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DECATUR — Yolanda Blackwell will turn 65 years old at the beginning of the year.

To learn more about services that will be available to her, she attended the 29th annual Seniorama on Friday at the Decatur Civic Center.

Blackwell has visited the event before, but this year, her mission was different.

“I wanted to find out about health insurance and such,” she said.

Each year, organizers invite groups and businesses used by senior citizens.

“The seniors in the community will have one place to go to see what services and products are available to help them,” said Chris Brodnicki, Decatur Civic Center general manager.

HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital, Herald & Review, Cromwell Radio Group and Ameren Illinois sponsored the event. Volunteers were provided by the Golden K Kiwanis.

The Civic Center arena was filled with more than 50 booths and representatives tailored to seniors. Vendors included healthcare facilities such as therapy, long-term care and dental offices. Financial advisers, exercise facilities, volunteer programs and politicians were also on hand.

“Seniors come out in droves,” Brodnicki said. “It helps every booth has a little give-away.”

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Attendees also were given free cookies and Prairie Farms ice cream. Entertainment was provided by country musician John Stevens. the day ended with Bingo, with winning players coming away with such items as blood pressure machines, oil changes and discounts on dry cleaning.

Community Relations Regional Manager Amanda Blair was at the Familia Dental  table handing out adhesive pockets to attach to the back of a cell phone. She attended this year’s Seniorama to inform the community about their services, especially for the seniors.

“We are offering the dental care for seniors,” Blair said.

Blair was ready to speak to the seniors about dentures and the process, as well as any other services her company offers.

This year marks its first year The Gardens at Moweaqua Independent and Assisted Living has joined the event. Heather Cordes and Tomi Ready came to the event to inform others of the Moweaqua facility.

“We recently remodeled,” Cordes said. “We just want people to check us out. It’s very homey there.”

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Scattered inside and outside of the arena were the Golden K Kiwanis members dressed in their signature yellow and blue vests or shirts ready to help where needed. The volunteers greeted visitors, dished out cookies, shuttled visitors on golf carts and offered information on their organization.

“That’s what the Golden K is here for, to volunteer,” said member Earl Rudolph.

Rudolph and Kiwanis member John Alley tended to their booth before they began other volunteer work. This was Alley's first time volunteering for Seniorama. He had joined a similar group in college. Now that he has retired, he wanted to continue helping others.

“I knew about Kiwanis and the good things they do for children,” he said. “So that’s why I volunteer.”

Not all visitors were at the event to learn about senior services.

Jane Seitz brought Drax, a 137-day old Eastern Screech Owl. The small bird sat patiently while visitors petted and gazed at him. As part of the Illinois Raptor Center, Seitz and Drax were there to recruit senior volunteers.

“They are the backbone of what we do out there,” Seitz said. “But you have to love nature.”

Tina Disney, 75, attended the Seniorama because the event is tailored for people her age.

“This is for senior people, something nice, you know,” she said. “And I got my breakfast, the ice cream.”

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Contact Donnette Beckett at (217) 421-6983. Follow her on Twitter: @donnettebHR


"Together Decatur" Columnist and Food and Drink Reporter

“Together Decatur” columnist and food and drink reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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