PEPPERELL -- This is one healthy free-for-all.
The Pepperell Senior Center's annual health fair was held in June for many local residents who came out to take advantage of free services offered by local and semi-local medical organizations.
It could be best described as sprawling- taking up not only the entire function areas, but spilling out into the center's meeting room and administration offices.
Even the lounge area was occupied. Nashoba Valley Medical Center's Rehab Department had set up in there because they need a TV.
Using a Nintendo Wii gaming system, physical therapist Lindsay Pillsbury was booked full for 'Wii-hab,' a video-game enhanced therapy program. Wii was released by Nintendo's in 2006 and is a fully-interactive video game console that uses technology as a hand-held controller and a balance board, to create digital representations of the gamer on screen. During the health fair, it turned exercise into fun.
"The last time I had played video games was trying to play Super Mario (Bros.) with my grandson," said Robert Demmons, a Pepperell resident after stepping off the balance board. "I thought it was pretty good I could see how it would be beneficial."
Demmons and other participants were playing Wii Fit, a package of exercising mini-games that involves the player in activities like yoga, strength training and balance. It can even take one's body mass index and measure during strength training to determine a player's
For those needing physical or occupational therapy, it can benefit those who have had knee and hip replacements, vestibular disorders, sports injuries, strokes, endurance deficts and more, according to Pillsbury.
Leo Farrington was another senior taking advantage of the large number of services, he had his blood sugar and pressure tested and hearing and memory screened.
"The services they offer are amazing, I absolutely take advantage of them," he said. "And I am doing well, I'm in the ballpark.
"It's good way to see the local services that are offered."
A local favorite among seniors is the Pepperell Family Pharmacy, who were giving away some free basic first aid products and displaying some medicine organizing systems at their table. The Medical Center System, which stands about as tall as an old-fashioned cash register, contains 31 individual holders for a month-long pill regiment and an automatic alarm clock that buzzes 'please take medicine' at the proper time.
"We hear it makes a world of difference," said pharmacy Technician Michael Weiss. "The pharmacy fills them for our customers too, whether they call for delivery or bring them in -- we provide same-day service."
Weiss said he felt very at home alongside pharmacy owner Tracie Ezzio behind the table talking with customers and meeting new seniors.
"Coming to the health fair is interesting because I studied theater in college," he said. "I'm used to this sort of thing, being personal with customers."
D'Ambrosio Eye Care were giving four-tiered screenings including vision, distance vision, eye pressure to test for glaucoma and cataracts testing.
"These events are great ways to do community outreach, but also show that we offer a full service, seniors down to pediatrics as well as LASIK surgery, glaucoma specialists and more," said Judith Seppa.
Emily Tamilio, RN and Margaret Perras from Right at Home healthcare were teamed up promoting their services based at RiverCourt Residences in neighboring Groton. RiverCourt has neighborhoods tailored to independent, assisted and Alzheimer's living and Right at Home provides some of the nursing staff.
"It's exciting working together we are able to provide a lot of care to those residents," Tamilio said.
Perras was also promoting the Alzheimer's education series that the Senior Center has begun. The program is a way to kick-start a more permanent resource for people with Alzheimer's disease in the area.
"I truly feel this Alzheimer's series is a gift to the community," said Perras, who one of the first speakers when the series launched earlier this year.