As more baby boomers are moving west to Parker County from the Metroplex, one group is anticipating the shift.
The Senior Circle of Parker County, which is a function of Weatherford Regional Medical Center, serves more than 11,000 members and is looking for more, said Vic Williford, circle ambassador.
Tuesday, 55 members of the circle took a charter bus to a casino in Oklahoma and every so often, the circle will take trips to WinStar World Casino, he said.
“We’re kind of like goodwill representatives to the community,” Williford said laughing.
The circle is nationally represented by Community Health Systems, which owns WRMC, and is the largest health provider in the nation, he said.
Because they are nationally represented, members of the circle receive many discounts, including hearing aids and car maintenance care.
“They have a lot of national bargaining power,” Williford said. “They extend discounts to senior circles.”
The circle serves many functions and is important to the community, which is growing rapidly with baby boomers, said executive director to Parker County Committee on Aging, Glenda Webb.
It gives members an outlet to socialize, which is vital for senior citizens, she said.
Webb said the county is growing fast, with a population of 120,000, 11 percent are 65 or older, she said.
The area’s 13,000 senior population will reach 36,000 by 2030, as the county growth approaches 328,000, Webb said.
Baby boomers are moving west from the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Webb said.
“Weatherford offers the best of both worlds,” Webb said. “At this time, it still offers a small community atmosphere, yet you don’t have to leave here to get the things you want.”
The medical field will flourish even more with baby boomers moving into the area, she said.
As people grow older, they like a sense of community to avoid the feeling of withdrawal.
“The older you get, isolation becomes a real issue in our lives and is responsible for more than half of health problems,” Webb said. “Smaller communities make it easier to have acquaintances and friends, and you don’t have the isolation you have in the city.”
Williford added another benefit of joining the circle is members can also participate in educational events.
Wednesday, the group had a lunch and talk in the hospital where a doctor spoke about a particular area of specialties important to the group.
Once a resident joins, they receive a membership card, which can be honored by many businesses and companies for discounts in the county, Williford said.
Once a month, the circle will go to dinner at Pastafina, Olive Garden, Applebee’s or Chili’s, and they extend their courtesies and discounts, he said.
Socializing is another major aspect to the circle.
Next May the group is taking 40 members on an Alaskan cruise and bus tour to Santa Fe and Albuquerque, N.M., Williford said.
Also, on the first Friday of every month, the circle has a meeting, bingo and lunch.
“It’s sort of like a pot luck,” he said.
Members bring dishes of food and bring them together like a buffet, and the hospital will provide sandwiches and finger foods to go along with the meals.
“There’s usually plenty of hot meals and after that, we’ll play bingo for a couple of hours and everybody brings a prize so if you win at bingo,” Williford said.
Another benefit of joining the circle is if a member gets ill, the hospital will provide a private room for the patient at no charge, he said.
To join, a resident has to be 50 years or older and pay an annual fee of $15 for an individual and $27 for a couple.
The circle is also looking for volunteers, and once a resident becomes a volunteer, the fees are waived, Williford said.
For more information on the circle or to volunteer, contact Deb Williford at 817-599-1672.