Lisa Walker of Longview said she has asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes and sickle cell anemia and has been disabled for half of her 48 years.
However, her health problems did not stop her from taking quick ballroom dance lessons Thursday from instructor Sal Landeros at the Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center. She joined five other women in the dance lessons during the 18th annual The Good Life Expo & Happy Hour, which the News-Journal conducted.
The expo also featured bingo games, seminars, a free lunch of catfish and fries, door prizes, opportunities to meet 22 vendors and an evening happy hour. The event drew about 275 people throughout the day, said Gai Bennett, events specialist for the News-Journal and an announcer at the expo.
Walker, a former certified nursing assistant, said she has been coming to the expo since 2010.
âI enjoy learning how to dance and about home-health (services) and stuff, difference insurance (policies) you can get,â Walker said.
Walker said dancing offers good exercise and âkeeps your body muscles going,â but she acknowledged being short-winded because of asthma.
Dancing is good exercise that helps breathing and strengthens legs, said Landeros, owner of All About Dance in Tyler.
âIt gives you more mobility,â Landeros said. âIf you can walk, you can dance.â
Attendees walked around the convention center and met other seniors or visited vendors including hearing aid businesses, gyms, nursing homes, insurance agencies, a pharmacy and a dentist.
Joy Evans, a Gladewater resident who is retired from hospital administration, said she has been attending the expo from the start, and showed up with her husband of 33 years, Robbie.
She said she enjoys meeting others.
Like Evans, Hubert Couch of Longview said he has been going to the expo for many years and went this year to obtain health information. He wore a sticker indicating he received a flu shot, courtesy of Louis Morgan Drugs.
Couch said he worked for 20 years in a hat factory and recalled attending a convention 50 years ago in New York City in which another man with his rare first name spoke at a political rally. He was referring to Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who ran unsuccessfully on the Democratic ticket for president in 1968.
Expo newcomers Wayne and Norma Rosette showed up because they wanted to learn what the event had to offer them and visited Maude Cobb for the first time. Wayne Rosette said he planned to meet his sister and brother-in-law, Gail and Vernon Burks, there.
Rosette, who grew up in Longview, said he moved back to his hometown in June from Stuart, Florida, to be closer to his children and grandchildren after retiring from a career as a nuclear engineer.
âWe like lunch,â he said. âCatfish was good.â
The Rosettes and other attendees filled bags with pens, bottled water, a stress reliever shaped like a miniature football and other freebies from vendors.
The Rev. Rick Webb, chaplain at Buckner Westminster Place, said Buckner has been a vendor at the expo for years.
âWe get a chance to get to know people,â Webb said.
Louis Morgan and the Fitness:1440 Gym were newcomers to the expo.
âWe really like to get out into the community and meet everybody,â said Montana Loyd, a pharmacy technician at Louis Morgan. âWe wanted to come out and make sure everybody is healthy and get their flu shots.â
Louis Morgan also provided blood-pressure checks and blood-sugar testing.
Lani Walker, a personal trainer at Fitness:1440 Gym, said she decided to participate because she likes to try something new. She said the gym offers a fitness class for people 55 and older.
âReally, I like to take personal training all the way,â Walker said. âThis is my full-time job.â