By Anne Kallas, VCStar

As people age, their world can become smaller as they lose their ability to drive or to walk. One message to those folks, however, is that resources are available to help them remain independent.

Many of those resources were in one place Tuesday at the Camarillo Community Center during the sixth Camarillo Seniors Expo, sponsored by the Camarillo Council on Aging and the Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District.

“People are not aware of the various things available to them,” said Walt Robbins, chairman of the event committee. “People retreat further and further into pockets of isolation.”

Robbins said the number of exhibitors has grown over the years from 47 tables the first year to 94.

“This event is so popular among the different agencies,” he said.

Expo Manager Lisa Montano, also an assistant administrator at Mira Vista Village, said transportation becomes an issue with advancing years.

“As people age, they lose their driver’s license and they have to start learning about public transportation. But while some will go out and take the bus, others don’t go anywhere unless relatives or friends take them,” she said.

Mary Gallucci, of Camarillo, said she came to the expo for information.

“I like to have more information about senior concerns and I can meet my friends,” Gallucci said. “I’ve lived in Camarillo for 42 years and I’ve seen it grow.”

She said she was concerned about finding more fixed-rate transportation to her home.

Among the exhibitors was the senior fraud unit of the Ventura County district attorney’s crime victims assistance program. Volunteer Kathy Devlin said seniors can be vulnerable to fraud and elder abuse by family members or caregivers.

“They’re afraid to report it because they think they will be sent to live in a home,” she said. “It’s very sad.”

The expo featured a variety of health screenings including stroke screening, blood-pressure screening, memory screening, balance testing, free mammograms and more. In addition to the many health care providers and residential care centers, there were displays for activities including Quilting by the Sea by the Camarillo Quilters Association. Judy Lindros, of Camarillo, said quilting is a fun, social activity that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Included among the exhibitors was CarFit, which Dave Pendleton said is a service designed to make seniors more comfortable behind the wheel.

“We have 12 items we check to help seniors fit in their cars, such as seat adjustment, shoulder straps and lights. It takes 20 minutes,” Pendleton said. “If people are comfortable in their cars, they will be safer.”

He said CarFit checks are available the third Tuesday of every month at the Camarillo Community Center and the second Tuesday of each month in Oxnard at the Wilson Senior Center.

Gerry and Russell Robison were among those attending the expo.

“Transportation is an important issue for us,” Gerry Robinson said. “We live in Camarillo Springs, and it’s hard to get around, especially in the evenings. People’s eyesight gets bad and they have to stay home nights. There were so many new things here we were not aware of. We get exposure to so much.”

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