Riding A Golden Wave Into The Senior Years

SENIOR REVIEW

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You graduated from high school in the early 1970s. In college, the Watergate scandal and the fall of Richard Nixon changed the way you looked at public service and politicians.

You are 50 or are looking at that milestone birthday. You are a senior citizen.

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The food bank at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church is operated by the St. Vincent dePaul Society. Volunteers Pat Pettit, Phyllis Hall and Richard Coleman are part of the crew that sorts contributions, stocks shelves and builds food boxes for those who benefit from the food bank.

Don't freak out. Embrace it. There is a reason they are called "the golden years."

Visit the Web sites for the American Association of Retired Persons (www.aarp.org) and Senior Circle (www.seniorcircle.com), the benefits are bountiful.

Through AARP, members can obtain insurance, automobiles, health care, financial and legal services, education loans, travel discounts, entertainment and outdoor recreational opportunities, home improvement and security, computers and access to the Internet.

Joining the Senior Circle there are "HealthPERKS" such as a pharmacy discount card, an emergency response discount with ADT, and an EyeMed Vision Care discount.

Senior Circle members can also get deals on the PeoplePC (Internet provider) plan, a national travel program, Choice Hotels discounts, car rental discounts and publications.

If you're turning 50, or recently celebrated that particular birthday, you have already been sent a number of mailings from AARP. To become a member of this organization -- the leading nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for "senior citizens" -- you only have to be 50.

To join the Senior Circle, 50 is also the magic age.

To become a member of Payson's Senior Center, you have to wait a little longer -- 60 is the minimum age of its participants.

Participants in the popular educational travel programs offered through Elderhostel at Northern Arizona University must be at least 55.

The mission of AARP is to enhance quality of life for all as we age. It has taken the lead for positive social change and provides information, advocacy and service for its members.

Started in 1958, the founding principles of AARP are promote independence, dignity and purpose for older persons, enhance the quality of life for older persons and encourage older people "to serve, not to be served."

The Senior Circle Association is a nonprofit, tax-paying membership organization that makes life better fordults age 50 and older. The Payson organization is one of more than 70 chapters nationwide, sponsored by hospitals affiliated with Community Health Systems.ayson Regional Medical Center sponsors the area's chapter.

The core of the Senior Circle program is the commitment to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle for seniors by providing programs that encourage continued learning, wellness, health and volunteering, coupled with a host of social activities.

Each local chapter builds a unique menu of in-hospital benefits, health education, fellowship, travel and entertainment activities, local discounts and a bi-monthly chapter publication to meet members' needs and interests.

The Payson Senior Center has three main functions: providing meals to homebound senior citizens; a congregate meal for seniors at the center on Main Street; and transportation services.

Elderhostel is America's first and the world's largest educational travel organization for adults 55 and older. It is a not-for-profit organization that provides exceptional learning adventures to nearly 160,000 older adults each year. It offers almost 8,000 programs in more than 90 countries.

The driving philosophy behind Elderhostel is the belief that learning is a lifelong pursuit that opens minds and enriches lives; that sharing new ideas, challenges and experiences is rewarding in every season of life.

The first NAU Elderhostel program was held the summer of 1983. To date, the university has hosted more than 4,500 older adults through 140 weeks of programs.

To learn more about AARP in Payson, contact Dr. Virginia Creager at (928) 474-8936. She can be reached from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Monday through Friday.

For information about the Payson chapter of the Senior Circle, call (928) 472-9290.

Details about the meals, transportation and programs at the Payson Senior Center are available by calling (928) 474-4876.

Those interested in NAU's Elderhostel program can call (928) 523-2359.

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