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By Valerie Cranston Special for the Current-Argus A healthy and active lifestyle for seniors is the focus of Senior Circle.
The local Carlsbad Medical Center Senior Circle chapter has many programs for its members. Its mission is to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle for seniors, age 50 and over. Programs focus on continued learning, wellness, health and volunteering as well as a host of social activities. The $15 annual membership also includes discounts, benefits and services.
CMC Senior Circle recently celebrated its fifth anniversary. The local chapter has around 360 members and the Senior Circle center is located at 2423 Bonita Street, on the corner of Bonita and Eighth streets. It is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday
Kathleen MacDonald, Senior Circle advisor, is putting out snacks and popcorn for the Wednesday program, Popcorn and a Movie, at the center located at 2423 Bonita St. At 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays, members gather to watch a Golden Oldie. (Valerie Cranston/Current-Argus)
Kathleen MacDonald became the local chapter’s Senior Circle advisor in January. She moved to Carlsbad from Roswell a year ago. She also serves as volunteer coordinator for CMC’s Auxiliary Pink Ladies and Red Vests.
“The corporate goal for us is to reach 550 members,” MacDonald said, noting the Roswell chapter is the largest in the country with more than 4,000 members.
“Senior Circle is really a hidden treasure in the community. It is really no secret and we are trying hard to get the word out about how much fun we have there and the many benefits we have to offer,” she added.
“There is really no catch – only that the hospital wants to have good relationships with people, primarily folks over
the age of 50,” she said, noting the organization is an investment in the community and a way to establish friendships and promote a healthy lifestyle.
What MacDonald likes most about the organization and her job is the people. She felt a little like an outsider when she first came to Carlsbad. The Senior Circle members were gracious and welcoming.
“There is a lot going on in this town,” she said, despite what many think.
At the local chapter, there are about 150 regular active program participants. While some join solely for the social activities and programs, others join to take advantage of the national and local discounts.
“I’m working on building the senior discount base here locally,” she added.
Open enrollment yoga classes are offered at 9 a.m. Monday and at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Participants may use a chair or mat. The yoga instructor is Judith Gellis.
The Stay Strong, Stay Young class, previously called Strong Bones, is a strength training exercise program held four times a week at 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. This exercise program is designed to help with the pain of arthritis and restoration of balance. Instructor for this program is Margie McKinney.
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scrapbook enthusiasts, there is a gathering at 10:30 a.m. the first Friday of each month. Many bring their current projects to work on and there is always a lot of sharing ideas. Ann Brannon is the scrapbooking coordinator and the Creative Memories consultant is available for assistance and purchasing needs.
A Health Sense Program is offered from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. once a month, date to be announced when the private dining room at the hospital is available. Invited guest speakers talk on various health and wellness topics geared toward age 50 and older. Lunch is provided free of charge for members.
MacDonald said that following a Health Sense talk by Dr. Limonte about how important it is to keep our brains active, Brain Boosters was born and added to the monthly schedule. At 1:30 p.m. Thursdays, members are provided clues to solve mysteries and puzzles and brain teasers to stimulate the gray matter.
At 9:45 a.m. every Tuesday, Florence Golden facilitates a new program called Low Impact Cardio Dance. Members follow a 26-minute video that incorporates simple movements, which can be modified to accommodate any skill level.
Twice a week, at 6 p.m. Monday and 1 p.m. Tuesday, Judy Waldrop instructs those interested in learning how to play Mah Jongg, a Japanese matching game in which the goal is to bring down the stack of tiles to nothing. The game is one of skill, strategy, calculation and some degree of luck. Newcomers are always welcome.
The Wii Bowling Club meets twice a month and no previous bowling experience is necessary, explained MacDonald.
The Poet’s Corner and Book Club met monthly in the past. If any member is interested in resuming either of these programs, they are welcome to call the Senior Circle office at (575) 234-3331, McDonald said.
At 7 p.m. on three Wednesday nights a month, members gather to play games. Many play Canasta, while others get their favorite card or board games going. Facilitator for game night is Terri Hines and MacDonald said the games are known to last into the late night hours occasionally.
The last three Wednesday afternoons of the month, members gather for Popcorn and a Movie. At 1:30 p.m. members come to watch Golden Oldies and not-so Golden Oldies. June Peyton provides the movies, and popcorn and snacks are served. There is also a movie night at 6 p.m. the first Friday of the month.
The first Wednesday of the month is set aside for celebrating members’ birthdays. At 1:30 p.m. cake and coffee are served and a special gift is presented to those attending whose birthdays are being celebrated. Hines provides a beautifully decorated birthday cake for each monthly celebration. The newest program, Mall Walking, was added at the request of members. All mall walkers meet in front of the concession stand at the Carlsbad Mall at 9 a.m. Wednesday and Friday.
“We track the miles we walk,” MacDonald said, noting miles are tracked individually and as a group.
“I’m always open for new ideas,” she said, adding she has had enough interest to re-implement the quick trip program.
“My idea for the first trip is to the Roswell to visit the Roswell Museum and the Anderson Museum and also have lunch,” she said.
MacDonald extended an invitation to seniors to come and check out the programs and social activities at the Senior Circle center. She says there is something for everyone as a member of Senior Circle.
“It really is a great program,” MacDonald said, adding, “it is a sweet deal.”
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