Mobile devices are an integral part of everyday life for most working adults, who rely heavily on them to make calls and send texts, check email, search the Internet and more. In addition, increasing numbers of older adults use cell phones or iPads to connect with family and friends, explore options for restaurants, travel and entertainment; research health topics and shop online. There is also a growing interest in wearables for health and using everyday technology for caregiving purposes.

On that note, the Howard County Office on Aging and Independence encourages adults of all ages to learn to effectively use their computer, smartphone and other devices. Technology that is usable in everyday life will be highlighted at the office’s 18th annual 50+EXPO on Monday, Oct. 31, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Road, Columbia.

AARP’s self-proclaimed “gadget guy” Mike Lee will kick the event off at the EXPO with his feature presentation, “Tracking Wellness With Technology,” at 10 a.m. in the Jim Rouse Theatre.

As senior digital strategy adviser in AARP’s Digital Strategy & Membership unit, Lee personally tests dozens of smartphone accessories, health wearables and electronic reading tablets for the AARP website. In this presentation, Lee will focus on activity trackers, such as FitBit, Misfit Shine, Apple Watch and Move Now, as well as a variety of phone apps and mechanical pedometers.

Afterwards, he will be available at AARP’s booth on Main Street, which will feature healthy tracker stations where attendees can get one-on-one assistance.

Held each year in October, the 50+EXPO is an event for older adults in Howard County, attracting more than 3,500 attendees and featuring 170 vendors and exhibitors of interest to individuals, families, caregivers, care providers and professionals; this year, a job fair has been added for older adults who are contemplating a career change or want to re-enter the workforce.

A free workshop, Wired for Work, will be presented by the Howard County Office of Workforce Development. Offered at 11 a.m. in Room 222, the workshop is led by consultant Brenda Guild, who will discuss some of the unique challenges older adults, age 50 and older, may encounter in their job searches; explore areas that may negatively impact a job search; and identify strategies to create a positive mindset.

A number of other free seminars will be offered throughout the day, including the following.

Protecting Your Privacy and Money in a High-Tech World

11 a.m., Classroom 220

While it is true that 21st century technology can provide you with a wealth of conveniences, it can also put your privacy, money and safety at risk. Rebecca Bowman, administrator of the Howard County Office of Consumer Protection, will discuss how to weigh the benefits and risks of using the latest tech products.

Rumbles and Grumbles: Taming Your Physical and Emotional Digestive Health

Noon, Classroom 237

Learn how emotions contribute to poor digestion, what to do about it and which foods and beverages will help to soothe the discomfort and symptoms. The seminar will be led by Tibetan Yoga instructors Joseph Murray and Valencia Wood, president and vice president, respectively, of IO Workshop|Mélong Ling.

Navigating the Maryland Workforce Exchange

1 p.m., Classroom 222

Learn how to utilize the resources of the Maryland Workforce Exchange, a user-friendly system to assist 50-plus job seekers with their job search and workforce service needs. The session will be led by Joan Greene-Washington, a workforce consultant with the Howard County Office of Workforce Development.

Know the 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s

1 p.m., Classroom 220

Recognize the subtle signs and behavioral changes associated with Alzheimer’s and learn the importance of early detection; led by Phyllis Meyerson, LCSW-C, an education program volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association.

A Pinch of This, a Dash of That

2 p.m., Classroom 237

Learn how you can enhance the healing properties of your meals with healthy add-ons; led by Jade Connelly-Duggan, director of WisdomWell Family Acupuncture and Wellness

The Business Monthly is a media sponsor of this year’s 50+EXPO, which will feature a comprehensive health fair offering screenings and free flu vaccines. Attendees also can enjoy many entertainment options in the 50+ Café where they can grab a quick, healthy lunch; or check out one of two performances by the Capitol Steps, at noon and 2 p.m., in the Jim Rouse Theatre.

For a schedule of the day’s activities, visit or check Facebook at For more information, contact the Office on Aging and Independence at 410-313-6410 or email [email protected].


Parking for the 50+EXPO is at The Mall in Columbia, lower level by Sears. A $1 admission fee will be collected as attendees board the shuttle bus (or pay at the door).

In addition to the admission fee, Capitol Steps attendees are asked to make a $5 donation at the ticket booth to attend the show. All proceeds will benefit the Vivian L. Reid Community Fund, which provides emergency financial assistance to older adults and adults with disabilities in Howard County whose needs are not covered by Medicare or other programs.

Kim Higdon Henry works in communications and outreach for the Howard County Department of Community ­Resources and Services. She can be contacted at 410-313-6531 and [email protected].