Health fair Saturday at EvCC focuses on non-English speaking elders

  • Fri Sep 24th, 2010 1:15am
  • News

By Sharon Salyer Herald Writer

Seniors who have immigrated from another country often have a more difficult time than their children learning a new language and understanding services such as Medicare, the government program that provides health care for older adults.

And lack of language skills may cause these elders to shy away from events where basic health screenings, such as measuring for cholesterol or blood pressure tests are provided.

On Saturday, an event has been scheduled to help seniors with limited English skills get health screenings as well as information on healthy eating and services that are available to them such as refugee groups, Medicare and Social Security and other government programs.

Called the Ethnic Elder Resource Fair, the event will have interpreters in Spanish, Cantonese, Tagalog, Mandarin, Korean, Russian, Bhutanese and Vietnamese.

Many older adults came to this country after their children moved here and established themselves, said LuAnne Kay, spokeswoman for the Community Health Center of Snohomish County, one of the sponsors of the event.

“They may have come over at age 60 or 65. They don’t drive. They’re fairly dependent on their kids and may not know what all is available to them.”

That’s part of the reason why the event, now in its sixth year, was organized.

Twelve free health screenings will be offered this year, including tests of lung function, diabetes, anemia, blood pressure, bone density and cholesterol, Kay said.

More health screenings are being offered at this year’s event through a partnership with Everett Community College’s nursing program, she said.

Hearing and vision tests also will be available as well as screenings for depression.

When the health screenings are completed, each person’s scores will be assessed to see if they are risk for a health problem.

Senior Services of Snohomish County will follow up with phone calls to those at risk of a health problem to see if they received follow-up medical care, she said.

And if they don’t have a regular doctor, they will be told where they can go to get ongoing medical care, Kay said.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.