Senior Health Fair

Judy Gainey, volunteer supervisor for the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, talks to people Wednesday during a Food Finders Food Bank Senior Health Fair at the Crawfordsville Community Center.

As temperatures fell last winter, more than 800 families in Montgomery County received help paying energy bills from the Community Action Program of Western Indiana.

The agency signed up more clients for the program Wednesday as part of Food Finders Food Bank’s Senior Health Fair Series at the Crawfordsville Community Center. Aging adults and their caregivers received information from hospitals, insurance assistance programs, non-profits and local businesses. 

Through the winter energy assistance program, income-eligible families receive a one-time benefit to their heating and electric companies to offset higher costs. 

“It’s not to last the whole winter, but it’s just to supplement to help them get through,” said Karen Largent, community services representative.

The event is part of a broader outreach effort to sign up eligible seniors for federal food benefits. Seniors could get screened for eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and received a free bag of food.

About 20 percent of clients at Food Finders’ Lafayette food bank are 60 or older, said Adam Meyer, director of programs. 

Freda Melvin returned to the fair after attending the first event in July. Melvin wanted more information about diabetes classes and picked up information from a representative of Franciscan Health.

“She said they do have classes once in a while,” Melvin said.

As the open enrollment period for Medicare approaches next month, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program was answering questions about benefits packages. The program, which is not affiliated with any insurance company and does not sell insurance, provides free counseling about Medicare coverage, supplemental policies and identity theft.

“We just want to help people make informed decisions,” said Judy Gainey, SHIP volunteer supervisor.

The series wraps up with another fair on Nov. 15.

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