Brooklynites explore at annual health expo

Hundreds of senior citizens and medical professionals came together in the Dyker Beach Golf Club Grand Ballroom on Friday, November 14 for the Senior Health and Financial Fitness Expo, hosted by the Home Reporter and Brooklyn Spectator.

Attendees were treated to educational materials applicable to everyday life throughout the two-hour meet-and-greet, which featured over 20 booths providing insight on issues affecting the senior community (such as health plans, cardiovascular diagnoses, living trusts and legal wills, and more).

“Whatever information you would need here is at your fingertips,” said Brooklyn-native Patricia Killen, echoing the sentiments of others exploring the Grand Ballroom.

Those attendees had a ton to explore.

With access to HMOs becoming ever-more restrictive, and Medicare being limited to those over 65, many seniors in attendance, such as Inci Kutcher of Bensonhurst, have non-senior family members and loved ones trying to navigate the U.S. healthcare system without insurance.

“So far the event has been very helpful,” Kutcher said. “I want to hear more about health insurance issues. My brother is 64 and his health insurance is coming up again, and I want to help him find a plan.”

Kutcher was not alone in her concerns about health care coverage. Brooklyn native Peter Orlando shared his concerns about rising HMO costs.

“I think a lot of people here are on Medicare A and B and are looking for some kind of help,” Orlando said. “Prices of HMOs have gone higher and higher, and that’s continued to be a big issue…this is why I’m hoping to get educated here at this event.”

Nonetheless, those on hand to inform explained that affordable local help exists for elder members of the community. Amy Loewenberg, director of Lutheran Family Health Centers Services for Older Adults, welcomed the opportunity to educate expo guests on free health services provided in Brooklyn.

“This kind of event benefits us because we want to let people know of the many services we have to offer,” said Loewenberg. “We have three senior housing centers, a social day program and a transportation van service that brings seniors to the shopping center on 86th Street as well as Lutheran Medical Center, the post office and a whole list of churches on Sundays.”

Additionally, members of the Brooklyn medical community were out in full force to prove their commitment to residents. The Family Health Care & Cardiac Center’s booth provided blood pressure screenings all morning (a service also provided at its Sunset Park office), and the newly opened Bensonhurst Immediate Care Center delivered insight on its medical services.

“We’re there to serve the community when they can’t get an appointment with their primary care doctor and they don’t want to wait hours in an emergency room,” said Immediate Care Director of Marketing Rey Bolic. “We treat everything from something as minor as a cut to something as extreme as a broken bone, all with no appointment necessary. We’re open 12 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Other exhibitors included AARP, ABBVIE, AdvantageCare Physicians, Advanced Cardiovascular Diagnostics, Affinity Health Plans, AgeWell New York, AXA Advisors, Center Plans for Healthy Living, Cruise Planners, Fort Funding Corp., Hospice of New York, North Shore LIJ Connects, NYS Department of Public Service, Quality Healthcare, Ramps for Better Living, Ronald Fatoullah & Associates, State Comptroller’s Office, TEBA Pharmacy, Wellcare Health Plans and Verizon.

Entertainment was provided by Russell Craig. Sponsors included Immediate Care, AdvantageCare Physicians, AgeWell New York, Aetna, Family Health & Cardiac Center and Ronald Fatoullah & Associates.

The event capped off with speakers from leaders among the medical and legal fields, with subjects ranging from topics such as urgent care innovation, heart and peripheral vascular disease, to long term financial planning.

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