by Cori Hilsgen
A free traveling health and screening fair, open to people 50 and older, will stop from 8 a.m. to noon Thursday, April 30 at St. Francis Xavier Church at 308 2nd St. N. in Sartell.
The fair will include free tests for blood pressure, balance, memory, diabetes, hearing, nutrition and more. It will also include free health education about driving, vision, hearing, home design, health-care directives, vaccinations, dental health, mental health, exercise and more.
The fair is a major collaboration between more than 14 organizations working on the Greater St. Cloud Community Priority of Supporting Successful Aging in Place.
The fair first traveled to St. Joseph and Sauk Rapids last September.
St. Cloud Aging Services Director Laura Hood said the group decided initially to focus on health, wellness and fitness of older adults because many adults older than 55 have seven to 10 times higher out-of-pocket health expenses than younger people in their 30s and 40s.
This can be very significant since many older adults live on fixed incomes. Many suffer from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and more.
Having resources to help manage health risks can help adults remain independent longer. Free health education available at the fair can help encourage older adults to maintain their independence in their homes longer to avoid more expensive living arrangements such as assisted living or nursing homes.
Area agencies involved with the health fair include Central Minnesota Council on Aging, Whitney Senior Center, City of St. Cloud and the SCSU College of Health and Human Services, along with expertise and contributions from SPOT Rehab and Home Care, CentraCare, Ridgeview-Tealwood, St. Cloud Metropolitan Transit Commission, Parish Nurse Ministry programs, Benton County Public Health, Catholic Charities and more.