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Two Bella Vista businesses have been seen manning booths in the Senior Health Fair since its inception.

Village House Adult Day Program and BoozmanHof Regional Eye Center started participating in the fair in 1990.

Village House began in Bella Vista in 1988 at Bella Vista Community Church when the Rev. John Foss, local doctors and representatives from the Area Agency on Aging conceived the idea of starting an adult day program in the area.

The house in 2009 moved its operation to Highlands Crossing Center, where it is located today.

Director Shannon Bryant said Village House provides respite for family members who need a break in the daily care of their loved one.

The primary clientele is those with Alzheimer's disease or dementia, Bryant said, but any adult with some reason they cannot stay home alone is welcome.

The organization operates from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, features structured activity programs, including crafts and games, along with music, exercise and monthly birthday celebrations.

The more engaged the person is during the day, the better he or she does at home in the evening, Bryant said, and the better he or she can sleep at night.

Village House gets a lot of support from the community and area churches, Bryant said, along with the United Way. In addition, an hourly fee and Medicaid help fund the program.

"We don't turn anyone away," Bryant said, adding that donations typically serve as scholarships for participants.

"The health fair is a good way to get our name out there and talk with different families," she said, and the fair in the past has brought participants and the program together.

The fair is a good way to provide information to people, said Harry Ware of BoozmanHof, which is especially critical when it comes to the eyes of those as they get older, he said. BoozmanHof has offices in Rogers and Cunningham Corner in Bella Vista.

"With glaucoma, you don't even know you have it until after it's already affected your vision," Ware said.

He also included macular degeneration and cataracts in with common afflictions that affect seniors.

"It's really important to provide information to have a better understanding (of these conditions)," he said.

BoozmanHof, which opened in 1977, staffs three ophthalmologists and four optometrists. Ophthalmologists go to medical school first, then later specialize in the eye, while optometrists are health care professionals providing primary vision care.

Optometrists focus on exams and identify diseases, Ware said, which they can treat up to a point. Then the care is turned over to an ophthalmologist if advanced treatment is necessary, such as surgery or injections in the eye, he added.

"These are different levels of service and compliment each other extremely well," he said.

BoozmanHof also features an oculoplastics ophthalmologist, Ware said. This is a doctor who specializes in surgery around the eye, such as on the eyelid. As muscles around the eyes relax with age, sight can be affected, he said. Some cancers in that area of the body can cause a need for reconstruction as well.

The next closest doctors to offer these services are in Little Rock, Oklahoma City and Kansas City, Ware said.

This year, the eye professionals are going to push information on diabetes at the fair, Ware said. As a diabetic himself, Ware said he needs an exam every year and that there are certain things diabetics must be careful with when it comes to eyes.

This is a chance for participants to get information on conditions one might hear about but not really understand, he said.

The most common issue in seniors is cataracts, he said. However, macular degeneration and glaucoma are also common and may not occur only in the elderly.

General News on 09/17/2014

Print Headline: BoozmanHof, Village House carry on fair tradition

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