Health & Wellness

Chatham Senior Center Hosts Community Health and Resource Fair


CHATHAM, NJ -- Nearly 40 vendors set up shop in the gym of the Chatham Township Municipal building on Tuesday for the first Health and Resource Fair, which promoted a healthy and active lifestyle for seniors.

The event, organized by the Senior Center of the Chathams and sponsored by TD Bank,  offered free health screenings on bone density, grip strength, body mass index,and blood pressure.

Heather Gerding, Health Coach and Co-Chair for the Chatham Mayor’s Wellness campaign, presented numerous ways for the senior citizens to keep their health in-check.

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“Our main initiative is to empower citizens of the Chathams to make their health and wellness a priority,” Gerding said.

The campaign offers health chats, sessions that teach people how to make better dietary choices and provide new ways to increase their physical activity.

“One strategy we offer is the ‘Know Your Numbers Challenge.' The objective is to encourage people to know their numbers: blood pressure, resting heart rate, weight, stress level and more,” Gerding said. “We also created a mini challenge where people keep a food diary every day for a certain amount of months so they know exactly what and how much food they are consuming on a daily basis.”

Saint Barnabas Outpatient Nutritionist Deanna Schweighardt, R.D. discussed the nutritional value of food with attendees. Her table displayed food containers, which he used to discuss the fat content of artificial and other foods. Schweighardt counsels outpatients on nutritional information such as cardiovascular diseases, weight management, Renal Disease, Diabetes, Gastrointestinal Diseases and food allergies, by appointments at Saint Barnabas Medical Center.

Caring Transitions, a senior moving, downsizing, and estate sales company also participated in Tuesday's event. Vice President Leigh Schaeffer spoke to attendees about the logistics of moving from their houses to senior living facilities. Caring Transitions offers help with packing and unpacking possessions, coordinating with moving professionals, cleaning out homes and assisting in the de-cluttering process, among other special projects.

“One important project we have a role in is handing over prized possessions to seniors' family members first, and then facilitate them in the moving process,” Schaeffer said.

Gail Gannon, Program Director for the Senior Center and Pam Mansfield, Director of Development and Public Relations summarized the goal of the event.

“The purpose of this event is to alert everybody of all the different kinds of resources in the community,” Gannon said. “We are here to inform, help, and show everyone what we have available for them.”

“Some of the vendors here are donors and some are just organizations we feel that are important to have present,” said Mansfield. “The organizations are here to reach out to the seniors and explain their business to them.”

Additional vendors present included Assistant Living Facilities, Home Care agencies, medical supply agencies, police and health departments, physical therapists, financial institutions, and chiropractors.

The Chatham Brass Band played a number of songs throughout the afternoon.

The Senior Center's next fundraiser is the Community Shred on Saturday, October 15, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the United Methodist Church on Main Street in Chatham. Attendees are invited to bring magazines, newspapers, and paperback books to be shredded and the proceeds will go to the Senior Services of the Chathams.

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