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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2019:10:03 12:18:50

STAFF PHOTO/BROOKE WILLIAMS Denise Culver from Northeast Sight Services gives Ida Ferguson a glaucoma screening.

Representatives from different organizations centered around health, wellness and social services recently shared valuable information with area seniors at the Falls Active Adult Center.

Through a health fair on Thursday (Oct. 3), pharmacist Wendy Murphy from Hazle Drugs in Hazelton administered flu and pneumonia shots at the center.

The flu shots, which she encouraged seniors to get annually, were given to those 65 and older with a higher dosage.

As for the pneumonia shot, seniors should receive one dose after turning 65, Murphy said.

However, it’s recommended for individuals with pulmonary or cardiac issues, as well as asthma or diabetes to receive one dose before turning 65 and another dose after.

“It protects them from getting the flu and pneumonia, which is especially important when you’re older because your immune system cannot fight it as well on its own,” Murphy said. “It’s important for the elderly to be vaccinated.”

September and October are the best months for flu shots, as it takes four to six weeks for immunity to build, though shots can still be effective if administered in the late fall to early winter.

So far, Murphy has not received any insight into flu predictions for 2019-20.

“But we always recommend that everyone gets vaccinated,” she said. “Any protection is better than zero protection.”

Also present at the health fair was Northeast Sight Services in Exeter, which offered eye screenings for glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.

In addition to screenings, education and a store filled with helpful tools for vision loss, Northeast Sight also offers social service programs for people who are legally blind or have low vision.

For example, caseworkers can help qualifying individuals with tasks such as reading mail and writing checks.

“Most of the age-related eye diseases except for cataracts, you really don’t know until it’s too late,” said Denise Culver, who specializes in blindness prevention. “As you’re aging, you should be getting your eyes checked.”

While older populations could still experience general vision problems, frequent checks are also vital for prevention of age-related eye diseases.

If left untreated, individuals with these eye diseases could experience visual impairment.

Seniors also spoke with Jessica Budzak from the Children’s Service Center about its variety of services, especially the drug and alcohol program for adolescents and adults.

“I’m mainly here because we have an influx of grandparents raising grandchildren, and grandparents need to know the services that are out there,” Budzak said.

Also relevant to this influx is the CSC’s community and school-based behavioral health services.

“If they are seeing behavioral issues in their grandchildren and don’t know where to turn, we have in-school services and they also can come to the home,” she said. “It’s a lot easier for grandparents to seek services in the school district itself.”

Budzak said coming to a health fair allows the CSC to reach a wider population.

“Unfortunately, we have a drug and alcohol problem, and we have a behavioral health problem. It’s a lot easier to get out our information at health fairs because of the population,” she said. “Anyone can come to the health fair, so we get to expand our services and knowledge of our services with many people.”

Representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Health also made an appearance, providing mental health and diabetes screenings while providing informational materials.

For more information about events at the Falls Active Adult Center, call 570-388-2623.