11th annual Community Health Fair encourages Wellness

Each fall the Omni Homestead teams up with Bath Community Hospital to offer a health fair for the whole community. On this past Tuesday the amount of information available in one grand ballroom was enormous.

Lori Batten of Bath Community Hospital has been involved with the Health Fair since its beginning.

“When we were doing it for the Homestead employees, we were asked to come and present some of the services such as lab work, flu shots, those kind of things.”

Now the health fair has grown so significantly, not only can visitors take care of those basic wellness tasks, they can also learn more about many opportunities to take up healthy new hobbies, develop different habits, and find some adaptive technologies to help family members with hearing and vision loss. There is plenty of emphasis on safe mobility for elders, as well as quick checklists to help recognize things like COPD, stroke and heart attacks.

Brenda Hite, of the Omni Homestead’s Human Resources, also spoke about where the fair came from, and how far it has come.

“This is actually our eleventh year, and we’re very excited to involve not only the associates at the Omni Homestead, but our community as well. This started with a thought process between the nursing staff at the Bath Community Hospital and also our staff here. We were looking at ways that we could be more informing towards the community in regard to healthy lifestyles and healthy living. So we pulled together this health fair, and we invited vendors. It has grown each year. We are currently up to about seventy-two vendors that visited with us today. And they are everything from different hospitals in the surrounding area. We’re happy to have Carillion with us, Augusta Health, also Lewis Gale. Dr. Mays was kind enough to come and tell us about cataract surgery.”

Brenda Hite continued,

“We’ve also encompassed individuals that represent agencies like the Emergency Services Committee, the Sherriff’s Department.

We were pleased today to have with us a group of about seventy students from Bath County High School. And our Senior Citizens in the area, that group was our special guests for today. So it’s been a very informative get-together where we could talk about healthy lifestyles, healthy living.

We have the dietary team from Bath Hospital here making pumpkin pancakes, and providing apple cider and hot chocolate.

Even though the pumpkin pancakes were tasty, and I wished I had taken time for a seated massage, my personal favorite row of vendors was the one that included Parks and Recreation from both Bath and Allegheny counties, BARC, The YMCA, Bath Chamber of Commerce and AA. It feels good to make our definitions of health and wellness much wider to include such things as solar power, area hiking trails, growing local businesses, zumba, and a 1st stop for free mental health care, all area AA and Al-Anon meetings.

A large tent at one end of the ballroom covered several chairs where people were receiving seated massages.   When I asked what she thought of the steadily increasing opportunities for improving health, Lori Batten replied,

“Oh, I think it’s great. These are actually students from down at Dabney in massage therapy, and they’ve been coming for the last few years.”

So the next time one is feeling confined, or blue, and as if there might not be quite enough to do, remember these resources, and as the old doctor’s advice says, “Heal thyself.”

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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