As the population continues to age, more and more services are being offered to Lexington’s senior citizens.
The “i know expo” was created to address senior issues in a one-stop-shopping format in the form of a one-day expo.
Lexington — a thriving college town with a reasonable cost of living, a temperate climate, and access to world class healthcare — has long been a popular retirement destination for seniors and the elderly.
With ample shopping and dining options alongside a vibrant healthcare hub, Hamburg and the eastside, in particular, has proven particularly popular for senior living, with new prospective communities currently under development.
Lexington’s $13 million Senior Center, designed by EOP Architects, opened in 2016 in Idle Hour Park off Richmond Road. The popular site — with easy access and drive-up parking — will be the home of this year’s I Know Expo.
Since 2013 — with a few Covid pauses in between— Lexington has been home to this unique senior living expo that offers a one-stop-shop, one-day event that invites guests to address senior issues like financial planning, transportation, aging in place, housing, and more.
As the baby boomer population in Lexington expands daily, more and more services are needed— but info and access isn’t always aggregated in one place.
The I Know Expo, founded by Gale Reece, said the idea for the event all started with the transportation issues facing Lexington’s senior population.
“The i know expo grew out of ITNBluegrass. Independent Transportation Network — dignified transportation for seniors. In 2006, I began the effort to start the local affiliate of the national private non-profit for senior transportation.”
Long before Uber and Lyft came to town, ITN Bluegrass was finding solutions for seniors who needed rides. Paid and volunteer drivers use their own private cars to transport those 60+ and visually impaired adults who are members of the organization, (members pay a modest annual fee). Reece says, “We successfully had Kentucky legislation changed to allow drivers to use their own insurance when driving seniors for a non-profit.”
Over the years, Reece began to notice requests for additional information about senior services from the families of members, or from riders themselves. Reece devised the idea of a one-day, one-place expo for information and services in the community.
The “i know expo” is now an event for people of all ages and life stages: living out their golden years; taking care of someone they love; coping with difficult health situations, or simply smart enough to know it’s never too early to start planning for the future.
Reece says, “Our target audience is adult children of frail elders (generally working women between 45 – 70), those caring for loved ones with disabilities, and all in my Boomer generation (72,000+ in Fayette County), who should be preparing for our own aging situations.”
Past expos have been filled with empowering information about the services, resources and support available to make the rest of life the best of life.
Dozens of vendors who know about aging well and coping with disabilities are on hand to share what they know by chatting one-on-one or through informative presentations on everything from housing, healthcare and insurance, to legal and financial planning, to living well and staying active.
The “i know expo” can help folks young and old plan for the future with more confidence.
By 2025, it is estimated that 24% of Fayette County will be 60 or over.
The i know expo is scheduled for 9 am to 2 pm on Saturday, September 23rd at the Lexington Senior Center. The goal is to empower guests with the knowledge to proactively plan for the future, live with disabilities, care for loved ones, and age with joy and grace.
This article appears on pages 12-13 of the September 2023 issue of HJ. To subscribe to digital delivery each month, click here.