RENSSELAER — For the second year, the Jasper and Newton County Extension offices have joined to bring information and wellness testing to the Jasper County Fairgrounds for the elderly population of both counties. The senior expo, on Oct. 9, brought a variety of senior living residences, medicine and other agencies together for seniors to browse, gather some freebies and learn about the choices they have as they grow into their golden years, and all of it was free.

Franciscan Health Rensselaer brought nurses offering free screenings in bone density, cholesterol and glucose testing as well as Medicare information. Tim Ventrello, an RN who runs the Heartland Vascular Screening program for Franciscan Health was there to tell seniors about the new testing program and to discuss the hospital’s new 3D mammography machine, making it easier for radiologists to see more clearly what is inside a breast and the ability to find something unusual that may not have been seen by regular mammography.

The machine gauges the person’s body type and adjusts itself to each individual’s body, making it more comfortable for the patient.

The new screening programs offer different heart, lung and vascular screenings for a flat fee without going through insurance or the need to have a doctor’s referral. A heart risk assessment is included in each screening. The screenings are by appointment and the office is open Monday and Thursday, 7 a.m. to noon, but appointments can be made outside of those hours for patients’ convenience.

Ventrello said the screenings are meant for young healthy people to find where they are in their health and to follow up each year as a wellness check rather than waiting for something to happen as they age. “It is preventative medicine,” he said.

Sherri Van Buren discusses information and Medicare options for seniors on Medicare health insurance in Rensselaer, Lafayette and Crawfordsville. She was on-hand Wednesday morning to help any seniors who stopped to talk about their healthcare coverage.

Josephine Mikuly, of DeMotte, said she came to the expo last year and enjoyed the information she received and was happy to return again this year. “I’ve gotten good information,” she said.

The new senior living facility in Rensselaer, Autumn Trace, had representatives available to talk about their facility. It is three/quarters full and they receive inquiries daily regarding availability, Kristi Ritter said.

There was also a table for Parkview Haven in Francesville, the Rensselaer Care Center, Oak Grove Christian Retirement Village in DeMotte and George Ade Memorial Health Care in Brook. Ashland Place Senior Apartments in Goodland was also there to discuss its independent living apartments with the visitors.

Birthright of Rensselaer was there looking for senior volunteers to help answer the phone and do other volunteer work. Brook Library and the Jasper County Library had large print books to give away as well as information on services the libraries have to offer. Both community services from the two counties gave seniors information on the services they offer seniors as well.

Walgreen’s was offering free flu shots and pneumonia shots to the seniors as well.

Although attendance was down from last year, the expo went well, and those who went were glad they did.

Northwest Indiana Community Action promoted a free “Living Healthy” workshop that began on Thursday, Oct. 10 and continues each Thursday through Nov. 14, at 3:30 p.m. at the Community Church in Roselawn. The address is 10498 N 450 E, DeMotte/Roselawn. Seniors will need to register for the program by calling 800-826-7871, ext. 2203.