The Expo for Seniors gives seniors a great opportunity to learn about different products and services from businesses, organizations and professionals across central Minnesota. This photo was taken at last year’s Expo. Contributed photo

If you think an Expo for Seniors wouldn’t interest you, think again.

The 15th annual event on Aug. 19 allows seniors and their adult children the chance to connect with more than 100 providers of senior services all in one location.

“It’s a time for education, information gathering and fun,” said Expo Co-chair Sue Christensen, president of Arise Cares, a home care and senior day program.

The free event at the River’s Edge Convention Center in downtown St. Cloud will include a wide variety of activities that will appeal to seniors and their adult children.

“We have a growing population of seniors, and it just makes sense to offer them an event that caters specifically towards their unique needs and time of life,” she said.

A chef gives a presentation on healthy cooking and healthy eating at the 2011 Expo for Seniors at the Whitney Senior Center. Contributed photo

A diverse group of vendors will offer information on health care, housing, finance, fitness, safety and more. The event also features speakers, entertainment, free breakfast, health screenings and door prizes.

“We really try to make it fun and also allow attendees time to talk with businesses about the services they offer,” Christensen said.

“Someone attending the event could expect to arrive at 8 a.m. when the doors open, have a free breakfast, then go to the vending hall, visit with vendors, get a free health screening, at 10 a.m. they can stop by and listen to our keynote speaker,” she said.

The Expo began in 2003 at the Whitney Senior Center. The free event attracts more than 1,000 attendees and about 115 vendors, making it Central Minnesota’s largest event offering products and services for older adults.

“To my knowledge, there isn’t a local event like this one in the area. There are smaller, local events throughout the year that target seniors, but nothing quite like the Expo for Seniors,” she said.

The free event attracts more than 1,000 attendees and about 115 vendors, making it Central Minnesota’s largest event offering products and services for older adults. This is a shot of the Expo in 2013. Contributed photo

“We take great care in selecting a theme and speaker each year. This year’s theme is focused more on healthy aging – body, mind and spirit — the whole person!”

Christensen hopes to see those who are 55 and older check out the event and see what will be offered by the event’s vendors such as Amdahl Hearing, Central Minnesota Council on Aging, and Edward Jones Investments, just to name a few examples.

“People are living longer these days and are looking for ways to stay healthy or ways  to help them manage their circumstance,” she said. “The Expo is a great way to help them gain knowledge and resources.”

The Expo for Seniors planning committee is made up of dedicated volunteers from various senior service-focused businesses and organizations, according to the free event’s website, www.expoforseniors.com.

“We rely heavily on feedback given on surveys completed by event attendees. Each year we decide on a theme and select our keynote speaker based on that feedback,” according to organizers.

This year’s presentation will be “Laugh for the Health of It.” The featured keynote speaker is Sarah Routman, a leadership instructor and wellness advocate at the University of Minnesota.

“We are really going to focus in on laughter with our keynote speaker and get everyone laughing, giggling and having fun. Sarah comes to us with such great recommendations and so we are very excited to have her,” Christensen said.

This year’s keynote speaker at the Expo for Seniors will be Sarah Routman, a leadership instructor advocate at the University of Minnesota. She works to inspire others to lead happier, healthier and more meaningful lives with the help of laughter. Contributed
photo

“She inspires others to lead happier, healthier, more meaningful lives through laughter, which ultimately helps them to unlock their full potential. She has shared laughter with thousands of people all over the world through her laughter yoga trainings and can’t wait to give you the giggles!”

Routman will speak for an hour starting at 10 a.m., following the free breakfast at the River’s Edge Convention Center, which will be held from 8-9:30 a.m. Vendors will be available from 8 a.m.-noon.

“We are all aging and have loved ones that are aging, yet most of us wait until we are in crisis to seek out resources. We recommend you come to the Expo for Seniors and gather information that will help you be prepared,” Christensen said.

The 2017 Expo for Seniors event is sponsored by CentraCare St. Benedict’s Senior Community, Times Media and The Good Shepherd Community.

“It’s an opportunity to get informed, which will help you to make better decisions regarding your well-being as you age,” Christensen said.