We have been getting a lot of phone calls inquiring about tax assistance.  Volunteers at AARP Tax Aide are working on a plan to try to safely offer this free service at our center again this year, but we don’t have all the details yet.  We are asking people to wait until the last week in January to call us, as we hope by that time we will be ready to schedule appointments.  I will give an update in next week’s newspaper article.  You can also watch for updates on our website and Facebook page.

Social media is a great way to keep in touch with people these days.  One I have been using quite a bit is Zoom – lots of meetings that used to be in person are now held via Zoom.  Do you have a bit of experience with Zoom but wish to learn more?  If so, we can help.  Joe Kaul of our HOME Program/Tech Support will guide you through an informative hour.  He will discuss the basics and answer any questions that you might have.  Visit our website, monticelloseniorcenter.org, and get the link on the activities calendar or send an email to pam.loidolt@ci.monticello.mn.us and a link will be emailed to you.  This class will be offered on both January 15 and February 19 at 1:30 p.m.

We will be using Zoom for a very interesting presentation we have coming up later this month.  Doug Ohman is a Minnesota historian, storyteller, and professional photographer.  He has given many wonderful presentations at our center over the past few years and they have been very well attended.  Doug will be joining us live via Zoom on Thursday, January 28 to give a presentation called, “Saving History,” and you can travel with him as he chronicles lost history.  With the use of a metal detector and camera, Doug has respectfully recovered and photographed artifacts that help us reconnect to our past.  He will bring local history to life.  You can come to the center on the 28th for the 1:30 p.m. presentation or we can email you the Zoom link so you can participate from home.  As with all senior center events, advance registration is required.  Call at 763-295-2000 if you plan to attend or if you would like us to email you the Zoom link.

You can also contact us to participate in either or both of two wonderful virtual programs we have coming up.  One of these programs is called, “Mindful Presence:  Compassionate Care for Self and Others.”  Being fully present to those in our lives with whom we care for can be a challenge, especially in these stressful times.  This new, six-week workshop focuses on two parts of the mindful presence process:  personal stress management and compassionate care.  Each week will explore an aspect of the Mindful Presence Model with hands on practices designed to manage stress and develop skills to be deeply compassionate to others in our lives.  This workshop will be offered free of charge by Dr. Steve Hoover, professor from SCSU on six consecutive Wednesdays from 9:00-10:30 a.m. starting January 20 via Zoom.  No computer?  Talk to me about options.

The second program is called, “Aging Mastery Programs.”  Aging Mastery aims to help older people take key steps to improve their well-being, add stability to their lives, and strengthen their ties to the community.  You can take part in this program and learn about aging well thru actionable goals, sustainable behaviors, social engagement, and gratitude.  This program will be held on Tuesdays, January 19-March 30 from 10-11:30 a.m. via Zoom and there is no cost.  Don’t have a computer?  Again, we can help, please talk to me about options. 

There is no cost for people to participate in our Movie Mondays activity.  We show a movie each Monday that the senior center is open at 1 p.m. on the big screen in the community center Mississippi Room.  The movie may be a new release or a fun classic.  You can call the center at 763-295-2000 Monday mornings to find out the movie title for that day.

If you are caring for someone with memory loss and are looking for an enjoyable outing, please join us for our monthly Virtual Memory Cafes.  A Virtual Memory Cafe experience is a safe and comfortable online place where caregivers and their loved ones with memory loss can participate together in a creative activity while socializing with others via Zoom.  Each month features a fun project.  We want to extend an invitation for you and your loved one to be part of this amazing group.  If you need help setting up Zoom or learning how to connect to a Zoom meeting, no worries – our HOME program is happy to help!  The meeting will begin at 1:30 p.m. on January 20.  Please contact the senior center to register.  If you're unable to attend virtually from your home, we will provide a safe, in-person option at the senior center.  You can contact me for more information, 763-295-2000.

You can also call the senior center to make a Legal Aid appointment.  This free service is provided at our center by the Senior Law Project on the fourth Monday of each month, January 25.  They can help seniors with Social Security, family law matters, consumer and housing issues, Medicare, nursing home issues, Power of Attorney and Health Care Directives, Medical Assistance and other public benefits programs.  Help cannot be provided for wills, criminal matters, real estate transactions, or estate planning.

The senior center will be closed on Monday, January 18 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  I hope you have a great week!

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