Something for everyone
Expo looks at what’s available for those getting older
It may be called the 50-plus Expo but according to organizer Alan Nathanson people of all ages could benefit from the information being given at Saturday’s event held at the Whitney Pier legion.
“It’s not so much for seniors in their 70s and 80s, it’s for the children of these seniors who are 45, 50, 55,” said Nathanson as the crowd attending the event milled around him. “They bring their parents, they’re also getting exposed to what’s down the road so we’re catching two different age groups of people. When you say 50-plus, people recognize they can go to it. We’re capturing a wider number of people coming through the doors.”
This year’s event featured 33 booths that featured everything from candy and stained glass jewelry vendors to funeral homes and recreational agencies. Each table featured the chance to win a prize, including such items as canes and blood pressure monitors. While the prizes might be a draw, it also gives the exhibitor a chance to meet with the public.
“Attendance is good. Exhibitors like to do one-on-ones with the attendees at this event,” said Nathanson.
Andre Gallant of the Cape Breton YMCA said his organization attended the expo to help people get the most out of the rest of their lives.
“Cape Breton really leads the country the wrong way in terms of an aging and unhealthy population,” said Gallant. “It’s really unfortunate. We know that exercise is a curative and a preventative measure for a lot of chronic illnesses, for joint and mobility issues, so we’re encouraging people to get well whether it’s a walk around our track, a swim in the pool or a walk around the neighbourhood — whatever is the most convenient to keep you working towards your best health.”
Colleen Clare of the Cape Breton
Regional Municipality’s recreation department says they have been attending the expo since it opened three years ago. Their mission is to let people know what’s available within the municipality, often at no charge.
“We basically like to come out and let people know what we do at CBRM recreation and it’s not always what people think,” said Clare. “We help with a lot of events but we put on a lot of learn-to programs for free and a lot of special events — seniors socials, Canada Day events, concerts in the park, we promote trails — anything that has to do with physical activity, we’re out there.”
Both Clare and Gallant believe people over the age of 50 are becoming more active but that more needs to be done.
“There’s still a lot of barriers out there but sometimes the barriers are perceived,” said Clare. “As long as we let people know that there’s ways around things, there’s walking groups that they can get involved in, there’s free programs, stuff for Simon Gillis can’t resist a chance to get people interested in his organization, the Whitney Pier Historical Museum. The museum was one of 33 exhibitors taking part in this year’s 50-plus Expo held Saturday at the Whitney Pier legion.
kids, stuff for all ages. People are often not aware that we have so many trails here in the CBRM so just getting that information out is good.”
Sometimes health issues may affect mobility for those over 50 but Gallant says there are other ideas to be explored.
“We have a number of options at the YMCA that are suited for people who maybe haven’t been particularly mobile in recent years so we have low-intensity, low-impact kinds of options — the pool, of course, for people who have weightbearing issues — it supports their body weight so it helps a lot with joints. We’re also doing some things with the health sector so we have a cancer transition program going on right now and at our Membertou branch we have a cardiac rehab group that’s working with the heart and lung clinic.”
Alan Nathanson is all smiles as he watches people take part in this year’s 50-plus Expo held Saturday at the Whitney Pier legion.
Colleen Clare from CBRM recreation was one of 33 exhibitors taking part in this year’s 50-plus Expo held Saturday at the Whitney Pier legion.