department that seeks to bring awareness to crime and safety issues involving senior citizens.

Mary Della Toffalo, a senior volunteer with TRIAD, helps oversee the organization's elder-abuse program by training residents to identify and report suspected cases of abuse at retirement and assisted-living communities.

Toffalo, 78, said she hopes that through education and awareness, seniors will be better equipped to defend themselves from both physical and financial abuse.

Louis Taylor, owner of Keyboard World Inc. at Valley Mall, had a display at the fair.

"We teach older Americans, senior citizens, to play the organ for fun and relaxation," Taylor said. "The program is designed to relieve stress, to relax them. It does just all kinds of positive things ... it helps you feel better, it helps you sleep better."

Taylor is regional manager for the Lowrey Magic Organ Course, through which seniors learn to play their favorite songs in groups for therapy and enjoyment.

Nancy Timmons, 60, of Martinsburg, W.Va., one of Taylor's students, took the opportunity to stretch her fingers out on one of two organs Taylor brought.

"I love it. I relax, my nerves are calm," said Timmons, who started playing about a year ago. "It's something I've always wanted to do. I'm 60 years old, and I'm finally doing it."

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