Traverse City Record-Eagle

December 30, 2010

Lunch and Learn topics cater to seniors

By Kathleen Gest, Local columnist

---- — Learning can no longer be considered something that only occurs in the early years. Learning needs to continue throughout a lifetime.

The Lunch and Learn program at the Traverse City Senior Center is tailor-made for seniors, scheduled just before the lunch hour. Lunch and Learn is informal, yet enriching. The timely topics are designed to provide insight into what seniors need or want to know.

n The Senior Center's first Lunch and Learn program for 2011 will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12, with lunch following at noon. Dave Priest from MetLife Home Loans will talk about reverse mortgages.

Priest will give a quick overview of reverse mortgages, plus changes for 2011, who is eligible, how reverse mortgages work and who is best suited for a reverse mortgage. Priest also will talk about the HECM Saver loan, just approved in October, a reverse mortgage with lower closing costs.

Priest has been in the real estate, construction and mortgage lending business for the past 29 years. He is a reverse mortgage specialist who lives in Traverse City and is a member of the Bay Area Senior Advocates.

n At 11 a.m. Jan. 19, the topic will be SendOutCards, presented by Mary Beth Vandenberg, a professional businesswoman for more than 20 years and a SendOutCards personal user. She is now an independent distributor. SendOutCards is an easy-to-use greeting card service that uses a website, so people can send a printed greeting card with a personalized message in less than a minute.

Vandenberg will demonstrate the SendOutCards system, show how to pick a card from the more than 15,000 in stock and how to create picture cards. In addition, she will demonstrate how to customize the inside of a card, address and send it, and give an overview of the Contact Manager feature.

n On Jan. 26, Vaughn Seavolt, owner of Life Story Funeral Home, will talk about cemetery burial, body donation and cremation options, along with funeral memorial and ceremony choices and procedures. He also will talk about funeral laws and final decisions, in addition to medical examiner rules.

You can learn the protocol for what to do when death occurs and the days that follow. Prepaid funerals and Medicaid options for nursing home care, along with prices, also are on Seavolt's agenda. Seavolt has been a funeral director for 23 years and has lived in Traverse City for 15 years.

n On Feb. 9, Rhonda Brandt, a certified fitness trainer, will demonstrate exercises that are safe, fun and effective for seniors, both those who are active and those with limitations.

This Lunch and Learn demonstration is sponsored by Monarch Home Health Services, a Traverse City company, owned and operated by Amy Northway.

n On Feb. 16, Nick Alexander from Hartford will talk about "Media Vision: Are today's headlines affecting your investment decision?" Nicolette White, financial adviser at Edward Jones of Fife Lake, will sponsor this presentation.

n Also coming in February is a presentation on Facebook, a social networking website.

As Mortimer Adler, an American philosopher, educator and popular author, said, "The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live."

To reserve your spot for Lunch and Learn (which must be made at least 24 hours in advance), call the lunch reservation number at 947-5285. For information, call the Senior Center at 922-4911 or e-mail

Kathleen Bellaw Gest is a local freelance writer. For more about the Traverse City Senior Center, go to