With age you acquire more than you lose

I came across a quote by Diane von Furstenberg that intrigued me. At 72, this fashion designer — famous for her wrap dress and worth $1.9 billion — said, “I think of age as an acquisition, not a loss.” I began thinking about the losses that come with aging. And I thought about what we acquire as we age. Finally, I asked myself if I agreed with von Furstenberg.

As we age, we gradually become aware that our advancing years are beginning to take their toll. Around the age of 45, I began to notice that my eyesight was not as sharp as it had been; my arms were no longer long enough to hold a price tag far enough away for me to read it. A trip to the optometrist’s office diagnosed the problem as “there is nothing wrong with your eyes except birthdays.” It was an easy fix, and I had fun picking out frames that made me look studious and professional, with a little bling tossed in for good measure.

Then the back pain crept in and presented a larger challenge. An MRI and a visit to a physical therapist diagnosed the problem, and a regular exercise regimen took care of the pain for quite some time. But over the years, it has returned with a vengeance as my gene pool has caught up with me, adding arthritic knee pain to keep my aching back company. I try to get to the pool for regular aquatic therapy and, so far, injections have helped me ward off knee replacement surgery.

As the years accumulated, hearing deficiency ushered hearing aids into my life and a sleep disorder introduced a C-PAP machine. I do try to soften the blow to my ego by telling myself that I am not alone on this journey and find some comfort in knowing that I have found a variety of devices that help me combat these physical ailments of aging. I also remember what my mother always said in response to her own aging process, “It beats the alternative.”

Thankfully, my husband and I are the same age, so we are progressing along this journey together and trying to find humor in it. As we rise from our recliners, our groans can be heard in stereo until our legs get moving again. We have also developed a new language of half sentences; a dialect that only he and I understand. The same experience will stimulate the same memory in each of us as we struggle to express it verbally. “That reminds me of the girl with the hair, you know …” I will start. Then he chimes in, “I know who you are thinking of, but it’s not her. It’s the one who played in that movie with – you know who I am talking about …” And the beauty of it is, we both do! Our youngest son was home on a visit several years ago when such a conversation began and ended to our satisfaction without a single full sentence being spoken. His only response was, “Unbelievable!”

It is safe to say, I believe, that the above losses in physical and mental ability due to aging are shared by the millions of Baby Boomers who, like my husband and I, are making our way toward the sunset of our lives. With each loss comes an appropriate “fix” offered by the medical community that helps to soften the blow and keeps us functioning. Certainly, this journey takes a bit more time now, but we manage nonetheless.

The next big question, then, becomes an examination of the acquisitions of aging. What do we gain over the years as the above-mentioned physical and mental losses start accumulating? First, I would say that the single-most-important acquisition is a more fully developed sense of humor. After all, we can only fix so much and compensate as best we can. After that, we throw up our hands and laugh if we want to enjoy the time we have left. It does no one any good to continue to lament the inevitable; it is what it is.

The second acquisition is patience; patience with oneself and with each other. Is it really that important to clean the house or mow the lawn as quickly as we once did them? Do we have to finish the task list this week or can a few items wait until next week? Face it, as we age, everything — even something we have done a hundred times before — takes longer. It is important to develop a different attitude toward this phenomenon and stop expecting physical tasks to fit into the same timeline as when we were 20 or 30 years younger. I used to be able to come home on a Friday and clean my whole house to get it out of the way before the weekend began. Now, the same tasks take me three to four days, but it doesn’t matter, because every day is the weekend. And so what if we cannot remember details such as the names of actors or the movies we saw? Eventually, the brain’s file folders open, and recall returns. Patience has been a wonderful acquisition of aging.

Another gift acquired with aging is a different attitude toward time. Actually, I have surprised myself with this one, because I was very driven and scheduled in my younger years. My husband used to tease me about my task lists and my overplanning. I always intended to get twice as much done in any given day as was humanly possible and then became disappointed when I did not accomplish all I had planned. Now, my favorite adage has become “tomorrow is another day.” I work until I feel like stopping, and that varies with each day. Some days I opt for reading on the deck as the lyrics to one of my favorite Greg Brown tunes echoes in my mind: “A spring wind blew my list of things to do — away.”

Two of the best acquisitions of age, I believe, are perspective and its companion wisdom. We have become a wealth of experience that has taught us so many things we can pass along to our children as they become parents and to our grandchildren as they grow up and make their way in the world. We have experienced the pain of growing through adolescence and the daunting challenges of making a living and building a career. We can remember milestones — both good and bad — and now completely understand the reasons life events happened the way they did. We now know where the chips have fallen after our difficult decisions were made. With each flounder we learned, so the next time we did not make the same mistake. In so many ways, our lives make so much more sense to us now because of the perspective and wisdom that have come along with our increased age.

