SPRINGFIELD — Nearly 600 area residents turned out to Senator Eric P. Lesser’s first annual “Thrive After 55 Wellness Fair” on Friday, June 9 to learn about local resources available to help them plan for retirement.

“There is a tremendous need for this information that helps people plan ahead for their futures,” Sen. Lesser said. “I was thrilled to see so many people turn out, and hear how helpful this was to them.”

In all, 42 organizations participated, each with a booth to share pamphlets and other materials about their services. The fair was held at Western New England University and sponsored by Health New England, whose representatives handed out booklets about applying for Medicare and answered questions.

Mercy Medical Center also served as a sponsor, and Prime Magazine, 22 News and The Republican were the fair’s media sponsors.

The Office of Elder Affairs and their community partners, WestMass ElderCare and Greater Springfield Senior Services, represented more than six state agencies which offer services from emergency preparedness to assistive technologies to help people live independently in their homes. Representatives from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and AARP were also present.

In addition to information, there were also more than 30 raffle prizes and interactive presentations. Local attorney Todd Ratner of Bacon Wilson presented a seminar on elder law and Anne Mahar of Baystate Home Infusion and Respiratory Services presented on eating healthy. Heartsong Yoga Center, based in East Longmeadow, led the auditorium in a yoga session, explaining exercises that could be done while sitting, for those with disabilities.

Sen. Lesser said he plans to hold the fair again next year.

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