Photo by Elaine Rackley
Ninety-one-year-old Eloise Smith of Hampton is pictured with Divine Faith Ministries International Bishop Donald Battle.
Smith attended the Celebrating Seniors Health and Service Awareness Seminar and Expo luncheon sponsored by the church.
JONESBORO — More than 100 senior citizens took part in the 17th annual Celebrating Seniors Health and Service Awareness Seminar/Expo and Luncheon held Thursday at Divine Faith Ministries International Church.
“Seniors are our greatest assets,” said Bishop Donald Battle, the overseer of the church, as he addressed the crowd. “Something happens when we don’t take care of what has taken care of us all of our lives. Seniors should not have to worry about housing, eating, or anything else. Thank God they are creating laws to protect you. ... Thank you for all that you have done for this country.”
The event was hosted by the Women in Action Ministry of Divine Faith Ministries International Church. The senior Expo luncheon was held at the Gennow Teen Young Adult Center, which is located across the street from the church.
Battle said the purpose of the event was to expose the seniors to the various services that are available to them in the community.
“We wanted to make sure they knew about some of the recreational services and ways for them to stay healthy in their latter years,” Battle said.
Some of the vendors on hand for the event were Clayton County Senior Services, SilverSneakers, State Farm Insurance, Kaiser Permanente, and Older People with Active Life Styles (OPALS).
Women in Action Ministry leader Linda Cunningham said they wanted to honor senior citizens for their dedication and service.
“Mildred Cross is the founder of our ministry and she came up with the idea to host this luncheon,” she said. “We do this to thank them for their wisdom and knowledge.”
The members of Women in Action Ministry visit nursing homes, hospices, and host all of the repasts held following funeral services at the church, Cunningham said.
“We help with the House of Dawn, it is a nonprofit shelter for pregnant teenagers,” she added.
One of the church’s deacons, Sam Smith, 70, brought his 91-year-old mother, Eloise Smith, to the senior Expo luncheon.
“I brought my mother because I wanted her to get out of the house and mingle with other seniors,” he said.
Dr. Barby Simmons of Kaiser Permanente told the seniors they should have a primary physician or a family doctor. Simmons also instructed them to be mindful of changes in their health.
“You should look for certain signs as you get older, like decrease in hearing and vision,” she said. “Other things to look for are lightheadedness or dizziness.”
Clayton County Senior Services Mary Byrd said there are two senior facilities, Frank Bailey Senior Center in Riverdale and the J. Charles Griswell Senior Center in Jonesboro. She said the centers are designed for the health and wellness of residents 55 years and older.
“Our facilities are equipped with heated pools, cafeterias, and computer labs,” Byrd said. “There is also a senior fitness center at the Riverdale location.”
The Clayton seniors also travel taking field trips to Macon and Canada, she added.