Finally, we can live our lives with a much greater sense of appreciation, which I would argue is the greatest acquisition of all; a deep gratitude for working through challenges — sometimes with better results than others – to get where we are now. This is a feeling that transcends the accumulation of wealth. It is soul-fulfilling and, consequently, very peaceful.

So, after much thought, I find myself in grateful agreement with Diane von Furstenberg. Age is definitely an acquisition of so many things. No, I am not worth $1.9 billion — far from it. But I would not trade my life for hers for “all the tea in China” as the old saying goes. Nor would I want to turn the clock back to when I was younger, even with the lack of achy joints and my ability to clean my house in hours instead of days. Life has become a lot sweeter now when it can be viewed through the wiser and more mature lens that the gifts of aging have given us all.





Scenes and Sounds, 11:30 a.m. Sunday through Saturday.

Sunday: Ring toss, 1 p.m.; dunking donuts, 2 p.m.; church, 2:15 p.m.

Monday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; resident council, 11 a.m.; library cart, 1:30 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; ice cream social, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Crafts and gardening, 10:30 a.m.; reminisce, 1:15 p.m.; Kentucky Derby, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; rosary, 10:30 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2:00 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Reading buddy, 11 a.m.; Freeman Carnival, 2 p.m.; “Lawrence Welk,” 4:30 p.m.

Friday: What’s cooking? 11 a.m.; Pictionary, 1:15 p.m.; sing along, 2:30 p.m.; happy hour, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Meet and greet, 10:30 a.m.; daily newspaper, 11 a.m.; oldies but goodies, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; evening news, 6 p.m.

Iron County 

Medical Facility

Crystal Falls

Sunday: One-to-one church visitors, 8:30 – 11 a.m.; senior basketball, 10 a.m.; bingorama, 2 p.m.; afternoon matinee with popcorn, 1:30 p.m.; Church of Christ, 3 p.m.

Monday: Cooking, 9-10:30 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; DT luncheon, noon; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Sunshine Club, 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Book club, 10 a.m.; Mass, 10 a.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; bonfire, 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Coffee social/travel club, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; Walmart, noon; room visits, 1 p.m.; faces and places, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 p.m.; Bible study, 1 p.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; service with Doris Kewley, 2 p.m.; happy hour with Bill Jameson, 2:30 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; monthly birthday party, 2 p.m.; mystery movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Word game/puzzle time, 10 a.m.; geri-gym, 11 p.m.; intergenerational social hour, 2 p.m.



Wet your whistle: 9:30 a.m. Sunday through Saturday.

Exercise: 10 a.m. Sunday and Monday, Wednesday through Saturday.

Movie: 10:45 a.m. Sunday thru Saturday and 3:15 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Popcorn Day: Every Friday

Sunday: Just jokes, 10:15 a.m.; company’s coming room visits/outdoors, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant church, 3 p.m.

Monday: Did you know? 10:15 a.m..; bingo, 2 p.m.; pokeno on the patio, weather permitting 5:45 p.m.

Tuesday: Singing with Cindy, 10 a.m.; wheel of fortune, 2 p.m.; movie and manicure, 5:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Table talk, 10:15 a.m.; painting with Shelly, 2 p.m.; flip five, 5:45 p.m.

Thursday: Crosswords, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; crazy for cards, 5:45 p.m.

Friday: Trivia, 10:15 a.m.; pokeno, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Current events, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Maryhill Manor

Niagara, Wis.

Rosary, 8:30 a.m. Sunday through Friday.

Sunday: Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; family feud, 10:15 a.m.; music bingo, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant service, 2:30 p.m.; Christian fellowship, 5:30 p.m.

Monday: Protestant service, 9 a.m.; jokereno, 10:15 a.m.; popsicles and trivia, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Current events, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6:15 p.m.

Wednesday: Derby day, 10:15 a.m.; jokereno, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.; campfire with Crystal Hogan 6:15 p.m.

Thursday: Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; Scattegories, 10:15 a.m.; courtyard Yahtzee, 2 p.m.; whammo, 6:15 p.m.

Friday: Exercise, 10:15 a.m.; short stories, 10:30 a.m.; happy hour with Ray and Mindy, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Crafts, 10:15 a.m.; help your neighbor, 2 p.m.; pamper and polish, 5:45 p.m.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain

Juice time: 10 a.m. Sunday through Saturday.

