hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

May 8, 2014

Time to test out your green thumb


The Haverhill Gazette

---- — Spring is here and the city’s Garden Club is getting ready for good-weather projects.

The club is also looking for people to help with plantings around the city.

Membership includes 10 presentations by horticultural experts and a variety of projects during the planting season. It also gives Garden of the Month awards.

What: Garden Club seeks members

What is provided: 10 presentations by horticultural experts and several special planting projects

How to participate: Contact Carol Sobel at 978-377-0106.

Here are other local events and activities for senior citizens:

Eating a healthy diet: A representative from Commonwealth Care Alliance will be at the Council on Aging, 10 Welcome St., May 19, at 11:45 a.m. for a presentation on Eating a Healthy Diet and effective Chronic Disease Self Management.

Commonwealth Care Alliance is a nonprofit medical care delivery organization in Massachusetts. The Senior Care Options program is designed for people 65 and older and eligible for Masshealth Standard, or both Masshealth Standard and Medicare. The model of care is patient-centric and team-based while providing comprehensive and flexible benefits and services. There is no other Medicare Advantage special needs plan for people in Massachusetts 65 or older that is rated more highly for quality and performance by Medicare. Refreshments will be provided and registration is required.

Vartabedian speaks: Tom Vartabedian will do a presentation on his vacation to the National Parks on May 20 at 10 a.m.

He will share his experience and photos of his vacation. He is a longtime writer and photographer for the Gazette.

Legal checkup: May Is National Elder Law Month. Faith Delaney, elder law attorney in Haverhill, is giving a talk at the Citizen’s Center on May 22 titled “Taking Control of Your Future: A Legal Checkup.’’

She will provide senior citizens information regarding the legal documents every senior should have in place to ensure that he or she is in control in the future, or has the person the senior trusts in control. She will also give people tips on trusts and protecting assets from potential nursing home costs. Delaney is a Haverhill native who has been practicing law for 20 years.

Safety with the Seasons: Lesley Zamansky, RN and Erica Venuti, RN, community health nurses for Guardian Healthcare will present Safety with the Seasons.

As spring and summer approach, learn ways to stay safe and healthy — recognizing and caring for insect bites, protecting yourself from over exposure to heat and sun, proper nutrition/hydration, safety with mobility and fall prevention, how the different seasons can affect your health. The presentation will be May 14 at 10:30 a.m. at the Citizens Center; 10 Welcome St. Luncheon will follow at 11 a.m. Goody bags will be handed out with informational material. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Mary Connolly at 978-374-2390, ext. 15.

Home Modification Loan Program: On June 9, Alan Trebat will speak on the Home Modification Loan Program at 10:30 a.m. at the Citizens Center, 10 Welcome St.

The Home Modification Loan Program was established by the Massachusetts legislature to provide loans in amounts between $1,000 and $30,000 for modifications to the primary, permanent residence of elders, and individuals with disabilities. These loans allow homeowners in Massachusetts to remain in their home and must specifically relate to a person in the household’s ability to function on a daily basis.

Cape May trip: The council is offering an overnight trip to Wildwood Crest and Cape May, New Jersey, June 3 to 6.

The trip includes oceanfront accommodations at the Pan American or Port Royal Hotel in Wildwood Crest, seven meals, entertainment each evening, a visit to Atlantic City, a guided tour of Renault Winery, and a guided tour of historic Cape May. Cost for this trip is $459 per person, double occupancy. Contact the Council on Aging for more information.

New trips: The Council on Aging is offering many new trips.

Contact the council if you are interested in joining any of the following excursions: May 18 — Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Seaport, $89; May 20 — North Shore Acappella at Luciano’s, $79; June 7 — Boston Pops at Symphony Hall, $94; June 11 — The Temptations at Venus de Milo, $79; July 23 — Best of the Golden Oldies at Danversport Yacht Club, $79; July 26 — Boston Harbor Tours, $79; July 29 — The Spirit of Boston, $79; Aug. 9 — Cruise Lake Sunapee and N.H. Craftsmen Annual Fair, $89; Aug. 13 — Great American Song Book with Lydia Harrell at Fosters Clambake, $85; and Aug. 17 — Martha’s Vineyard, $89.

Sudoku group: The Council on Aging Is starting a basic Sudoku group.

If you have any interest in participating, call 978-374-2390.

Mothers Day tea: The Council on Aging will host a Mother’s Day tea on May 12 at Haverhill Crossings, 254 Amesbury Road.

Entertainment will be provided by musician Eric McFadden. Admission is free. Reservations are by calling 978-374-2390.

‘Bones and Brain’ exercise: The exercise class “Bones and Brain” is underway Mondays at 11 a.m.

