For Hometown News
The inaugural "Senior Swap," an event geared to help seniors and families exchange or donate items such as electric scooters, walkers, wheel chairs and canes, was held on June 8 at The Gardens of Port St. Lucie.
Anne Branen, director of community relations at The Gardens and organizer of the event, said the idea for the swap came from her experience with the assisted living residents she works with daily.
"We see how expensive this equipment is for them to obtain, but once an individual no longer needs it, it often ends up being discarded even though it's still in good condition," she said. "We thought it would be great to give it a second life in the hands of someone who needs it, either locally or in Haiti. Hospitals in Haiti are functioning without many of the basic necessities we take for granted."
The Gardens partnered with OxyProsPlus, ConfiCare and Madetric Woods, a geriatric nurse practitioner, to host the event. Medical equipment was brought in by individuals, along with a truckload of items donated by Trinity United Methodist Church of Jensen Beach.
Mark Hassett, general manager of OxyPros Plus, along with one of their technicians, performed some wheelchair and walker maintenance, and Barry Becchio of ConfiCare was available for screenings and assistance in matching folks with the right equipment.
Madetric Woods, who has been instrumental in collecting medical supplies for Missionary International Flights to Haiti, brought along her daughter, Keisha, to help clean and sort equipment.
Several people were able to exchange items they brought in for wheelchairs and walkers that were better suited to their needs. At the end of the event, More than 50 items remained that will be donated to Bob's Closet, a charitable outreach of OxyProsPlus, or sent to Haiti.
Deb Shieber, sales assistant at The Gardens, said it was rewarding and a fun event.
"We didn't know what to expect since this was our first one," she said. "Overall, we were pleased with how it went and we're already planning for the next one in January."