A home away from home

Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog got his first chance to tour the Man’amko Center in Garapan last Wednesday, June 14, 2017, and he came away impressed that all the facilities are well kept, modern, and conducive to man’amko activities.

“This was my first time to go around the center and I am happy to see to all activities [going on],” Hocog said.

The center has a conference room, a gym, a movie room, and areas that accommodate a pool table, computers, reading, writing, and a big multi-purpose hall where programs, activities, and games like bingo are held.

“There are so much going on,” said Office on Aging director Walter Manglona, who helps run the center. “We see more participants during holidays and we keep adding more participants. This is also the reason why we have contingency plans to make sure we have room and accommodate the growing population here.”

The Man’amko Center has over a hundred registered elderly and averages 70 to 90 participants who go there everyday. It is open from 7am to 4pm. Some participants come on their own, some are dropped off, and some are fetched from their homes by the center’s transportation service.

“Our objective is to provide opportunities for relaxation, socialization, and independence among the participants. They mingle, make friends, exercise, practice nutrition, learn about eating healthy,” Manglona said.

There is also a weekly blood pressure tests and blood sugar tests.

“We make them have fun and take them out of isolation. We at the Office on Aging coordinate home and community based services to help our seniors stay active and involved. We encourage them to stay involved in the community as well.,” Manglona said.

The Man’amko Center has scheduled activities every month but the center also gives the elderly the freedom to choose what kind of activity they want to engage in.

“Some of them want to play bingo, computer, exercise, watch television or play pool. Whatever they feel doing for that day, we encourage them to get up and just stay active. We do not want to tell them what to do. We want them to be independent and some of them develop a routine and sticks to it,” Manglona added.

Right now, the center is planning to open the gate that separates the facility from the Sugar King Park.

“We heard that [Saipan] Mayor David M. Apatang has authorized the opening of the gate. We welcome that. We can now embed walking into our morning routine. The early participants who arrive at the center enjoy the early walk,” Manglona said.

The Man’amko Center also gets its funds from solicitations and donations

“In the end, as long as we are doing what we are supposed to be doing—taking care of our elderly—we are going to continue to grow,” Manglona said

Even with the facilities the elderly enjoy now, there is always room for improvement.

“We are not done yet. This is just the beginning. We are continuously growing, making older stuff new. …Our focus is also with the centers on Tinian and Rota.”

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