As human beings we are born to connect. The 2020 publication of the consensus study report of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older, reported some very sobering findings: 25% of Americans 65 and older are socially isolated; social isolation significantly increases a person’s risk of mortality from all causes; social isolation has been associated with an approximately 50% increased risk of developing dementia. And this was a pre-pandemic report! Can you imagine how much the COVID pandemic has increased those percentages?
Well, the Monticello Senior Center is here to help. It has been great to see people back in our senior center and I am excited to say that since we reopened on August 3, over 400 different people have safely participated in center activities. And many of those individuals have been here multiple times. It’s so good to be open again and to be able to provide an avenue to help combat social isolation! Now let’s talk about how we are doing that…
We are starting a new event in November called, Tasty Tuesdays. Meals will be served in the community center Mississippi Room each Tuesday in November. Here is what we will be serving: November 3 – walking taco, fresh fruit cup; November 10 – sloppy jo, chips, pickle; November 17 – turkey sandwich, potato salad, cranberries, pickle; November 24 – hot dog, baked beans, chips, pickle. Each meal also includes dessert and a beverage. You do need to sign up at least one day in advance by 10 a.m. and can do that by calling us as 763-295-2000. The cost is $5 per meal and we ask that you bring a check or exact payment when you come to eat. You can come to enjoy these tasty meals any time between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
There is another new activity that we are adding to our calendar starting in November. People can safely play Yahtzee in the senior center on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. Each person will sit at a table properly distanced from others and will have their own set of dice, cup, tray to shake the dice in, and score sheet. The dice, cup, and tray will be sanitized after each game day. Call the center in advance at 763-295-2000 to reserve your spot.
There is another event we have coming up that I encourage you to participate in. The United States Flag is an important, perhaps, the most important, symbol of our identity and national pride. The history of the Flag reflects the history of our Nation itself. Join us to hear that story on Wednesday, Nov. 11 (Veteran’s Day) at 1 p.m. The speaker, David Jones, has been giving historical presentations since 1996 and is extremely well-versed about the topics he presents. David will be joining us via Zoom. You can come and watch the presentation on the community center big screen, or we can email you the Zoom link so you can participate from your home.
Remember that you can join us for a Zoom Travel Show on Oct. 26 at 11:15 a.m. You can sign up to come to the center for the virtual session or we can email you the Zoom link so you can participate from home. Landmark Tours staff will discuss the changes to the travel industry, as well as talk about the group tours they have ready to book for the second half of 2021 and moving into 2022. If you need help setting up Zoom just let us know.
We have the support of the Minnesota Safety Council to provide driver’s classes at our center. People age 55+ are eligible to receive a 10% auto insurance discount. Four-hour refresher courses for those who have previously completed an eight-hour course will be held on November 19 and December 10, both from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please mail $20 (cash or check) to the senior center in advance and checks are payable to the Monticello Senior Center. Class size is limited, people must register in advance, and masks are required.
We ask that you let us know if you want to get your blood pressure checked at the senior center on Tuesday, October 27. People can come to the center any time between 11 a.m. and noon to get theirs checked.
Caregivers can come to our center and meet with others experiencing a similar situation. Caregivers can check out the Caregiver Support Group that will be meeting at the senior center on Wednesday, October 28 from 1:30-3 p.m. This group provides both support and education and is intended for nonprofessional caregivers. Call the center at 763-295-2000 to reserve your spot.
Open enrollment for Medicare Part D runs thru December 7 and the Senior LinkAge Line can help you figure out which plan is best for you. Reasons to contact them for assistance with comparing Medicare prescription drug plans for 2020: new plans may be available, some existing plans may not be available, plan premiums may change, plan formularies may change, or you may qualify for extra help with prescription drug costs. You can contact Senior LinkAge Line staff at 1-800-333-2433.
You can also go to metroaging.org/presentations to register for virtual presentations about Medicare and health care fraud. There are many dates and times to choose from and there is no charge to participate. Please call me if you want help with this.
We received the November senior center newsletters from the publisher last week. You can pick up a printed copy in the senior center and there are also copies outside the senior center door. You can also access our newsletter on our new website, monticelloseniorcenter.org or on our Facebook page.
Remember to distance yourself from others physically, not socially. Please stay connected and I hope to see you at our senior center soon!