HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N.J. — Bergen County is giving a gift to anyone dealing with a complex health care issue — the 1st Annual Bergen County Care Fair in Hasbrouck Heights.
People are registering now for the free event, to take place noon to 5 p.m. April 23 at the Hilton Hasbrouck Heights.
A total of 1,000 attendees are anticipated.
They all can meet the mascot for the care fair — Rayna, a lovable Shih Tzu/Maltese dog who will be there and available for petting.
“Her dad has aphasia. He had a stroke and he’s in a wheelchair,” said Karen Tucker, head of the Adler Aphasia Center in Maywood.
“So Rayna is very comfortable around wheelchairs and likes to be around people.”
The Adler center is one of many organizations supporting – and participating in – the event.
The fair is the brainchild of Rob Esposito, director of the Bergen County Division of Community Development.
“Everyone I meet who faces some kind of a health care challenge or crisis has a very difficult time finding out what they need to know,” Esposito said.
“You’re dealing with this extraordinary maze and you don’t know where to begin.”
The fair, which features 120 exhibitors as well as workshops, is designed to be the starting point.
It is one-stop shopping for people of all ages.
And it covers a full spectrum of conditions and diseases, including health, mental health and social service resources.
“For instance, maybe you have a chronic disease that gets even worse,” Esposito said.
"What's your next step?"
The idea is to put everything anyone could possibly need in one place. That also includes nutrition, home improvement and assisted living services, among others.
Some of the workshops offered will be oriented for caregivers of the sick.
The need for the event is obvious, Esposito said.
A total of 43 sponsors, including all four major hospitals in Bergen, have collectively contributed more than $100,000 to privately fund the event.
The Bergen County Care Fair is also run by the county Department of Human Services.
To register, CLICK HERE .