Exercise: 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Shopping days: 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, must sign up.

Sunday: Bible study, 1:30 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Monday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Music with Crystal, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Bingo, 2 p.m., refreshments, 3 p.m. 

Thursday: Left-center-right, 2 p.m.; rosary, 3 p.m.

Friday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Movie and popcorn, 2 p.m.

Florence Health Services

Florence, Wis.

Morning news, 6 a.m. daily.

Beauty Shop open Tuesday and Thursday

Sunday: Polka mass, 10 a.m.; trivia, 2 p.m.; reading, 6 p.m.

Monday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; music with Crystal, 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Pastor Doug, 10 a.m.; chair exercise, 2 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: “Wheel of Fortune,” 10 a.m.; flippo, 2 p.m.; social hour, 3 p.m.; Grace and Dave, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Pastor Jason, 10 a.m.; manicures, 2 p.m.; room visits, 3 p.m.

Friday: Catholic church service, 10 a.m.; “Wheel of Fortune,” 2 p.m.; coffee social, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; Uno, 2 p.m.

Pinecrest Medical Care Facility


Sunday: Grace church, 10:15 a.m.; trivia, 10:30 a.m.; Lutheran service, 2 p.m.; reminiscing, 3:30 p.m.

Monday: Life connections, 9:45 a.m.; sensory, 10 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; song service, 1:30 p.m.; rosary, 2:30 p.m.; sensory, 3:30 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Shopping outing, 10 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; reminiscing, 3:30 p.m.; room visits, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Lunch outing, 10 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; cards, 2 p.m.; trivia, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Gardening, 10 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; “Family Feud,” 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Friday: Mass, 10:30 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 a.m.; life stories, 2 p.m.; beauty shop, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday: Coffee clutch, 10:15 a.m.; hangman, 10:30 a.m.; social circle, 2 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.


Note: All centers ask for 24-hour advanced reservations for lunch. Those who have meals delivered who will not be home should notify the center.

Alpha-Mastodon Center


Meal at noon every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Amasa Center


Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Lunch at noon.

Bingo on Tuesdays.

Free meal drawing on Thursdays.

Breen Center


Meals Monday through Friday.

Pasty sale every third Saturday of the month, except on holidays.  

Cards and games available 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2 p.m. 

Hostess on duty Monday through Friday.   

Treats and coffee, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Center retail store is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday; volunteers and donations are welcome.

Birthdays acknowledged every day.

Evening meals are on the first and third Thursday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m., with dinner at 5 p.m.

Donations are $4 for those 60 and older and $5 for 60 and younger.

Crystal Falls Center

Head cook: Lucy Korhonen


The center is not just for seniors – bring a friend.

Suggested meal donations: $5 if older than 60; $6 if younger; $1 extra for take-out

To reserve meals, call the center by 1 p.m. with name and number of people.

Open: Monday-Wednesday, 4:30 p.m. soup and salad bar, 5 p.m. dinner.

All dinners include the soup and salad bar, homemade dessert, tea, coffee and milk

Mondays: Basket weaving after dinner – all are welcome for dinner and/or class. Beginners can make their first basket with materials provided.

Menu for the week of Aug. 26:

Monday: Italian beef sandwiches, garlic mashed potato, vegetables.

Tuesday: Grilled pork chops, fried potato, vegetables

Wednesday: Grilled burgers, calico beans, potato chips

Crystal Lake Center

Christine McMahon

906-774-2256, ext. 235

The center is closed on weekends.

Monday: Woodcarvers, 10 a.m.; mahjong in dining hall, noon; Les Artistes Art Club, noon; Bridge Club, 12:15 p.m.

Tuesday and Thursday: Pinochle, 12:30 p.m.

Thursdays: Two-person team cribbage from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: Billiards, 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday: Spinning Spools Quilters Guild, 1 p.m., crafters, scrapbookers and others also welcome; knitting and crocheting class, 1 to 3 p.m.

Friday: Smear, 12:30 p.m.

Last Saturday of the month: Music jam, starting at 1 p.m. Admission is free. 

The Photo Club meets 1 to 3 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month.  

The kitchen once again is open and serving meals. For transportation, call Buzzin’ Around Town at 906-282-0492. Rides are $3 for age 60 and older, and $3.50 for younger than 60. 

Transportation is available from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Felch Center


Meals served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Wednesday.

Bingo after lunch on the first and third Wednesday of each month.

A congregate jigsaw puzzle is done daily.

Aging and Disability Resource Center of Florence County, Wis.


