Senior Fair offers services, opportunities to serve

Free event displays volunteer programs as well as products and services for seniors.

Bruce Gray talks with Colleen Gartner and Patsy Bartley of Honoring Choices Minnesota about healthcare directives during the free senior health fair Tuesday at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church.

The fellowship hall at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church bustled with visitors Tuesday during the Hubbard County Senior Fair.

A good-sized crowd turned out for the free event to enjoy games, door prizes and lunch while bustling around vendor tables and receiving health and vision screenings provided by the Lions Club and Walmart Vision Center.

On display were a wide range of services and products for seniors, as well as programs offering volunteer opportunities.

“We’re here to discuss and promote the senior homemaking and chore program,” Rhonda Wilson with the MAHUBE-OTWA Detroit Lakes office, “the tax aid program, the energy assistance program, and the retired senior volunteer program.”

Wilson said the event was very well attended.


Steve Schoener with Headwaters Adult Day Services said the program has been growing slowly since it started a year and a half ago, and he was there to get the word out so more people in the community are aware of it.

“We provide a safe, productive place for people to go during the day,” he said. “Some folks are not safe being at home alone. And then, trying to prevent people from being placed in a nursing home, and also just a fun place for people to go that want to get out of the house and socialize.”

“What we do is try to help people get their healthcare directives completed,” said Patsy Bartley with Honoring Choices Minnesota. “Everyone 18 and above should have a healthcare directive that indicates who their healthcare agent is, what their wishes are for ‘do not resuscitate,’ all kinds of other elements. It only goes into effect if someone is not able to speak on their own.”

A healthcare agent is someone identified to speak on a patient’s behalf if they’re not able to, she explained.

According to Bartley, a healthcare directive is like a living will, following criteria set up by the state for legal documents. “The medical community has to honor that,” she said. “It’s really important to have the conversation with your family.”

Bartley said her booth’s staff was keeping track of how many visitors already had advance care planning in place, “and it’s roughly 30 percent.”

Laurel Hed with the Thomason, Swanson and Zahn law office said she works with the geriatric care manager and the elder law attorneys.

“Today, we’re offering a file of life,” Hed said, describing a magnetized folder containing medical information that someone could stick to their refrigerator, in case paramedics are called at their home and they cannot speak for themselves.


“The medical team would go and check the refrigerator,” she said. “If they see that, they’ll grab it, and that will tell them who to call. It gives them the medications, what’s wrong with the person, if they have a heart condition or cancer or whatever, so the first responders can get that information without having to second-guess themselves of what’s going on.”

Hed noted that the file of life is not a healthcare directive, but it can help first responders and patients’ family members say, for instance, “This is mom’s updated list of medications, or when she was last in the hospital.”

Other organizations represented at the senior fair included Summerfield Place senior apartments, Hospice Red River Valley, Hubbard County Senior Nutrition, Coborn’s Pharmacy, Hubbard County Veterans Services, GoldenCare Long-Term Care Insurance, Living at Home of the Park Rapids Area, Volunteer Heartland Lakes, Knute Nelson Crystal Brook, UCare, CHI St. Joseph’s Health and its auxiliary, Accra home care, Heritage Community, Northwestern Bank, Land of the Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging, Humana, Hubbard County Social Services, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, Edgewood May Creek Senior Living, Let’s Go Fishing, Seip Drug, Senior Corps and Diamond Willow Assisted Living.

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at or 218-252-3053.
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