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SeniorFest provides shots, screenings and more

Sep. 30, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- A year ago, Joyce Martin of Proctorville, Ohio, was a patient with two broken ankles at Cabell Huntington Hospital's inaugural SeniorFest.

This year, she was walking around without the aid of a wheelchair or a walker. "I got my flu shot, and I want to hear what Dr. (Franklin D.) Shuler has to say. He was my doctor, and he's great."

Martin was among more than 1,000 people to attend SeniorFest 2012 on Saturday. They came for the free lunch, free flu shots and free health screenings being offered at the hospital. Shuler, director of orthopedic research at the hospital, was among a number of health professionals giving free health screenings Saturday.

"We had 600 people here last year and could double that this year," said Joy Pelfrey, director of senior services at Cabell Huntington Hospital. "We had over 1,000 people pre-register. We're offering a variety of free screenings for those 50 and older. We want them to build healthy habits. It's not too late to start. People are living longer. We want them to live healthier longer," she said.

"We have a whole department committed to seniors. This is a community outreach program. We have about 1,000 free flu shots available. It's a fabulous turnout," Pelfrey said.

"I came here last year," said Pat Adkins of Franklin Furnace, Ohio. "It's absolutely helpful. I'm going to get my flu shot and check my blood sugar. We have a family history of diabetes. This is a good checkup between my doctor visits."

Her friend, Vicki Hill of Wayne, was attending the SeniorFest for the first time. "My aunt told me about it," she said. "This is great ... absolutely wonderful."

Phil Simpson, an occupational therapist with the hospital's rehabilitation services, was giving balance checks as part of the free health screenings. "We're trying to identify people with a risk for falling," he said. "For a senior, falls can be devastating. There are a lot of exercises we can do. Bone density worsens as we get older."

"This is a good thing they're doing," said Bishop Medcalf, a South Point, Ohio, resident. "My wife told me about it. She volunteers here. I got my blood pressure checked. It was 128/80. I'm happy with that."