hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

October 24, 2013

You can avoid damage to your home during emergencies


The Haverhill Gazette

---- — Let’s say a smoke alarm goes off in your home and you’re not there.

Firefighters rush to the scene and have no choice but to force open the door or break a window.

But there is a way to allow emergency workers access to your home without them damaging the property.

You can make entry to your home convenient for fire and ambulance services by having a lock box attached to the outside of the house or apartment.

For additional information, contact Fire Department Deputy Chief William LaLiberty at 978-373-8460 or Joel Berg at 978-374-2390, ext. 38.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

What: Making entry to your home convenient for fire and ambulance services by having a lock box attached to the outside of the building.

Where: Homes in Haverhill.

How: Contact Fire Department Deputy Chief William LaLiberty at 978-373-8460 or Joel Berg at 978-374-2390, ext. 38.

Here are events and activities for Haverhill senior citizens:

Stop the bullying of senior citizens: Ten percent to 20 percent of senior citizens have experienced some kind of senior-to- senior aggression, experts say.

Asst. Deputy Jason Ebacher from Sherriff Frank Cousin’s office will be at the Citizens Center on Nov. 13 for a presentation on senior bullying.

This presentation is open to the public, and reservations can be made by calling the Council on Aging at 978-374-2390.

Property tax breaks discussed: You may be entitled to a property tax rebate.

On Nov. 6 at 10:30 a.m., Brian Lynch from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue will be at the Citizens Center to discuss the Circuit Breaker Program. This program is a state income tax credit for eligible Massachusetts residents age 65 and older who paid rent or real estate taxes during the year.

Income restrictions are $53,000 for single and $80,000 for married taxpayers. Assets are not included in the calculation, however, a Massachusetts State Income Tax Form and a Circuit Breaker Schedule CB must be filed. To learn more about this program and to see if you qualify, contact Kathy Bresnahan or Rita LaBella at 978-374-2390 at the Council on Aging.

Halloween dance planned: Get your dancing shoes ready and save the date.

The Council on Aging is planning a Halloween Dance for Oct. 31 at 12:30 p.m. Costumes will be optional, and prizes will be awarded for the best costumes.

A Goodtime D.J. George Whitehouse will provide music, and as a special treat Whitehouse will bring his wicked fun Coney Island Photo booth. More details will be announced.

Bingo games: There are chances to play bingo twice a week at the Citizens Center, 10 Welcome St.

Super bingo is played every Monday at 1 p.m. Regular bingo games are Thursdays at 1 p.m. Players must be 60 or older, or disabled.

Players are welcome to drop in for the fun.

Important Medicare information on the way: Don’t ignore your Medicare mail.

If you have a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan (HMO, PPO), you should be receiving information from your plan by the end of September. It is important to understand and save this information because it explains the changes in your plan for 2014.

During the annual Medicare open enrollment period (now through Dec. 7), you will have a chance to change your plan for next year. SHINE counselors can help you understand your plan changes, as well as other options you may have. For an appointment, contact the Council on Aging at 978-374-2390, ext. 19.

Susan Cripps and Pat Paradis of the Elder Services SHINE program will be at the Citizens Center, 10 Welcome St. on Oct. 30 at 9:30 a.m. to discuss important Medicare information for this year’s reenrollment period.

Body mechanics information session: The event will be offered at the Citizens Center, 10 Welcome St., on Oct. 24 at 10:30 a.m.

Body mechanics refers to the way we move during every day activities. Good body mechanics may be able to prevent or correct problems with posture. Good body mechanics may also protect your body, especially your back, from pain and injury. Rhonda Martin of Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital Network will lead the group in a series of activities including carrying groceries, lifting boxes and household chores to practice proper body mechanics.

Better eating: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a federal program that provides financial assistance to seniors and others who cannot cover the costs of a healthy diet.

The Council on Aging office has applications and can provide information and help to seniors.

Cheaper train rides: People 65 and older are eligible for a 50 percent discount on the commuter train to Boston.

If you would like to learn more about the MBTA Senior/TAP program, please contact Kathy Bresnahan at the Council on Aging.

Tai chi classes: The Council on Aging offers tai chi each Thursday at 9 a.m. and the cost is $5 per one-hour session.

Tai chi helps reduce stress and anxiety, and also helps increase flexibility and balance. It is a self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion. It is low impact and suitable for older adults.

More information is available by calling 978-374-2390.

Continuing your education: The COOL Program at Northern Essex Community College offers interesting and challenging education opportunities for life-long learners who are 50 and older.

