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Life Over 50 – Senior Services and Things to Do in Globe-Miami

By Cheryl Hentz

Globe Miami’s slogan is “Historic Globe Miami: Ore, Lore and More!” Truer words have been spoken! Especially when it comes to the “more” part of things Globe Miami have to offer. 

The Globe Miami area offers a slower pace of living and a laid-back way of life; housing costs are reasonable, especially when compared with other places in Arizona; there are no traffic jams and you don’t have to drive 45 minutes to get to the other side of town to have lunch with a friend; and the weather is beautiful year-round, but more temperate than southern or western parts of Arizona. It’s also a very walkable community, with a great vibe and spirit, especially in the downtown region.

Add to that a friendly, welcoming and giving community, and you’ve got the perfect place to put down roots. There is something to appeal to everyone’s interests, but with so many retirees and snowbirds here, many services and opportunities are designed with the 50 and over crowd in mind.     

Hospital and health services

The older people get, the more important healthcare becomes. People in Globe Miami are blessed to have a wonderful hospital with a wide range of services available to them. As Evelyn Vargas, Chief Experience Officer at Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center explains, the hospital is the “largest, smallest hospital in Arizona. We’re small in the sense that our in-patient volume cannot be over 25 patients at any given time. But we’re the largest because we offer so many services, especially for people 50 and older.”

The median age of their patients is 49.3 years old. People between 18 and 64 make up about 20 percent of their demographic; while those 65 and older make up another 28.8 percent. 

In addition to a full range of emergency services and internal medicine care on campus, Cobre Valley started a chemo center earlier this year. “This gives people an alternative to driving an hour or more from home to get chemotherapy and then back again after a long, exhaustive treatment. Here people can be back home relaxing in five or 10 minutes after treatment,” she explains.

“We offer so many different services that people in this area need. We don’t want to see people on the road if they don’t have to be to get treatment, especially when they’re already not feeling well.”

Soon the hospital will add Halcyon Varian radiation equipment, making them the first hospital in Arizona to have this kind of equipment. “It very precisely targets the area needing to be radiated,” Vargas says. “Once we have this, we’ll be a full-service oncology facility.”

Two years ago an approximately 67,000 square foot expansion was done to the medical center that included all new single-patient rooms; a retail pharmacy for both in-patient and the general public was built, along with a Cath Lab; Wound Center/Hyperbaric Chamber; Infusion Center; Cafe and Kitchen; Gift Shop; 11,000 square feet of physician offices and a clinic; family lounges, conference rooms, and another 14,000 square feet of remodeled space.

“We offer so many different services that people in this area need. We don’t want to see people on the road if they don’t have to be to get treatment, especially when they’re already not feeling well.” Evelyn Vargas

Because so many seniors have trouble sleeping, the campus offers a sleep center, along with a laser vein center and a skin clinic. “And we offer a chronic care management program to help ensure people are taking their medications and doing what they can to maintain good health and stay out of the hospital,” Vargas notes. “I know that sounds strange coming from a hospital, but we really just want people to be well. We’re happy we’re here when people are sick, but we do take a very active and proactive role in community health.”

 

Local community college boasts free tuition

It’s not often you hear of free college tuition, but that’s exactly what’s offered to students 55 and older at the Eastern Arizona College – Gila Pueblo Campus (it’s offered at all Eastern Arizona College campuses.). 

Leitha Griffin, marketing director for the Gila Pueblo Campus, estimates that of the approximately 3,000 full- and part-time students, some 30 to 40 percent are 50 years old and older. One of the main reasons she thinks that number is so high is because they offer a 55 and older tuition waiver, it attracts an older population. “Anyone who is 55 years old and older can take any class or classes that they would like for free. I truly believe that’s the biggest reason we have so many older students,” she says.  

To qualify for free tuition, 55-plus students must be Arizona residents for at least one year. Even those who haven’t lived in Arizona for a full year yet, still get a break on their tuition. Griffin explains that the tuition is subtracted from the out-of-state tuition. “So, they still get a benefit and don’t have to pay quite as much as they otherwise would.”     

Seniors mostly take enrichment type classes, along with wellness and exercise-related classes. “Arts and crafts-related classes are also very popular. But last year we did have a 64-year-old lady who graduated from our cosmetology program,” Griffin explains. “There are some like her, who just decide they want to get a degree in something, and they pursue it. Being older or retired, they now have the time; and with the tuition waiver it’s easy for people to do.” 

Griffin notes that there is no YMCA in the community, so the gymnasium, wellness center and various classes on exercise, relaxation, meditation, strength-building and the like, are “filling a critical need in the community. The goal of the college is to continue offering more and more enrichment and wellness classes because of that,” she says, adding that they are also working toward getting an aquatic center. “We’re a smaller community college and we’re very close-knit. The older population likes that and it’s a really great place to meet new people and find community.”

And now for the ore and lore crowd

Globe Miami is an area steeped in rich history and you would be hard-pressed not to find something of historical interest practically anywhere you go.  

The Old Dominion Historic Mine Park was a mine that last operated in the 1800s. In more recent times, the property was purchased and turned into a park. The Old Dominion Mine Park is a unique community gem that is both educational and fun, and there’s something for people of any age; not just 50-plusers.  A few of the attractions include a mining-themed playground, signs about history and geology/mining, old mining artifacts, hiking trails, a 9-hole disc golf course, and picnic pavilions.

“There aren’t any tours available of our active mines because they are still operational, but you can get a flavor of things through the Old Dominion Historic Mine Park and by researching mines at the local library,” explains Tianna Holder, executive director at the Globe-Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We have two museums: Bullion Plaza Cultural Center & Museum in Miami and the Gila County Historical Museum in Globe. Both are wonderful and filled with so many great resources and archives. People can also volunteer here, as well as do family histories or do history work and research for our area.”

Another favorite attraction of seniors is the Besh Ba Gowah Archaeological Park and Museum, one mile southwest of Globe. There, stand the ruins of the ancient Salado people who occupied the site nearly 800 years ago. “It’s an archaeological site of Native American ruins that were rebuilt to replicate how they originally looked,” Holder notes.

The Senior Citizens Center in Miami and the Active Adults Center in Globe each offer many things for people over 50, including exercise classes. “Plus, they’ll work with other businesses in the area to offer discount days,” says Holder; and they partner with the movie theater to offer discount matinees for seniors at least once a month. There’s also a lot of good hiking here for people on almost any level of hiking ability. Globe Miami is also known for birding – something many seniors enjoy partaking in. There are RV parks in and around the area for retirees who wish to snowbird there. And the Miami Memorial Library and the Globe Public Library are always open and offer lots of things for seniors.” 

“There is wonderful healthcare in the area, including skilled nursing homes, long and short-term disability, home rehabilitation services, respite care, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and hospice care,” continues Holder.

And the Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens (PGCSC) seeks to enhance the quality of life of seniors in Pinal and Gila counties through a variety of services, support and information. Among the many services the agency provides are Meals on Wheels, transportation services, education and training for caregiver support groups, and continued learning, activities and social events at the local senior centers. “They also offer senior employment programs, mobility management, and resources for behavioral health,” Holder explains.

Finally, if volunteering is your thing, there are more opportunities than you can imagine. Virtually any organization in the community heartily welcomes folks wanting to volunteer. Just give any of them a call. 

Globe Miami may be a small area, but it is huge on things for seniors to do. Now that you have a place to start, what’s keeping you from getting out there and taking in the sights, sounds, and experiences?!

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