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East Longmeadow Senior Center to host first 'Showcase of Caring Expo'

By Debbie Gardner Assistant Managing Editor EAST LONGMEADOW Council on Aging Executive Director Carolyn Brennan saw a growing need in the town, and came up with a program to fill it. On Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Brennan and the Council on Aging (COA) will host East Longmeadow's first-ever "Showcase of Caring Expo" at the Pleasant View Senior Center, highlighting a broad range of services to support older adults. Admission is free and the event is open to the public. "We're serving so many caregivers of all ages now, we felt it was important [to do this]. I think it's really hard to figure out where to go for help," Brennan told Reminder Publications about the COA's decision to create an event to help families better navigate the maze of elder care. The COA hopes to ease caregivers' frustrations by providing access to a wide variety of services all under one roof. Exhibitors will include representatives from assisted living and retirement communities such as Bluebird Estates and Glenmeadow, adult day care and home health aide providers such as Homestaff and Capuano Health Care, adaptive equipment and therapeutic service providers such as Agawam Medical Supply and Performance Rehab, Veterans services, legal services, end-of-life care such as Beacon Hospice, and more. "Hopefully every question that someone has will get answered [here], or the person will get steered in the right direction," Brennan said. She added that the PVTA will also be at the Expo taking ID pictures. In addition to the exhibitors, the COA has scheduled a trio of speakers that will address specific caregiver topics. At 10 a.m., Ludlow native David Horgan, author of "When a Parent Moves In," will speak on the joys and challenges of blending generations in today's society. His talk will include a book signing and question and answer period. "We used to know how to do this. Parents lived with children and everyone was happy," Horgan told Reminder Publications. "My generation of latchkey kids didn't grow up that way; we're learning how to be mulitgenerational families again." Horgan said he will be talking about the nuts and bolts of making day-to-day living work, and how to acknowledge the adjustments both sides may be making in the blending process. "We're talking about the dynamics of having a parent move in so you can have a happy transition and everyone can get along harmoniously," Horgan said of the information in his book. In addition to Horgan's advice, the "Showcase of Caring Expo" will feature an 11 a.m. talk on "Wellness and Healthy Aging " by Laurie Campbell, Wellness Coordinator for Glenmeadow and a 12:30 p.m. panel discussion on care options for elders who can no longer live alone, hosted by Jewish Geriatric Services. For more information on the "Showcase of Caring Expo," please call the Council on Aging at 525-5436.

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