Anyone with questions about the medical and health services available in the region, or who would like to see the range of services available, is invited to attend the Navigating Health and Wellness Fair taking place at the Cache Creek Community Hall on Monday, April 15 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The fair is hosted by the Wellness and Health Action Coalition (WHAC) with support from the United Way, and the idea for it first came up in August 2018, when United Way community wellness manager Krista Billy was invited to a WHAC meeting. Funding was available through the United Way to support the initiative, which was initially about helping people navigate the health care system.
“I learned that WHAC was already planning something similar,” says Billy. “So we decided to work together on this. In the wake of the 2017 wildfires there is community event funding available, and we were tasked with approaching community groups and working on collaboration.”
Sheila Corneille, chair of the WHAC, says that the group has a history with smaller health fairs in the area, adding that it can be difficult for some people to find their way through the health care system.
“We asked ourselves what people need to know to navigate the system.
“We began planning it in December. We wanted to make sure the hours catered to as many demographics as possible—workers, seniors, families—so that people could visit as many spots as possible.”
Close to three dozen groups and services will have booths at the fair, and attendees are encouraged to drop in at their leisure and take the opportunity to learn more. Among the organizations there to explain what they offer and answer questions are the Alzheimer Society of BC, BC Transit, the Community Paramedics, BC Ambulance Service, United Way, First Nations Health Authority, and Interior Health, who will provide information about immunizations, home support and home care, mental health, residential care, palliative care, and more.
Corneille says there will also be several hands-on interactive displays, where people can have a blood pressure test, check the accuracy of their home blood pressure monitor, get their blood sugar tested, sign up for a free hearing test, learn how to properly clean their ears, and more.
Billy says that just about every booth will be interactive in some way. “They’re not just giving away pamphlets.” The community paramedics, for example, will be able to provide more information about their work with people with COPD and diabetes.
In order to encourage people to visit as many displays as possible, attendees will be given a passport, which can be initialled or stamped at each booth. “If you get a certain number of stamps you’ll be entered into a draw,” says Corneille.
Transportation to and from the fair will be available in Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Clinton, Walhachin, and Spences Bridge. Anyone needing transportation can call (250) 457-6651 and leave a voice mail giving their name and phone number so that a pick-up can be arranged.
Child minding will be available on site with Early Childhood Educators, and Bridging to Literacy will have a craft station. In addition to three grand prizes there will also be door prizes, and a variety of refreshments will be available all day.
Information about the fair is available on postcards at various locations throughout the region, as well as on the WHAC Facebook page (Healthcare and Wellness Coalition). There is still limited space available for interested health care providers (not businesses) to sign up for a booth. “Definitely approach us, and we’ll see what we can do,” says Billy.