By Barbara Wells
The Meridian Star
Seniors in our community should know that there are agencies here that are trying to keep their best interests at heart.
From what I see in our scrapbooks here at Meridian Activity Center, in the "good ole days" there was an active Senior Citizen Club back in the 20th Century. They traveled by busload to visit our governor in an attempt to lower property taxes, traveled to fish camps, had barbeques, all kinds of activities. At one time, the club had 368 members who met in the old Senior Citizens Center (where Fire Station No. 1 is located on 14th Street).
Today, we have numerous agencies and groups that cover various needs of the older population. The Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) led by Diana Glover (601-482-0512); Lifetime Quest (601-484-8696 Leah Hill); Multi-County Community Service Agency, which works with special needs seniors through Meals-On-Wheels, Foster Grandparent Program, weatherization of homes, etc. (601- 483-4838); Lauderdale County Council on Aging, which plans the May Is Older Americans Month activities; and Meridian Activity/Senior Citizen Center (601-485-1812). Several retiree groups meet at the center on a monthly basis: AARP, United Auto Workers, Retired Teachers, Telephone Pioneers, Daughters of the American Revolution, just to name a few.
Did you know: If you are a member (yearly dues) of Lifetime Quest at Meridian Community College, you can audit any general education classes for free? They usually meet weekly over lunch with a guest speaker, but a weekly bulletin alerts every one to what is happening, a short trip, luncheon, etc. And, Mississippi State University-Meridian campus also allows seniors (over the age of 65) to attend classes for free at the branch. However, if you have not gone to MSU as a student, you will need to fill out an application for a small fee, buy any books required in the class, etc.
Volunteering: The Road to Recovery
Road to Recovery is an American Cancer Society program designed to ensure that cancer patients have transportation to and from medical facilities for treatments. Volunteer drivers provide patients with a ride in order to keep them on their regular treatment schedule. Anyone who has a driver’s license, a safe driving record, personal automobile insurance, owns a car or has access to one, and has a little free time is encouraged to volunteer.
On Tuesday, from 1 p.m.-3 p.m., Lillie Willis will lead a training session for anyone who would give of their time at Anderson Regional Cancer Center, 1704 23rd Ave. Phone (601) 520-4740 (or email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Since Tom Milhorn came to us over six years ago, we have been filling our computer room of eight Hewlett Packards with students every five weeks. When his sister moved here, we hired her to teach. Tom has been volunteering his time, two classes a week.
Last summer, Michael Remy told me he would like to teach classes on the use of iPhone and iPad. The response has been incredible! Word of mouth has been the best advertising for this engaging five-week night class.
We are looking for someone willing/able to teach Windows 8 and another person to share their knowledge of Galaxy cell phones. People still ask about a class on eBay and Facebook. We just need that special person who has time to share.
At one time, The Meridian Star published a column about the latest in computers, cell phones and other technology. Greg Bott was the writer of that column. He was gracious enough to spend a morning with a group here exploring their cell phones. The problem with such an "open" meeting as that one: Everyone had a different cell phone!
Our eight Hewlett Packard desktop computers were donated to Meridian Activity Center nine years ago and have been updated twice. That was a Lauderdale County Council on Aging gift to the seniors of the area. If we were able to get someone to donate today, we’d ask for iPads or Kindles, etc. More and more seniors are replacing their home desktops for something more portable.
However, with the line up of people wanting a Windows 8 class, we are searching for another volunteer who enjoys teaching. If you qualify, please give me a call at (601) 485-1812.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Ms. Donna Lamberth, who taught one-stroke painting techniques at the center for years. Also for the family and friends of Ms. Kay Penson, who often came to socialize and play cards.
That our time on this earth is limited is not a topic many of us want to address, but in an attempt to ease the suffering of those who need to make critical decisions we are planning a brief meeting at the center on Nov. 22 at 11 a.m. Soup will be served.
RSVP will provide copies of forms used in the state of Mississippi: a Durable Power of Attorney form, a Will, and an Advanced Directive. You can fill out the pertinent information and we will get it notarized for you to make it legal. If you are more comfortable doing this at home, come by and pick up your copy and take it with you. This should be something you discuss with your loved ones in a stress free environment.
If you have questions, please call the center.
Seniors can be more susceptible to types of flu that do not seem to affect younger people; therefore there is a “high dose” flu shot offered to seniors by the Mississippi Department of Health. They will be here Wednesday, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Pneumonia shots are also available.
Learn to love exercise
Don’t miss our afternoon exercise classes: Free yoga on Monday and Thursday at 5:30 p.m.; Zumba, Monday and Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m.; Slimnastics, Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 4:30 p.m.
Seated exercise class is featured four days a week, beginning at 9 a.m. Floor exercise, yoga and strength training, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Walking trail outside, five times around is 1 mile!
Meridian Activity Center (3300 32nd Ave.) is located off 29th Avenue and 36th Street. Look for our small street signs and then, as you turn onto 32nd Avenue you will see our arched sign at the end of the street as you enter the compound. Call for details: (601) 485-1812.
• Barbara Wells is director of Meridian Activity Center. You may e-mail her at email@example.com