Photo caption: Members of ACT II listen to a presentation by Diane Adduci, community relations specialist with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, about health care reform and Medicare on Aug. 9.
La Grange – As she prepared to retire 17 years ago, Dorothy Halverson was looking for something to keep her busy. Her children were raised, she was widowed.
What she discovered was the ACT II Seniors Club
, an organization that meets at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital
“I’ve enjoyed the people, I’ve enjoyed the many activities,” Halverson said.
ACT II, open to people over the age of 50 who live in any of the surrounding western suburbs, is celebrating its 20th year in 2013. The social and educational group for seniors boasts a membership of 630 people and hosts a variety of activities
and gatherings for seniors, said Gina Millette, the group’s president and program coordinator.
“There are such a variety of things going on,” Millette said. “Some of us are involved in almost everything, and some only go to one or two things, like the exercise club.”
Among its many senior groups is a writer’s club, a book club, the Snapshots camera club, an exercise group that meets five times a week and Tai Chi group that meets at Bethlehem Woods. A current film is shown once a month with a discounted dinner in the cafeteria. Later in the month, the group gathers for a classic film.
ACT II also organizes day trips for seniors throughout the area. “One of our guest speakers at our monthly breakfast meeting was a woman who was a tremendous gardener and also a tremendous conservationist, Trudi Temple of Hinsdale,” Millette said. “We visited her farm as part of one of our day trips.”
In addition to the day trips, ACT II organizes annual discounted vacations for group members through local travel agencies. The group earns a commission on those trips, its only source of income. Among the places members have visited over the years are Seattle, San Francisco, New England, San Antonio and Ireland.
“There are so many tremendous travel
opportunities. I never would have been able to travel to the extent that I have without this group,” Millette said.
At its monthly breakfast meetings, ACT II hosts speakers to inform attendees on a variety of topics. On Friday, Sept. 13, actress and storyteller Barbara Rinella will dramatize “Elizabeth the Queen, Portrait of a Modern Monarch,” by Sally Bedell Smith and “The Art Forger,” by B.A Shapiro. Breakfast starts at 8:30 a.m., and while typically free, this program will require a fee of $8 for members, $12 for guests to cover the cost of this special program.
In addition to all of this, the group also hosts health screenings for seniors, including blood pressure, hearing and heart screenings.
“We’re certainly concerned with health, but not just physical health,” Millette said. “We focus on mental health and emotional health, as well.”
Anyone interested in joining the group can call the ACT II office at (708) 245-8170. Reservations for events can be made by calling (630) 856-7525.
New members will receive an application as well as the current ACT II newsletter, Millette said. There is no membership fee. And for those interested, volunteer opportunities are always available, Millette said, especially for ACT II’s board of directors and various committees.
Halverson became a volunteer six months after she joined the group, and works the front desk and answers phones every Tuesday. She’d recommend the group to anyone looking to get involved and develop friendships.
“For me, the one thing I have always felt is, once you retire, you can just become a couch potato,” she said. “That’s why I’ve enjoyed volunteering. I know I have to be here, that I have to get off the couch.”
Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital. To find a physician, visit www.keepingyouwell.com.
Physicians on the medical staff of Adventist Midwest Health Hospitals are independent contractors, and are not agents of the hospitals. Media contact: Chris LaFortune, public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health, email@example.com; (630) 856-2354.