This program provides a wide variety of topics to be explored each semester. For additional information, contact Charlene Boucher at 978-659-1225.

Taking in a show: Best of Times is offering “Liza and Judy Together Again” at Venus De Milo in Swansea on Nov. 12.

Tickets are $79 per person and include luncheon, show and motor coach transportation.

Overnight trip planned: Due to popular demand, the Council on Aging is hosting an overnight trip to the White Mountain Hotel in North Conway, N.H., Nov. 21 and 22.

This trip includes great dining, holiday entertainment, special cocktail pricing and shopping at the Christmas Dove and Calef’s Country Store in Barrington, N.H. Cost is $230 per person, double occupancy. Contact the Council on Aging for additional details.

Looking for volunteers: People are needed at the Citizens Center on Mondays and Thursdays from noon until about 3 p.m.

For details, call 978-374-2390.

Yoga classes: Yoga classes are offered to local senior citizens and other residents twice a week at the Citizens Center.

Flyn Costello leads a one-hour class for people of all ages Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. Mary Van Abs offers a 90-minute gentle senior yoga class Tuesdays at 1 p.m. The cost is $5 for a one-hour class and $7.50 for a 90-minute class.

Looking for Medicare volunteers: The SHINE (Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders) Program is looking for Haverhill residents to help Medicare beneficiaries in your community to navigate the Medicare system.

You can become a SHINE counselor and help Medicare beneficiaries understand their Medicare benefits and options. Learn how to simply explain Medicare, compare the costs and benefits of Medicare options. You will volunteer at the Haverhill Senior Center while providing an urgently needed and appreciated service to Haverhill residents.

For more information, please contact Susan Cripps at 978-946-1374 to learn how you can join this valuable program. Cripps and Pat Paradis of the SHINE program will be at the Citizens Center on Oct. 30 at 9:30 a.m. to discuss Medicare information for this year’s reenrollment period.

Improve your golf game: The Council on Aging Golf Clinic at Garrison Golf Course, 660 Hilldale Ave., has begun.

The clinic is held on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. There is also a ladies golf clinic on Monday Mornings at 9 a.m. Contact Ted Murphy at the Garrison Golf Course at 978-374-9380 for more information.

Drivers needed: The NEET (Northern Essex Elder Transport Inc.) program is in need of volunteer drivers to help senior citizens get to medical appointments.

Reimbursement is made at 43 cents per mile. Please contact Kathy Fairchild at 978-388-7474.

Green thumbs wanted: The Haverhill Garden Club is looking for new members.

Membership includes 10 presentations by horticultural experts. Contact Carol Sobel at 978-377-0106 for more information.

Blanket group: The Blankets for Kids group meets every Tuesday from 9:30 to 11 p.m.

No sewing or knitting skills are required, and blankets will go to the Department of Child Services in Haverhill. This is an opportunity for senior citizens and others to volunteer for a valuable cause. Contact Kathy or Rita at 978-374-2390 for details.

Wood carving class offered: The Council on Aging wood carving class is in full swing Fridays at 10 a.m.

Students are taught by master carver Fred Arakelian. He has won many awards over the past 22 years. Registration is required. A carving kit of supplies will be provided at a one-time-per-project charge of $18. Carving knives will be loaned to you for free. Course cost is $5 per class for an eight-week session. Registration is required for new students.

Helping heroes: Local Heroes Inc. is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization working to support our local servicemen, servicewomen and their families.

All donations received go directly to these heroes. Over the last eight years, Local Heroes Inc. has sent more than 15,000 packages to military worldwide. The Council on Aging and Veterans Services would like to help Haverhill senior citizens and others make these donations by collecting items and delivering the donations to the Wilmington Council on Aging. Call 978-374-2390, ext. 11 or 16, for information on what items are requested or to volunteer to help.

Massages offered: Chair massages are available at the Citizens Center on the first Tuesday of every month.

Licensed massage therapist Susan Ploueffe offers senior citizen pricing at $5 per session. This service is provided on a walk-in basis.

For seniors with diabetes: The Diabetes Support Group meets at the Citizens Center on the third Wednesday of each month from 10 to 11 a.m. in Room 45 on the second floor.

Karen DiPietro of Home Health VNA leads the group. This group provides important information to help senior citizens living with diabetes. No reservations are required to attend.

Bingo volunteers: People are needed to work at bingo at the Citizens Center Mondays and Thursdays from noon until 2:30.

Please call 978-374-2390 if you are interested.

Help beautify the city: The Haverhill’s Brightside group is reorganizing and needs help.

