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Seniors club provides guidance

April 13, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

FUNKSTOWN - When Betty Mongan hears what some people think happens at senior citizens meetings, she smiles.

"It seems like a good idea to have programs that can give seniors valuable information," said Mongan, 79, president of the Funkstown Senior Citizens Club.

She said some people have a stereotypical image of older people sitting around and playing cards or talking about the old days.

In November, Washington County Election Board representatives Clyde Tate and Dorothy Waters demonstrated the new voting machines at the club's monthly meeting, giving members the opportunity to try the machines out before the March primary election.

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"We had Hagerstown attorney Michael Day speak to us on long-term care," Mongan said.

In addition, there have been programs on State Use Industries and C&O Canal Historical Park and a demonstration of chair caning.

At the April meeting, Katrina Eversole from the Washington County Commission on Aging spoke on the subject of insurance and gave the members a Medicare update, club program director Barbara King.

"We have also had Pat Ford, a registered nurse, speak to us about joint replacements," King said.

Bob Rankin came to one meeting to explain pre-planning of last wishes/funerals.

That's not to say the group doesn't have fun. There is a Christmas party every year, occasional eat-out dinners and a summertime picnic.

"And we had a speaker from the Hagerstown Suns once who told us about special offers for seniors at games," Mongan said.

Many members of the seniors group meet informally on the fourth Tuesday of each month at Gracie's Place in Funkstown for coffee and doughnuts at 8 a.m. Anyone is welcome to join in, Mongan said.

The club, which formed in the mid-1980s, meets on the second Monday of every month at 1 p.m. at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Funkstown. There are 35 to 40 active members, including couples and singles, Mongan said.

"I have a presence in the group, but Betty and the others actually conduct the meetings," said the Rev. Darrell Layman, pastor of St. Paul's. Layman has contributed topics to the group when asked.

Layman said the group represents a cross-section of the community, bringing a wide range of experiences together.

While there are no dues required, Mongan said a basket is passed at each meeting. The money collected is contributed to a number of agencies, including the Community Free Clinic, The W House, The Salvation Army and St. Paul's.

"We also give memorials to members who have passed on," Mongan said.

With the summer season approaching, King is looking ahead to September for her program topic.

"I'd really like to do a program on reverse mortgages, which is something seniors need to know more about," she said.

Anyone 55 years of age and older is eligible to join the group. For more information, call Mongan at 301-733-2859.

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