Director: Tiffany White

Suggested donation for seniors older than 60 is $4 per meal. Residents younger than 60 must pay $7. Reservations and cancellations are needed 48-hours in advance.

The ADRC can assist area seniors and those with disabilities with transportation Monday through Friday. Transportation reservation should be made with meal reservation.

Menu for the week of Aug. 26:

Monday: Sub sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes, pasta salad, fruit

Tuesday: Chicken in mushroom gravy, baked potatoes, stuffing, roasted Brussel sprout, oranges

Wednesday: Salisbury steak, whipped potatoes, California vegetables, bananas, rice krispy bars

Thursday: Baked fish, oven fries, baked beans, fruit cocktail

Friday: Chicken patty on a bun, lettuce and tomato, pea and cheese salad, fruit

Other assistance includes information on aging, benefits specialist and caregiver support.

Fence Center/Town Hall

715-336-2980 — RSVP for meal at 855-528-2372

Meal at noon Wednesdays only – Same menu as listed under ADRC of Florence County. Reservations are requested. Cribbage and cards are available.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall

RSVP for meal at 715-528-4261

Home-delivered meals are available. Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. at this center Monday through Thursday, with the same menu as listed under ADRC of Florence County.

Tipler Town Hall

715-674-2320 – RSVP for meals.

Serving lunch at noon on the second Thursday of the month only, with the same menu as listed under ADRC of Florence County.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora

715-589-4491 – RSVP for meals

Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, with the same menu as listed under ADRC of Florence County. Transportation arrangements can be made to and from the meal site.

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Pam Haluska


Meal is at noon Monday through Friday. Suggested donation is $3 for age 60 and older and $7 for those younger than 60. Morning coffee is available daily.

Fifteen games of “fun bingo” are played each Tuesday and Friday, along with a 50-50 drawing.

Tuesday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Cards played in the afternoon. Call ahead to see if a game will be going on.

Friday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Monday through Friday: Walking in the gym, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A treadmill also is available.

Enjoy friendly interaction with other crafters.

Iron River Center


Meals served 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; a $4 donation is encouraged from those 60 and older, and a $5 payment required from those younger than 60. Thursday meal, 3:30 p.m. soup, 4 p.m. salad bar, with dinner 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Home-delivered meals are available — call 906-774-2256, ext. 235 or ext. 230.

Menu for the week of Aug. 26:

Monday: Mushroom burger, wedges, mixed vegetables, fruit, milk

Tuesday: Cheeseburger mac casserole, wax beans, roll, fruit, milk

Wednesday: Turkey club wrap, chips, fruit, milk

Thursday: Fish, baked potato, peas and carrots, dessert, milk.

Northwoods Senior Cafe and Center, Niagara, Wis.

Meal site manager: Corrie Maule, 715-251-1603

Senior center director: Jill Anderson, 715-251- 4154

Noon meals served Monday through Thursday. Transportation is available to the meal site for those living in the Niagara, Wis., area. Any senior groups who would like to use the meal site as a meeting place are welcome — join us for lunch then stay for a meeting or social time. Wii games, cards, puzzles and board games are available to play. 

Other activities are in the works — suggestions are always welcome. 

Those who have not been at the meal site/senior center are invited to give it a try. Those who haven’t been here in a while are encouraged to come back.

Norway Center

Director: Susie Slining


Monday through Thursday: Meals served at noon, with salad bar. Soup also is available at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Milk, juice, bread, fruit, tea and coffee served daily. Meal donation is $5. Reservation for the meal should be made in advance.

Two special-themed meals take place each month on Tuesday, with bingo, prizes and a 50-50 drawing.

Two evening meals offered at 5 p.m. on the first Monday and third Wednesday of the month, with bingo, prizes and a 50-50 drawing.

Menu for the week of Aug. 26:

Monday: Sweet and sour chicken over rice, stir fry vegetables, salad bar, fruit, juice, dessert

Tuesday: Back to School Dinner – Barbecue chicken, potato wedges, green beans, soup and salad bar, fruit, juice, dessert

Wednesday: Tater tot casserole, peas and carrots, soup and salad bar, fruit, juice, dessert

Thursday: Lasagna, broccoli, garlic bread, soup and salad bar, fruit, juice, dessert

Cards are played daily after the noon meal.

Craft and exercise classes: Mondays and Thursdays.

Ceramic and art classes: Wednesdays.

Sagola Center


Meals: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11:45 a.m. Cards: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Commodities every other month and quarterly commodities are every three months. A puzzle table is available to enjoy. Volunteers are always welcome. 


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