Senior Circle Encompasses Health, Education



Opportunities for health education, social and creative activities and discounts on services are all part of the package at the Payson Regional Senior Circle.

"There is a distinct difference between us and the Senior Center," said Cory Houghton of Payson Regional Medical Center and adviser to the Senior Circle.


Of all the services and activities provided by the Senior Circle and Senior Center, perhaps the most important is the simplest -- giving older adults a place to go and be with other people.

The Circle is part of a national organization sponsored by hospitals belonging to Community Health Systems, the parent company of PRMC. So, among its benefits are discounts and upgrades on a variety of medical services, plus access to medical supplies for home care and recovery through the Circle's Medical Loan Closet.

The Circle's health education program includes the opportunity to hear from the area's health care providers. Dr. Matthew Harris, who has opened Eagle Springs Family Medicine, will be the guest speaker at the Circle's "Lunch and Learn" July 25 and "Dessert with the Doctor" Aug. 2. He will also be the guest on the PRMC-sponsored radio show, "Doc Talk," July 19 on KMOG.

Dr. Don Culwell, an obstetrician and gynecologist with Preferred Women's Care PLLC, will be on the radio show Aug. 16. The show airs from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

"Doctors are seeking us out to participate," said Kathy Coombes, volunteer coordinator for the Circle. She said Dr. Harris will be talking to the members about the importance of exercise.

Betty Pontiuous, a registered nurse, provides pedicures to Circle members for only $20 on Thursday afternoons. Discounts on massage and reflexology by Diane Dodge are also available to members. To make an appointment with Pontiuous, call (928) 472-9290. For more information on massage and reflexology treatments, call (928) 970-1773.

Circle members can also get training in first aid and HeartsaverCPR. The program is held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. the last Saturday of the month. For details, contact Lynn Sommars, director of risk/education management for PRMC, at (928) 472-1256.

In addition to speakers, discounted treatments and training, the Circle also provides a resource library on such things as cancer, diabetes, fibromyalgia, heart disease, arthritis and restless leg syndrome.

In addition, support groups for cancer, fibromyalgia and restless leg syndrome are available, Coombes said.

There are also health fairs -- four a year -- and screenings. The next health fair is July 27 at the Payson Regional Health Outreach Facility. Members who have not attended a health fair or screening in the past six months may reserve a spot by calling (928) 472-9290.

A special health program, "Understanding Dementia" is planned this week in a combined effort by the Circle and the Payson Senior Center.

Presented by the Alzheimer's Association, the program is from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday, July 20 at the Senior Center, 514 W. Main St.

The program will show the differences between "normal" aging and dementia, including the stages and medications used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Tips on communication will also be discussed.

If you have any questions, or to register, call The Alzheimer's Association at (602) 528-0545.

Another special program on learning the signs of eye disease is being scheduled.

Among the Circle's other regular programs are groups for passive exercise, crafts, knitting and crocheting, and line dancing.

On occasion, the Circle sponsors trips, such as the upcoming trip to the Sedona Jazz Festival.

The day trip to Sedona's Jazz on the Rocks festival is Saturday, Sept. 23. Round trip bus transportation, a catered lunch, refreshments and admission to the event are available for $85 per person.

Senior Circle or Healthy Woman members and their guests are eligible. Nonrefundable tickets must be reserved with 50 percent due by July 20. Only 40 tickets will be sold, so reserve your seat now by calling (928) 472-9290 or (928) 472-1275.

For more information about the festival, visit

Among the many benefits of Senior Circle membership are free and discounted services:

  • eyeglass card discount
  • prescription care discount
  • mail order pharmacy
  • free or discounted exercise classes

A new addition to the list is a discounted membership at the Tonto Apache Tribe's recreation center.

The Senior Circle in Payson has been selected to serve as a satellite office for the Arizona Attorney General, Coombes said. It is the first of these offices to serve central Arizona and seven members and staff have been trained to provide special services.

Through this community-based venue, residents will have easier access to information on consumer fraud, civil and victim's rights, and other topics. Individuals can be assisted in filing complaints with the Attorney General's Office in a confidential manner.

The volunteers who received the special training will also be making educational presentations to community groups and distributing educational materials at community events.

The service is available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the Senior Circle. For more information, call (928) 472-9290, or call 800-352-8431.

To join the PRMC Senior Circle, the cost is only $15 per person per year, or $27 per couple per year.

The Senior Circle facility is at 215 N. Beeline Highway.

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