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Health care education and fun will collide later this month when the 32nd annual Senior Living Festival commences.

Set to run from 8 a.m.-noon Sept. 24 at the Ramada Hotel and River's Edge Convention Center, 265 33rd Ave. in Columbus, the Senior Living Festival will provide free health screenings, as well as feature informational booths and speakers who will give presentations on the latest in health care procedures, aimed at people ages 65 and up. It is being put on by Columbus Community Hospital in conjunction with The Columbus Telegram and Alpha Media.

Columbus Community Hospital (CCH) will be offering free bone mineral density screenings and blood pressure screenings conducted by CCH’s Occupational Health Services. Flu shots will be offered for $21 and Pneumonia vaccinations for $120 (Pneumovax 23) or $179 (Prevnar 13). Both must be paid by either cash or check.

The event’s featured guest speakers will be Dr. Shawn Brandenburg and Dr. Venkata Kolli, who will speak at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., respectively.

Dr. Brandenburg, an orthopedic surgeon with Columbus Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Clinic, will give a presentation called “Total Joints.” He said his goal is “to make the Columbus community and surrounding communities more aware of what to expect when it comes to total joint replacement.” Dr. Brandenburg said those the festival is gear toward are of the age when one considers such a surgery, so the topic makes sense for the event. He said his hope is to clear up any misconceptions people may have about total joint surgery and explain how it can improve one’s quality of life.

“As they’re aging, this just gives them an option and hope so they can get back to what they enjoy in life - to stay active,” Dr. Brandenburg said.

The presentation will also give residents a chance to hear more about the Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery System, which Dr. Brandenburg said aids surgeons in being more precise with cuts and placement of parts. That will, in return, make post-op life easier on the patients. He called it an extra toolset for surgeons.

Dr. Kolli’s presentation, “Memories, Memories,” will follow. Dr. Kolli, a psychiatrist with Columbus Psychiatry Clinic, said his presentation will highlight a variety of topics important for seniors to know.

“What sort of mental health problems are common as people get older? More importantly, what are the emotional issues that can impact one’s life during this time in their lives? Memory problems – what can be done? This will be something that is useful to the audience. Transitions in life are often difficult to manage and this is going to be one of the biggest transitions people are going to make,” said Dr. Kolli.

Besides the speakers, CCH will have a diabetes educator on site to answer questions about blood glucose, monitoring, nutrition, exercise, medication, risk education and have information on Diabetes Awareness Day scheduled for Oct. 8. Additionally, CCH’s Rehabilitative Services team members will be on hand to talk about several programs, including Aquatic Therapy, Speech Therapy, Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s, Thrive Cancer Rehabilitation Care, Support Groups, Hand Therapy and the October CarFit event.

The Senior Festival doesn’t stop there, though. The Columbus Community Center will once again be hosting Bingo sessions after the success of it last year. Bingo is a game of chance in which each player matches numbers printed in different arrangements on small cards with the numbers the game caller draws at random, marking the selected numbers with tiles. When a player finds the selected numbers are arranged on their card in a row, they call out "Bingo!" to alert all participants to a winning card, which prompts the game host to examine the card for verification of the win. Players compete against one another to be the first to have a winning arrangement for the prize or jackpot.

“Seniors always love their Bingo,” CCC Director Cindy Branting said during 2018’s Senior Living Festival as she greeted guests.

Kelly Muchmore, The Telegram’s advertising team leader, said the goal of the festival is to cater to seniors and their loved ones. With about two-dozen vendors ranging from local shops and volunteer opportunities to senior residences on hand, people will be able to get informed about a variety of subjects for themselves or their loved ones and not leave empty-handed.

“At the very least, you walk away with some goodies and some good information,” she said. “And it’s free. Just come on out and have a good time."

Matt Lindberg is the managing editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at matt.lindberg@lee.net.

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