For the 6th consecutive year, the Redding area has benefited from a community event called the Healthy Aging Summit.  This year the event continued under the primary sponsorship of the Independent Living Services of Northern California, led by Pam Thomason, Senior Specialist.  Under her direction, the Summit assumed an emphasis on promoting vision health for seniors 55 and over.

The core organizing was done with a committee composed of Pam, Deborah Uhl, Independent Living Specialist at ILSNC, Melinda Santos from Prevent Blindness and a community volunteer.  Additional help came from the Redding chapter of AARP, previous primary sponsors of the event, and the Opportunity Center, who assisted with the mailings.  We were able to use the Shasta Senior Nutrition building, a convenient setting for seniors.

Prominent local healthcare professionals provided expert advice to the seniors.  Robert Fox, MD in Ophthalmology, was a featured speaker.  Along with Dr. Fox, the staff from the Family Medical Eye Center was present, along with their optometrist, to provide full vision screenings.  Other speakers included Kristi Schaible on the impacts of smoking and how to quit, plus Joanne Tippin, RD, MS, on nutrition to enhance vision health.  Each of the speakers was excellent and had very good audience participation.

Along with the speakers, there were other medical screenings provided.  Memory screenings were provided by Willow Springs Alzheimer’s Care CenterHearing tests were provided by the Redding Hearing Institute.

Our 26 vendors ranged from A (Adaptive Technology) to S (Social Security).  The most popular attractions were the dogs from the Shasta County chapter of Guide Dogs for the Blind, led by Cathy Koch and Riviera, who brought along her human companion, Betty Millar.

(From Left to Right) Evan LeVang, Executive Director of ILSNC, Jan Blood of AARP & Pam Thomason of ILSNC

As the host agency, ILSNC alerted the Redding community to our services.  Vision Resource and Assistive Technology were big draws to the participants. The Vision Resource booth was able to receive 23 new consumers. We had 225 attendees, lunch was provided and we had four free drawings. The feedback from the event has been outstanding.  ILSNC is quite pleased with the results.  A good time was had by all. The entire event was free of charge.  We look forward to producing this event next year.