BAY RIDGE — The Brooklyn Eagle, Home Reporter and Brooklyn Spectator hosted a well-attended senior living health and financial expo on Friday, Nov. 1 in the grand ballroom of the Dyker Beach Golf Club, 1030 86th Street.
There was food, fun and freebies for those attending, along with informative exhibit tables by hospitals, realtors, law firms, local businesses, and therapists and senior care specialists.
In all, there were over 25 exhibitors at the expo offering information packets, product demonstrations and all kinds of free promotional items. There were raffles, refreshments and prizes galore.
The keynote speakers were NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island’s Dr. Mark Kindschuh, chairperson of emergency medicine, and Renata Landskind and Terence Ricaforte of Landskind & Ricaforte Law Group. Also speaking at the expo were Chip Walker, supervising pharmacist and G.M. at Columbia Care and Steven Williams, community outreach trainer at Accessible Dispatch.
Kindschuh, a board-certified physician who lives in Bay Ridge, spoke first. He has served as chairperson of the Department of Emergency Medicine at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island since 2016. Kindschuh played a vital role in the transformation of the hospital’s emergency department and oversees its services to the South Brooklyn community.
“Let’s start with the facts,” said Kindschuh. “You can’t really argue with the facts. If you are 65 years or older, you have about a 50 percent chance in a year of ending up in the emergency department. The Baby Boomers have gotten older and we’re still here.” He attributed the majority of visits by senior to such things as falls, taking the wrong medication, poor eyesight and safety issues in the home.
Landskind and Ricaforte oversee a full-service law firm providing estate-planning services to the pre and post-retirement community. They said they were determined to keep their law practice small so that they are able to offer personalized services to their clients that larger law firms can’t provide.
“The biggest concern people have as they age is the cost of aging and the risks that go along with it,” said Ricaforte. “Not a lot of people know about it so these expos are tremendous in spreading the knowledge that people need to understand all their options for themselves and their families. That’s why it’s so important to get the word out. All these vendors here can help all of us as we age,” added Ricaforte.
Walker discussed the benefits of medical marijuana. “Columbia Care is a medical marijuana dispensary,” he explained. “It is a legitimate option for your healthcare. What we do for every patient who comes in is talk to you about your medications and past medical history so that we can understand what’s going on with all the symptoms you’re looking to treat.”
He further explained, “If you have aches and pains and are taking over-the-counter medications, this is another option to replace some of those medications or add to them to help ease your aches and pains.”
Williams was the last to speak. He explained that his company provides wheelchair accessible taxis throughout the five boroughs of New York City. He said that he has worked in the healthcare industry for six years and his goal is to see New York City become a more accessible city.
“Everyone is eligible for this program and you don’t have to apply or enroll,” explained Williams. “These are taxis that are larger than a regular taxi and the great thing about the program is that you pay the same fare as a regular taxi cab. You get more for the money with someone trained to assist you and a larger vehicle for easier access. You don’t have to be in a wheelchair to use the program,” he added.
A number of vendors had participated in earlier expos. “It’s good to be back at the senior fair,” said Louis Peters of United Healthcare – AMP Insurance Brokerage, 7709 Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge. “This is a wonderful program where we can see all the vendors. We represent many, many insurance companies and today we’re thrilled to have the chance to talk to some seniors because this is their insurance election period between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7.”
Michael Devigne, program manager for the Fifth Avenue BID, said that his group was “working on a number of programs to hopefully roll out more senior discounts and make seniors aware of what’s available to them in the BID. We’ll be doing window decals on the businesses and doing a mailing to let them know about all the great stores there and where they can get senior discounts.”
Thomas Ryan, director of marketing at the Menorah Center for Rehabilitation, said that the health expo was an important means of reaching out to the community on a grassroots level and getting the seniors involved.
“It offers us an opportunity to let them know about all the options of health care, what we have and what we can do for them,” said Ryan. “The more education you provide, the more you know, the better services we can give.”
Peter Killen, president of the Bay Ridge branch of AARP, said that the expo was invaluable in helping seniors. “The companies and organizations that are here are here for the seniors as we are at AARP,” said Killen. “The Home Reporter, Brooklyn Spectator and Brooklyn Eagle are essential to get all the news out that’s important to our citizens and definitely our seniors.”
This was the first expo for Kerisha Wynter, supervisor at Humana at Home Senior Bridge Private Pay Services. “We are a private paid home care company that provides all the services you need to take care of your loved ones at home,” she told this paper.
Franco Ullo of Jag-One Physical Therapy was also making his first appearance at the senior expo. “As we get older, there are ways to improve and maintain the quality of life by exercising mobility and we’re here to help that community thrive.”
Stretched Out, a new business that offers therapeutic sports and wellness services at its location at 8121 Third Avenue in Bay Ridge, announced that it was offering free exercise and therapy sessions to veterans and service members for one day. “On Veterans Day, we’re going to close down to our clients and we’re going to serve only the military,” John Brancato told this paper.
Other exhibitors at the expo included Advanced Hearing Center, Ben Bay Realty/HSBC, FDNY, Caption Call, Investors Bank, Island Federal Credit Union, Island Shores, Northfield Bank, Norwegian Christian Home, NY Connects Dept. of Aging, OHEL, Prudential, Senior Bridge, Therapy-in-Motion and Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology.
Russell Craig Targove was the master of ceremonies at the expo and there were also blood pressure screenings and other activities throughout each event.
Guests were exceedingly pleased with the scope of the expo. “I’ve been to these before and I really find them very energizing and informative because all the groups that are here service our community in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights,” said attendee June Johnson.
Veteran Bill Humienny also said it was important to come to an event like this because of the information offered. “You learn about all the different doctors, hospitals and lawyers,” said Humienny. “I’ve come to a couple of these and this is one of the best I’ve been to.”