Editor’s note: The Haverhill Council on Aging provides this regular column to the Gazette.

Giving Tree provides holiday help: The Council on Aging’s Giving Tree is up, allowing people to help those in need during the holidays. You can stop by the Citizens Center lobby at 10 Welcome St. and pick up a gift tag. All gifts will be brought to local nursing homes and distributed to senior citizens. Contact Kathy Bresnahan or Rita LaBella at 978-374-2390 for additional information.

New Year’s Eve party planned: Haverhill COA and Best of Times are hosting a New Year’s Eve Day party at Castleton in Windham, N.H. Entertainment will be provided by “One for the Road,” a Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin tribute. Guests will enjoy their choice of maple dijon glazed pork loin with apple chutney or chicken marsala. Dancing will be to the music of the Ray Cavicchio band. Tickets are $54 per person. Transportation is not provided. Contact Kathy Bresnahan or Rita LaBella at the Council on Aging at 978-374-2390 for details.

Bingo helpers sought: Volunteers to work at bingo are need at the Citizens Center Mondays and Thursdays from noon to 2:30 p.m. Anyone who is interested is asked to call 978-374-2390.

Senior citizens sought for gardening: Active retirees may want to help out with gardening and pruning. The Haverhill Garden Club has been planting and maintaining the gardens at City Hall and the Citizens Center. Much labor is required to maintain the beds, and volunteers are needed. Anyone interested is asked to contact Kathy Bresnahan at 978-374-2390.

Brightside seeks volunteers: Haverhill’s Brightside group is reorganizing and is seeking the public’s help. Many programs are in progress including Bloomfest, Adopt-A-Park, community gardens, and cleanups. Interested people are encouraged to become involved. For additional information, contact Elaine Barker at 978-372-3861.

Line dancing class offered: The Council on Aging is offering a new line dancing class on Mondays at 11 a.m. Cost is $5 per person. Instructor Susan Tribble is a seasoned professional and works at many area senior citizen centers. Students will learn new dances. Call 978-374-2390 for additional details or to register.

Phone checks aid senior citizens: The Greater Haverhill Breakfast Exchange Club is sponsoring a new free program titled “Phone Pals” for housebound Haverhill senior citizens. Participants will be contacted by phone on a daily or weekly schedule by trained volunteers. This program offers health care reminders, referrals to appropriate service providers, education information, and emergency safety checks. Phone Pals is free and offered as a public service by the Greater Haverhill Breakfast Exchange Club. Funding is provided by the Griffin-White Foundation. Contact Elizabeth Vallerand, program coordinator, at 978-398-5228 or myphonepal@yahoo.com for additional information.

Medicare changes can be made by phone: 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 that number.

Second Zumba class offered: Due to popular demand, the 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. It will be taught by certified Zumba Gold instructor Stephanie Smith and will complement the Thursday Zumba Gold class, which is held at 9:30 a.m. Cost is $5 per class.

Support provided for Alzheimer’s patient families: 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 savings available: Did you know there are several ways to help senior citizens with property tax savings? Veterans, blind people, the elderly and those suffering hardships can receive applications at the Assessors Office in City Hall.

Volunteers needed for newsletter: Each month, the Council on Aging distributes more than 2,000 copies of its newsletter, “The Voice,” throughout the city. The council is seeking volunteers to collate and deliver newsletters. If you are interested in helping, call 978-374-2390, ext. 16.

New game played at Citizens Center: The Dominoes “Mexican Train” game is played at the Citizens Center on Thursdays at 10:30. If you are interested, call the Council on Aging at 978-374-2390. An instructor will teach novice players.

Scrabble games played: 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 art classes with Cara Smoley on Thursdays from 12:15 to 1:45 p.m. Students should bring a 9-by-12 Bristol drawing pad, 2B pencil, and kneaded eraser. Smoley received a certificate in art at Cooper Union in New York City and her BFA from the University of Colorado. She welcomes experienced and inexperienced students.

Healthy food provided: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides financial assistance to senior citizens and others who cannot cover the costs of a healthy diet. Applications are available at the Council on Aging office.

Volunteers sought: Workers are needed for bingo at the Citizens Center Mondays and/or Thursdays from noon until 2:30. Please contact Kathy or Rita at 978-374-2390.

Rides to doctor, hospital provided: Merrimack Valley Transportation offers the EZ Trans program for people at least 60 years old or 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.

Health insurance advice offered: If you have any issues or questions regarding your health insurance, contact one of our SHINE counselors. Appointments can be made by calling 978-374-2390, ext. 19.

Discount on train rides available: People who are at least 65 years old are eligible for a 50 percent discount on the commuter train to Boston. More information about the MBTA Senior/TAP program is available by calling Kathy Bresnahan at the Council on Aging.

Yoga classes offered: Yoga is offered twice a week at the Citizens Center. Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m., Flyn Costello leads a one-hour class for people of all ages. On Tuesdays at 1 p.m., Mary Van Abs offers a 90-minute gentle senior yoga class. Cost is $5 for a one-hour class and $7.50 for a 90-minute class.

Trips planned: The Council on Aging plans the following trips:

Dec. 31: New Years Eve Day, Castleton, $54, no transportation provided

Feb. 4 to 22: Australia and New Zealand, price to be announced

April 26: Joanne Travel, Don Who at Wright Farm, $49

Details of 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 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 your copy via email.

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