hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

November 14, 2013

20th annual Festival of Trees to offer seniors free admission


The Haverhill Gazette

---- — The event may be in Methuen, but some Haverhill people are rallying to be there.

The 20th annual Festival of Trees will be from Nov. 23 to Dec. 7 at 13 Branch St., Methuen.

The event will have senior citizens and Red Hatter days on Nov. 23 and 24 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free for senior citizens and members of the Red Hatters social organization.

IF YOU GO

What: Methuen’s 20th annual Festival of Trees senior citizens and Red Hatter days

When: Nov. 23 and 24, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Where: 13 Branch St., Methuen

Admission: Free for senior citizens and Red Hatter group members

Here are events and activities for Haverhill senior citizens:

Thanksgiving luncheon: The Council on Aging is planning a Thanksgiving luncheon for Nov. 19 at 12:30 p.m.

A turkey meal will be provided by Broadway Caterers. Tickets are $6 per person.

Bowling for exercise and fun: Looking for a way to stretch out your legs, get a little exercise and have some fun?

Look no further than the newly renovated All Saints Bowling Center at 26 Broadway. The Council on Aging’s weekly bowling group meet at the center on Mondays at 11 a.m.

Although the center is often used by students from St. Joseph School of All Saints Parish, there is plenty of room for senior citizens to join in on the fun.

Train ride discounts: 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Brown Bag volunteers needed: The Council on Aging is looking for volunteers to help with its Brown Bag program held on the first Tuesday of every month.

Volunteers are needed from 8:45 a.m. 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, contact Kathy Fairchild at NEET (Northern Essex Elder Transportation) at 978-388-7474. Several additional volunteer opportunities are also available.

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.

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. 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.

Be sure to pick up a copy of our newsletter, “The Voice,’’ for 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.