Mesa expo connects East Valley seniors with services - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Mesa expo connects East Valley seniors with services

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Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012 7:45 am | Updated: 9:25 am, Mon Nov 19, 2012.

A few years ago, Leo Achin made a bunch of phone calls seeking services available to help take care of his ailing wife.

He said he didn’t have much luck.

But on Thursday, when Achin was leaving the East Valley Adult Resources’ 21st Annual Senior Expo at the Mesa Convention Center where about 100 vendors were offering a wide range of services for about 1,000 attending the event, Achin said he now is a lot more informed in knowing what’s available.

“Years ago, I wasn’t very informed,” Achin, 82, of Mesa, said. “I needed help and couldn’t get it. Now, by coming here, I’m a lot more informed and know what’s out there. I can’t complain anymore. There’s services available, and it’s good to know where to get them, because someday, you’re going to need them, and this event is very informative. I’m going home very knowledgeable.”

Achin, who began volunteering for the Red Mountain Loss and Grief Group after his wife passed away about four years ago, said that he also has learned from them and it helps him “give back” a little to the community.

That rings true with East Valley Adult Resources based in Mesa, which provides myriad services for those 55 and older throughout the Valley through its staff and numerous volunteers.

Some of those services provided by volunteers include simple things that go a long way such as providing a hot meal to homebound seniors and other non-medical services such as taking them to the grocery store or taking them out to get their hair done.

Other needs can be more serious: Finding the right independent or assisted living home, getting additional Medicare insurance or dental and eye care.

“We’re kind of like that extra set of eyes and that extra set of ears,” said Margo Pain, director of assistance for Independent Living Division of East Valley Adult Services, which partners with its vendors throughout the year. “We’re always looking for more volunteers. There’s a lot of seniors out there who are still able to live in their own homes, but they just can’t get out and do the things that they used to. By providing these services, it also helps make seniors feel more secure in knowing there’s someone out there checking on them who knows where to guide them to get these services. It helps build connections and community.”

Some of the vendors at Thursday’s event included Southwest Dental Group, Scan Health Plan Arizona, Citadel Care Center in Mesa, Courtyard Towers in Mesa, Apache Junction Active Adult Center, medical groups offering free screenings as well as local restaurants serving free food samples.

“We call this the expo that keeps on giving,” said Jo Debrant, vice president of development for East Valley Adult Resources. “We don’t just tell seniors we love them for a day and goodbye — we do things throughout the whole year.”

John DeCicco, a winter resident from Chicago who lives in Mesa, was checking out the Caremore booth, a California-based Medicare advantage plan which has an office in Mesa and others throughout the Valley.

“If something arises, I’ll now know what to do,” DeCicco said of attending the event. “After coming here, I’m very, very knowledgeable in knowing what’s out there. A day will come when you need something.”

For more information, visit or call (480) 966-9704.

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