Many programs are in progress, including Bloomfest, Adopt-A-Park, community gardens and clean-ups. Interested people are encouraged to become involved help to beautify the city. For more information, contact Elaine Barker at 978-372-3861.

Save this number: Senior citizens can call 800-772-1213 to replace Medicare cards or make changes to addresses or phone numbers.

Changes to direct deposit, proof of benefit amounts, Social Security card applications, field office locations, information messages, Social Security statements and other information can be obtained by calling this number.

Fun and games: Dominoes “Mexican Train” is played at the Citizens Center on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

If you are interested, call the Council on Aging 978-374-2390. An instructor teaches novice players. Also, a Scrabble group has formed and meets at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesdays. Players meet in the library in the basement level of the Citizens Center.

Art classes offered: The Council on Aging is offering on-going Art Classes with Cara Smoley.

Classes will be held every Thursday at 12:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Students should bring a 9-by-12 inch Bristol drawing pad, 2B pencil, and kneaded eraser. Smoley received a certificate in art at Cooper Union in New York City, and received her BFA from the University of Colorado. She is a seasoned art instructor and welcomes students of all levels to her mixed-media classes.

Healthy eating: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a federal program that provides financial assistance to senior citizens and others who cannot cover the costs of a healthy diet.

The Council on Aging office has applications.

Zumba Gold returns: Due to popular demand, the Haverhill Council on Aging announces a second weekly Zumba Gold class on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.

This class will be a Zumba Gold Toning class incorporating light weights into the workout. The class will be taught by certified Zumba Gold instruction Stephanie Smith and will compliment the Thursday Zumba Gold class, which is held at 9:30 a.m. Cost is $5 per class.

Alzheimer’s support: Penacook Place is hosting an Alzheimer’s Family Support Group on the last Wednesday of the month from 6 to 7 p.m.

The group will meet in the conference room at Penacook Place, 150 Water St. Contact Barbara Stricsek at 978-374-0707 for additional information.

Tax help: There are several tax-saving opportunities to assist senior citizens with property taxes available.

Veterans, blind persons, elderly, and hardship deferrals are obtained by application to the Assessors Office at City Hall.

Help needed delivering newsletter: Each month, the Council on Aging distributes more than 2,000 copies of its newsletter, “The Voice,” throughout the city.

The council needs volunteers to collate newsletters and deliver them to specific locations. If you would be interested in helping, please call 978-374-2390, ext. 16.

Transportation services: The Merrimack Valley Transportation offers a program called EZ Trans for people who are at least 60 years old and people who are disabled.

EZ Tran is a “shared ride” service intended to accommodate those who cannot use the MVRTA fixed route bus system. Communities serviced by EZ Trans include Andover, Amesbury, Haverhill, Lawrence, Merrimac, Methuen, Newburyport and North Andover. Rides are also available to Lahey Clinic in Peabody and several Boston hospitals.

Special services require a 21-day application period. Contact the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority at 978-469-6878 for details.

People who are at least 65 years old are eligible for a 50 percent discount on the commuter train to Boston. If you would like to learn more about the MBTA Senior/TAP program, please contact Kathy Bresnahan at the Council on Aging.

Volunteers needed to help seniors: The Council on Aging is seeking volunteers to assist with its Brown Bag program, held on the first Tuesday of every month.

Volunteers are needed for about three hours from 8:45 to 11:30 a.m. There is also a need for drivers to provide transportation to doctor and hospital appointments through the NEET program.

Many senior citizens are no longer able to drive and have difficulty getting to appointments to area hospitals and doctors. If you can give a few hours a month to assist, contact Kathy Fairchild at NEET (Northern Essex Elder Transportation) 978-388-7474. Several additional volunteer opportunities are also available.

Bowling for health: Stay in shape by joining our bowling group which meets on Mondays at 11 a.m. at the newly renovated All Saints Bowling Center at 26 Broadway.

Newsletter: Be sure to pick up a copy of the newsletter, “The Voice,’’ for a complete listing of our activities and trips.

The Voice is available for viewing at www.ci.haverhill.ma.us or you can send your email address to rlabella@cityofhaverhill.com to receive a copy via email.

2013 trips: Several Council on Aging trips are coming up.

They are:

Nov. 13 – Liza and Judy Together Again, $79

Nov. 21 and 22 – White Mountain Hotel, $230

Dec. 31 – New Year’s Eve Day Party at Danversport Yacht Club, $79

Details on all trips and activities are available by contacting Kathy Bresnahan (ext 11) or Rita LaBella (ext 16) at 978-374-2390 or kbresnahan@cityofhaverhill.com.