On Friday, Oct. 13, Ardenwoods welcomed residents and their families to the annual Wellness and Opportunities fair, connecting individuals with local health vendors and introducing them to the wealth of activities and social groups found in the community.
Held each fall to coincide with flu season, the fair originally served as both a reminder and an opportunity for residents to get their annual vaccines, which are offered at the event through Sona Pharmacy. While flu shots remain a focus of the fair, it has since evolved to include much more, offering residents a comprehensive assortment of information on physical, mental and emotional health services.
“The idea is to bring all these vendors into one place, Ardenwoods’ dining room, and make them available to residents,” said Wellness Director Felicia Kimzey, who coordinated this year’s event in collaboration with Community Life Services Director Kari Schrader. “We had everything from home health services to physical therapy, hospice and palliative care to acupuncture demonstrations. We had on-site dental, on-site hearing assessments and hearing aid cleanings, ear cleanings and gait assessments — and Skyland Fire and Rescue was here talking about fire safety, fall prevention and their home safety assessments.”
Health vendors at this year’s fair included CenterWell Home Health, Sona Pharmacy, Select Rehabilitation, Four Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care, Tailored Home Care, The Hearing Guy, Equilibrium Health, SOS Dental, Clean Eatz, Skyland Fire and Rescue, Buncombe County Council on Aging and Memory Care.
This year, however, the fair also included information about on-campus activities and opportunities: line dancing, book club, Wine Explorers, residents forum, fitness classes and Ardenwoods’ Death Café, a monthly gathering that aims to demystify and destigmatize death while also encouraging members to live their lives to the fullest.
“It’s important to remember that health is holistic,” Kimzey explained. “There’s physical health, but there’s also mental health, social health, intellectual health — it’s a whole-body thing. You might go to fitness classes every day but still neglect your social health or intellectual health. Sometimes we all need a reminder to get that extra support.”
To encourage residents to interact with all vendors, Kimzey handed out a fair “passport” to attendees, explaining that each booth had its own unique stamp to collect. Fair-goers who managed to fill their sheets up with stamps could turn them in for a prize.
“They all really loved it,” Kimzey said. “Most health issues aren’t things you’re going to be generally interested in until it begins to affect you, so we hope that, by putting this information in front of them, they’ll be able to put that in their back pockets for later use. And maybe it won’t be so scary if any of these issues do arise down the line, because they were there, they heard about it and met the people involved.”