Wellness programs: Howard County General Hospital will offer the following classes in October. Unless otherwise listed all classes will be held in the Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, Columbia. Information: hcgh.org or 410-740-7601.
•Advance directives. Understand what they are, who needs them, how to get them and how to complete them from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10.
•Self defense class for children ages 8 to 12. Learn the basic self defense techniques from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 12. Cost $27.
•Prenatal class for early pregnancy. In the first trimester learn about the early stages of pregnancy including your body's physical changes, your baby's growth and easy ways to support your pregnancy from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 15.
•Smoke-free classes. This program provides support and education for those who want to quit as well as for those who have already quit from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 17 and Nov. 14. Attend one session or all sessions.
•Tired of being tired? Dr. Charlene Gamaldo Johns Hopkins neurology sleep specialist and director of the Sleep Center at HCGH will discuss common sleep problems like sleep changes that come from age, insomnia, especially in women and other disorders that get in the way of restful sleep, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 17.
•Maybe baby: A certified financial planner will discuss financial issues involved in starting a family. Also, learn how to protect your family should something happen to you and how employer benefits and government tax breaks can provide for your new family, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 21.
•Recurring back pain. A panel of speakers will discuss causes and treatment for back pain as well as solutions ranging from medical management and physical therapy to new pain management techniques and surgery. The panel will feature Dr. Mark Matsunaga, pain specialist, Dr. Oren Blam, orthopedic surgeon and Dr. John Collins, physiatrist from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 23.
•Preparing for total joint surgery. Toni Keller, P.A. will discuss what to expect and how to prepare for the best possible outcome from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 29.
Look good, feel better
This free program teaches beauty techniques to women with cancer to help them combat appearance-related side effects of treatment. Participants receive cosmetics donated by major manufacturers, as well as instruction and suggestions for wigs and head coverings. The class is taught by a licensed cosmetologist. Classes are held at 3:30 p.m. the third Monday of the month at the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center in the Medical Pavilion, 10710 Charter Drive in Columbia. Information and registration: 888-535-4555.
VA outpatient clinic
The Department of Veterans Affairs operates a 13,300-square-foot facility to serve veterans in Anne Arundel and Howard counties. The clinic is at 2479 Fifth St., adjacent to the Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center at Fort Meade. Services include general outpatient medical care, preventive health and education services, various medical screenings, TeleHealth services and referrals to specialized programs and inpatient services available throughout the VA Medical Health Care System. Information: 410-305-5300.
Caregivers and seniors
Family and Children's Services of Central Maryland has received an 18-month, $500,000 challenge grant from the Maryland Home and Community Care Foundation, and additional funding from the Howard County Department of Citizen Services. A new program, SERVE (Services, Education and Resources for Vulnerable Elders), will work to improve the safety of seniors, enhance the quality of life for caregivers, help families find services, prevent premature institutionalization and reduce incidents of elder abuse and neglect. For information or to donate, go to http://fcsmd.org.
The Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross is requesting blood donations. Eligible donors can call 800-GIVE-LIFE to schedule an appointment. Platelet donors should call 800-272-2123.
Presented by Vantage House, a retirement community, classes are held from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays in the Vantage House auditorium, 5400 Vantage Point Road in Columbia. Dance has shown to improve balance, gait and mood in those with Parkinson's disease. Registration and information: Megan Wallnofer at 410-992-1691.
Bon Secours Spiritual Center offers spiritual enrichment programs, 1525 Marriottsville Road in Marriottsville. Information and registration: 410-442-1320.
Podiatry screening. Marc Lipton, podiatrist, will examine one or two areas of concern from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Oct. 15 at the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, Columbia. Information 410-740-7601.
The county health department's North Laurel Community Health Center, 9411 Whiskey Bottom Road, offers HIV/AIDS testing services from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays and Fridays, and from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. by appointment. Call 410-313-0630. Also, the Columbia Health Center, 7180 Columbia Gateway, conducts HIV testing at 8 a.m. Mondays by appointment. Call 410-313-7500. Testing is free, anonymous and confidential.
Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center Offered free at 10710 Charter Drive, Suite G050 in Columbia. Information (410-740-5858):
•Support group for men and women diagnosed with cancer meets from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on the fourth Saturday of every month. Registration: 410-740-5858.
•Support group for caregivers offering help for a loved one suffering from cancer or other illnesses meets at 3:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month and from 10:30 a.m. to noon on the third Saturday of every month at the Medical Pavilion, Howard County General Hospital, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite G010 in Columbia. Registration: 410-740-5858.
•A breast-cancer support group meets from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month. Registration: 410-964-9100, ext. 5.
•A living-with-breast-cancer support group meets from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of every month. Registration: 410-740-5858.
•The Teens Together support group, a networking group for teens who have a friend or family member with cancer, will meet from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month. Information: 410-740-5858.
Prostate cancer Man to Man Prostate Cancer Support Program is a forum for men to learn about diagnosis and treatment options, management, side effects and quality-of-life issues. The program provides a confidential setting among peers to discuss and share experiences and problems related to prostate cancer. There are occasional guest speakers. The program is held at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month at the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center in the Medical Pavilion, 10710 Charter Drive in Columbia. Information: American Cancer Society, 800-227-2345.
Vision-impaired support group sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind will meet from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month at the Other Barn, 5851 Robert Oliver Place in Columbia. Information: Sharon Maneki at 410-715-9596.
Laurel Regional Hospital Offered free at 7300 Van Dusen Road in Laurel (301-497-7914 or 410-792-7636):
•Alcoholics Anonymous, 7 p.m. Sundays
•Bipolar disorder, 6 p.m. Thursdays
Narcotics Anonymous, 7 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays
•Parkinson's disease, 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays. Information: 301-776-3426
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•Rehabilitation for strokes and long-term illness, 6 p.m. the second Thursday of every month
Widows and widowers The group meets from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month at Jilly's in the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, 10300 Baltimore National Pike in Ellicott City. Information: 410-740-5858 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parkinson's disease An education and support group meets at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of every month, 8180 Lark Brown Road in Elkridge. Information: 410-955-8795.
HIV support group for those infected with or affected by HIV. A women's group meets from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the third Friday of every month. A group for men and women meets from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month. Meetings are at the Columbia Health Center, 7180 Columbia Gateway Drive. Information: 410-313-6267.
Essential tremor is often confused with Parkinson's disease. The group will meet from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the third Monday of each month at the Howard County Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100, Columbia. The support group is sponsored by HopeNET, an all volunteer, nonprofit organization. Information on HopeNET at theHopeNET.org. Information: 301-776-8073.
Living with cancer The group meets from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the third Monday of every month at Emmanuel United Methodist Church, 17055 Scaggsville Road, North Laurel. Information: 410-792-0470, ext. 214.
Bereavement support group A support group for adults will meet from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of every month at St. Francis of Assisi Church, Room 105, 8300 Old Columbia Road, Fulton. Information: 410-792-0470.