The Porter County Triad Health Expo was held at St. Paul Catholic Church in Valparaiso on Oct. 4. The expo takes place every year and serves as a way to inform and educate the community on a variety of services that are offered to its senior citizens.
The expo included vendors that offered free flu shots, pre-diabetes screening, and information on various health services such as home health, assisted living, Alzheimer’s, and The Porter County Council of Aging.
Shannon Hough, registered nurse and certified diabetes care and education specialist has been working in the field for 16 years.
“I have taught a lot of people, and the one thing I stress all the time is prevention,” Hough said. “It’s so much easier to prevent than to try and heal or try to reverse diabetes.”
Hough, one of the vendors at the Porter County Triad Health Expo, conducted pre-diabetes screenings. By answering a few simple questions, Hough can tell a client if they are at risk for diabetes and how to prevent it.
“There are certain factors that can put you at a higher risk for diabetes such as age, ethnicity, family history, and of course, height, weight, and activity,” Hough said. “We have a program called ‘Ask the Nurse’ where patients can call us with any questions they might have; Patients might not understand everything their doctor tells them, so they call us, and we explain it in a way that they can better understand.”
Cathy Ellis, President of Triad and marketing liaison for Dunes Hospice, has been with Triad for about 19 years and offered insight on the importance of attending the annual health expo.
“Triad is a group of people who come together that are supported by the Porter County Sheriff’s Department for the safety and well being of our seniors in the community,” Ellis said. “We hold events like this every year to educate the community on our services.”
When the expo first started out, it took place in the Sheriff’s Department. Over the years, more and more people began to attend the expo.
“We have wonderful sponsors that offer their space to us each year,” Ellis said. “This is our main fundraiser; We get funds through the table rentals from the vendors and then we give the money back to the Sheriff’s Department to purchase the Project Lifesavers.”
One of the biggest highlights of the event was the demonstration of Project Lifesaver, a non-profit program that provides seniors as well as children with autism and their loved ones with peace of mind through a tracking bracelet.
“Project Lifesaver goes on the wrist of people who may tend to wander,” Ellis said. “We present ‘Find the Sheriff’ as a part of our senior expo; And since St. Paul’s was so gracious to sponsor us, we are doing ‘Find the Father’ as well.”
The demonstration proceeded when the Project Lifesaver bracelet was equipped to the Sheriff’s wrist and along with Associate Pastor, Father Roque Meraz, the two were given five minutes to exit the facility and find their respective hiding spots.
Detective-Lieutenant, Brian Dziedzinski, used a radio frequency device designed to track the Project Lifesaver bracelet to find the Sheriff, while Officer Diana Djokic and her K-9 partner, Nova, tracked Father Meraz using a handkerchief.
Find the Sheriff was broadcasted on Facebook live for anyone who was unable to attend the event in person.
“This program is made for clients that have disorders that make them prone to wandering,” Detective-Lieutenant Dziedzinski said.
“If there’s a loved one out there that you think they may tend to wander, please give the Sheriff’s Department a call,” Ellis said.
For more information about Project Lifesaver, visit https://projectlifesaver.org/
For more information about the Porter County Sheriff’s Department, visit www.portercountysheriff.com
For more information about The Porter County Triad, visit www.portercountytriad.com
For more information about how Rittenhouse Village at Portage participates and supports this expo, please visit https://www.rittenhousevillages.com/rittenhouse-village-at-portage/