Fall is a good time to take stock of our health and learn about services to help us stay on top of our game.
This is particularly important for older adults, who are more likely to develop a chronic condition or complications from influenza and other illnesses as well as other health challenges as they age.
The Senior Health Fair, from 7 to 10 a.m. Friday at Yampa Valley Medical Center, is an opportunity for adults 60 and older to get low-cost blood tests and immunizations and learn about resources to help them manage their health.
The blood draw includes the option for several tests that can detect possible problems:
■ Health profile: $35, includes cholesterol, glucose, electrolytes, iron and liver, kidney and thyroid function
■ Complete blood count: $15
■ Prostate specific antigen: $30, for men only
■ A1C: $25, for managing diabetes).
People planning to have their blood drawn should fast for 12 hours prior to the blood draw and drink plenty of water. Individuals with diabetes should not fast. Light refreshments will be available at the fair.
Nurses with the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association will be offering flu, pneumonia and Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) immunizations.
It is not too early to get a flu vaccine because protection lasts for one year. There is a high-dose version of the flu vaccine developed to encourage better immune response in adults 65 and older. The regular and high-dose flu vaccines will be available at the fair.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults 65 and older receive a pneumococcal or pneumonia vaccine to lower their risk of developing pneumonia, meningitis and other infections. Individuals with chronic conditions as well as smokers and people with asthma also are advised to get the vaccine.
Adults 65 or older should get the pneumonia vaccine if five or more years have passed since their most recent dose, according to CDC recommendations.
In addition to protecting individuals from tetanus and diphtheria (an upper respiratory tract illness) the Tdap vaccine protects against pertussis, or whooping cough.
The pertussis vaccine is recommended for older adults who will be in contact with infants. This is because babies are most vulnerable to pertussis when in their first three months of life, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Medicaid and Medicare Part B will pay for flu and pneumonia vaccines at the Senior Health Fair. The Tdap vaccine is $14. Attendees should bring their Medicare/Medicaid cards and vaccine records.
A nurse with the VNA’s Aging Well program also will provide wellness checks, which include blood pressure, blood glucose check, weight check, medication review and nutrition/weight assessment. The checks are available at no cost to adults 60 and older.
The fair will include information about Medicare counseling, a free service offered through the Routt County Council on Aging, as well as other Council on Aging programs for older adults.
The Independent Life Center will be on hand to educate attendees about adaptive devices, resources and support available for individuals with disabilities. A representative from Northwest Colorado Options for Longterm Care will have information about caregiver support programs.
Education booths also will have information about fraud protection, recreation and wellness programs, chronic disease self-management workshops, and advance directives and living wills.
The Senior Health Fair is a joint effort of YVMC, the VNA and the Routt County Council on Aging.
Attendees may register and pay for the blood draw in advance at www.yvmc.org/healthfair. Walk-ins are welcome. Cash and checks will be accepted for blood draws and immunizations.
Transportation is available to the fair. Call 970-879-0633 to arrange a ride.
Tamera Manzanares is a community outreach specialist for the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association.