Forum set for graceful aging

Published 10:04 am Friday, April 25, 2014


Special to The Tidewater News

SUFFOLK—Older residents of Western Tidewater will benefit from a free community event coming up on Saturday, April 26.

The Western Tidewater Healthy Aging Forum will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Health and Human Services building, 135 Hall Ave., Suffolk.

Speakers will discuss themes including Medicare, reinventing retirement and keeping engaged. In addition, Medicare beneficiary assistance and other information for older citizens will be available.

“Our mission is to help people age independently and remain in their communities,” said Debbie Schwartz of Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia. “We want to be presenting programs that support that. The purpose of it is to supply people who are looking towards retirement and growing older to do it in a healthy and positive way.”

The event also will include health screenings and a continental breakfast.

Paul Conco, president of Paul D. Camp Community College, will speak about retirement options that help retirees stay active, such as second careers and volunteerism.

Local celebrities such as Lula Holland, retired from the U.S. Army, and Andy Damiani, the former mayor of Suffolk who’s in his 90s and still active, will talk about keeping engaged in the community.

“It’s about how to keep connected,” Schwartz said. “How do you still have things to do and a reason to get up every morning?”

Rhys Jones, strategic policy lead for government programs with Humana, will talk about what new Medicare beneficiaries need to know.

“We’re bringing in the professionals, and we’re bringing in the peers (of older adults),” Schwartz said.

The Medcare Access program Senior Services frequently conducts around Western Tidewater will also be on scene.

Counselors will be available to give advice and do enrollment.

There is room for only 150 people at the event, so people are asked to register to ensure they can participate.

“If it’s successful, we’ll look for a bigger space next time,” Schwartz said.

To register, visit or call 461-9481.