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Retirement Lifestyles Fair is coming to Weston

seniors_benchRetirement — and the changes in lifestyle it may bring — is an issue that is often on the minds of those in mid to later life. The Friends of the Weston Senior Activities Center are presenting a unique opportunity to explore those issues and to learn about local resources that are available.

The first-ever Retirement Lifestyles Fair will take place Saturday, March 23, from 10:30 to 2:30 at Norfield Congregational Church in the parish hall. It is free and open to all members of the public.

“This fair is a unique opportunity for anyone planning retirement for themselves or loved ones, and for those already in retirement, to learn about available community resources and options for their future,” said Nina Daniel, president of the Friends of the Weston Senior Activities Center.

The fair includes more than 20 vendors serving the needs of the older population of southwestern Connecticut, and about a half-dozen informative mini-lectures on such topics as managing finances, exploring living options, and navigating the health care system.

It’s important to note, Ms. Daniel said, that “this is not a health fair. The emphasis is not on medical issues. … The focus is on services that affect the quality of life of those in their mid to later years.”

It is also a great resource for people in the area who are caring for retirement-aged relatives and those with aging parents, Ms. Daniel added.

Informed planning

Informed planning is key to enjoying a safe and comfortable retirement, Ms. Daniel said. To that end, the Friends, with help from Joan Henderson of the Visiting Nurses Association, have vetted and invited exhibitors who will man booths, have information, and answer questions in the main parish hall at Norfield.

The exhibitors were chosen, Ms. Daniel said, because of their ability to answer such questions as:

“Can I afford retirement?”

“Where will I retire — at home or elsewhere — and what are my choices in assisted living or home care?”

“Who will take care of me?”

“How will I pay my medical expenses?”

“How do I get around when I cannot drive?”

“What about my physical safety at home?”

“What help is there locally or from the state?”

“What recreational, volunteer, or social opportunities are there for me in retirement?”

Vendors include:

• Southwestern Connecticut Agency on Aging

• Veterans Affairs

• The Westport Weston Health District

• The Weston Senior Activities Center

• Norwalk Hospital

• The Jewish Home for the Elderly in Fairfield

• Meadow Ridge in Redding

• The Watermark at 3030 Park, Bridgeport

• PALS Built

• Lifetime Learners in Norwalk

• Sterling Care in Greenwich

• The Greens at Cannondale

• The University of Bridgeport Health Services

• Brookdale Place in Wilton

• Comfort Keepers

• ITN Coastal

• RSVP

• Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Fairfield County

• The Westport Weston Family Y

• The Westport/Weston Y’s Men

• Family and Children’s Agency

• Elder House in Wilton.

Ms. Daniel said what is unique about Weston’s Retirement Fair is that people can get answers to questions and information on a wide variety of topics all in one place from a lot of “very high quality” sources.

Throughout the course of the day, there will also be informative mini-lectures from area experts, including:

Rob Weiss of Weston, a vice president at Morgan Stanley: The financial aspects of retirement.

Meadow Ridge in Redding: Exploring living options in retirement.

Nancy Lombard of the South Western Connecticut Agency on Aging: Choices program — exploring the original Medicare and MedAdvantage plans.

Helen Goldenberg of Weston, an occupational therapist with Fairfield County Visiting Nurse and Hospice: Ten “secrets” to independent living at home.

Yvonne Lederer from Sterling Care Agency: How to choose a health care adviser.

State Sen. Toni Boucher, who represents part of Weston: State initiatives and issues affecting seniors.

The Retirement Lifestyles Fair is being co-sponsored by the Friends of the Weston Senior Activities Center, a nonprofit  that supports the mission of Weston’s Senior Center, the Kiwanis Club of Weston, Norfield Congregational Church, and Fairfield County Bank.

A flat-screen TV will be given away as a door prize.

Opportunity

Ms. Daniel said she is excited about the Retirement Fair and how helpful it should be to residents of Weston and the surrounding area.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to give some attention to the senior population,” she said.

“I’ve always liked the saying that a community can best be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens,” Ms. Daniel said. “For me, that’s the young and the old.”

Weston is often cited as a great place to raise children — and it certainly is, Ms. Daniel said — but, she added, it’s more than that. “Our community is also a wonderful place to retire, but people need to know the resources that are out there” to make that a reality, she said.

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