The Eastern New Mexico Medical Center chapter of Senior Circle has more than 4,000 members and what great members they are!
“With so many members, we couldn’t manage without our volunteers,” said Marifrank DaHarb, Senior Circle director. “We have several who devote a half day a week doing whatever needs to be done – answering the phone, helping walk-ins, doing mailings,” she said. “But we also have volunteers for special things such as staffing tables at health fairs and labeling our newsletters for mailing!”
But Senior Circle does much more than provide a workplace for people who volunteer! Open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the organization offers many activities.
Aerobics classes are held at 9 a.m. four days a week, with line dancing on the fifth day. Two different yoga classes are held each week. Tai Chi is offered twice a week, and our most popular exercise class, Strong Bones, is held three times a week. That class helps keep osteoporosis at bay and can even improve it!
A movie is shown every Monday (including popcorn!). There’s a monthly book club, two health talks a month, usually featuring a physician. Those talks are open to the public and there are always refreshments.
“We have a nurse here on Wednesdays to take blood pressure and administer free flu shots during flu season,” DaHarb said. “The vaccine and supplies are provided by the hospital.”
DaHarb said activities for “mental health” are offered too, including meeting for lunch once a week, offering craft activities and classes and a monthly birthday party.
Also, Senior Circle has five computers up and running on the Internet that members are welcome to come in and use during office hours. Cindy Bolin is Senior Circle’s computer guru and she’s also a Notary Public offering free Notary services to members as well as copying and faxing. Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell provides a computer instructor who comes in once a week. And we have a member who offers classes on iPhones and tablets.
“We have a choral group directed by Vonnie Goss. They’re wonderful and seem to be having a great time. They rehearse at 10:30 Tuesday mornings and could use more singers, especially men! They usually perform at our monthly birthday parties and sometimes go out to retirement homes to entertain.
“Senior Circle’s trips are very popular,” DaHarb said. “For the rest of this year, there are trips to San Antonio, Texas; Australia and New Zealand; and California for the Tournament of Roses. And we’re considering a trip to Branson, Missouri.”
DaHarb said people interested in trips do not have to be Senior Circle members, or even seniors.
Senior Circle is a resource of Eastern New Mexico Medical Center for people in the area age 50 or older. Nationwide, there are 120 chapters in 29 states and more than 100,000 members. ENMMC’s chapter, which celebrates its 15th anniversary in April, is the largest in the nation.
Since Senior Circle is sponsored by the hospital, there are benefits at the hospital such as a free upgrade to a private room if one is available and a daily free meal for the spouse or caregiver. And one of the most popular features is the Senior Circle discount list of about 150 businesses in town. Most of the discounts are unique to Senior Circle members.
DaHarb said membership in Senior Circle is just $15 a year or $27 for two people in the same household. “We’re nonprofit, so with the hospital’s support, most of our activities are free,” DaHarb said. “Of course, meals out and trips are paid by members.”
For more information, people can call the office at 623-2311. The office is located in the Wilshire Center, 2801 N. Main St., next door to Family Dollar, and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.