Classes will be held at the Citizens Center, 10 Welcome St. This is a comprehensive program of fitness appropriate for senior citizens. The program focuses on balance training to prevent falls, strength training to increase bone density, and age-appropriate trivia to challenge the brain. By incorporating trivia questions along with the workout not only challenge your body, but your brain, too. To register or for more information, call 978-374-2390, ext. 11 or 16.

Trip planned to a cappella show: The Council on Aging and Best of Times is offering a trip to Luciano’s Lake Pearl in Wrentham on May 20 for a North Shore Acappella performance.

Price for this trip is $79 per person and includes motor coach transportation, luncheon and show.

It’s a SNAP: The Greater Boston Food Bank has established a SNAP Outreach Program.

Every Monday and Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Citizens Center, 10 Welcome St., Brittany Mangini, a SNAP application assistance counselor, will be available to help elders with the application process and following up with the Department of Transitional Assistance. There have been many changes to the eligibility for this benefit, so even if you have applied before or don’t think you’re eligible, stop by to talk to Mangini to make sure you get the benefits you deserve. For additional information, contact Mangini at 617-431-8341 or bmangini@gbfb.org or stop by the Citizens Center to see her.

Bowling for men and women: The Council on Aging bowling group offers senior citizens a way to get some exercise and have some fun. The group meets on Mondays, with men bowling at 9:30 a.m. and women at 11 a.m. at the renovated All Saints Bowling Center, 26 Broadway. The cost is three strings for $4.50, including shoe rental and coffee. More information is available by calling 978-374-0083.

Continuing education offered: The COOL Program at Northern Essex Community College offers educational 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.

Volunteers sought: Volunteers are needed at the Citizens Center on Mondays and Thursdays from noon to 3 p.m.

For details, call 978-374-2390.

Popular exercise class offered: Zumba Gold has become one of the Council on Aging’s most popular classes.

Instructor Stephanie Smith has her class dancing up a storm. Classes are held every Thursday at 9:30 a.m. and the cost is $5 per week. This is offered as a drop-in class, so come to the Citizens Center and join the fun.

Scrabble games played: Senior citizens have a chance to play Scrabble in an organized group setting.

The group meets Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m. in the Citizens Center. New players are welcome.

Bingo games played: Bingo is played at the Citizens Center, 10 Welcome St., every Monday and Thursday at 1 p.m.

Super Bingo is played on Mondays only. Players 60 and older or those who are disabled are welcome to play.

Drivers sought: The NEET (Northern Essex Elder Transport, Inc.) program is seeking volunteer drivers to help senior citizens get to medical appointments.

Reimbursement is 43 cents per mile. Anyone interested is asked to contact Kathy Fairchild at 978-388-7474.

Making blankets for needy children: The Blankets for Kids group meets Tuesdays from 9:30 to 11 a.m. No sewing or knitting skills are required.

Blankets go to the Department of Child Services in Haverhill. This is an opportunity for senior citizens and others to volunteer for a valuable cause. Call 978-374-2390 for details.

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

All donations received go to these people. Over the last eight years, Local Heroes Inc. has sent more than 15,000 packages to military personnel across the globe. Local Heroes Inc. Acts of charity from the community are extremely important to the success of troops. The Haverhill Council on Aging and Veterans Services would like to help Haverhill senior citizens and others make these donations by collecting items in Haverhill and delivering donations to the Wilmington Council on Aging. Call 978-374-2390, ext. 11 or ext. 16, for information on what items are requested or to volunteer to help with this project.

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

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

Help for diabetics and their families: 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.

Reducing stress, developing balance in life: Tai Chi helps reduce stress and anxiety, and also helps increase flexibility and balance.

It is a self-paced system of gentle physical exercises 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. The Council on Aging offers tai chi on Thursdays at 9 a.m. The cost is $5 per one-hour session. Call 978-374-2390 for details.

Help sought for bingo games: Volunteers to work at bingo are need at the Citizens Center Mondays and Thursdays from noon to 2:30 p.m.

Anyone interested is asked to call 978-374-2390.

Making key changes with a phone call: 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.

Mexican Train game played: The Dominos Mexican Train game is played at the Citizens Center on Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

If you are interested, contact the Council on Aging 978-374-2390. An instructor teaches novice players.

Art classes offered: The Council on Aging is offering art classes with Cara Smoley.

Classes are held every Thursday from 12:15 to 1:45 p.m. Students should bring a 9-by-12 Bristol drawing pad, a 2B pencil and a 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 both experienced and inexperienced students into her mixed-media classes.

Healthy diet help provided: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is a federal program that provides financial assistance to senior citizens and others who cannot afford the cost of a healthy diet.

The Council on Aging office has applications for the program.

Help for families of Alzheimer’s victims: 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.

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

Newsletter has complete listings: The Council on Aging’s newsletter, The Voice, has a complete listing of 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 your copy via email.