Discussing your retirement hopes, dreams

IRON MOUNTAIN — We have been exploring the subject of retirement in this column for some time now and have covered topics dealing with when to retire, if downsizing a home is part of retirement, finding happiness during retirement, watching out for scams, and the various physical and emotional changes surrounding the aging process.

One topic that can be a non-issue or a veritable lightening rod is the subject of being with your spouse 24/7. So, let’s have that discussion today — “for better or worse,” you are now going to have a lot more time with each other.

Everyone’s “togetherness” is defined a little differently. My brother recently described it as “tripping over each other.” His wife recently retired while his retirement occurred quite a few years ago. She was used to being more than busy at work, and he was used to one home improvement project after another. Mowing his own lawn was not enough for him so he mowed the lawns of his neighbors as well! Now they are doing projects together — they enjoy it, but it took some getting used to. Good friends of ours have had a major adjustment because he is “Mr. Spontaneous” and loves to travel for weeks at a time, and she is “Miss Planner” and is more of a home body. Still another couple newly retired seem to do everything together. What works for some does not work for others.

Like so many other areas of marriage, communication is the most important aspect of both spouses finding happiness throughout the retirement years. Prior to retirement, spend a lot of time discussing what you both want from this next stage of life. No matter how compatible you have been throughout your marriage, you have never before spent this much time together. Being together all the time throughout a long-awaited vacation during the working years does not begin to compare to the everyday, all day togetherness retirement brings.

If you have not discussed your retirement hopes and dreams with each other in advance, you may be in for some choppy waters instead of the smooth sailing you had expected.

Here is a suggested list of considerations to get you started in this important discussion.

— When do you plan to retire? Depending upon your age and the kind of work you have done, you may or may not be retiring at the same time. If one retires ahead of the other, discuss those household tasks that can now be redistributed so the remaining working spouse can get a well-deserved break. This will go a long way in easing any resentment the working spouse may be harboring toward the one who is now retired. My husband scored major brownie points when he took over the laundry each week — and it was his idea!

— How much money will you need? If one of you wants to travel while the other one envisions lots more time chilling out at home, the retirement price tag is going to be quite different. Retirement may mean a drop in income. When there was always enough to go around, you may not have realized just how frugal or extravagant your spouse is, and new spending habits may have to be formed.

— Where do you want to live? You may be surprised that staying in your current home may be low on the list of your spouse’s priorities and that maybe he or she had envisioned a small cabin in the woods by a lake. Or maybe one of you had always dreamed of living where the weather is warmer all year long. Now is the time to work that out.

— What family obligations and responsibilities will you have? One of you may have been dreaming about spending more time with grandchildren — even babysitting for them on a regular basis. This may not work well if your spouse envisioned a lot more quiet time snoozing in a hammock. What if a grown son or daughter needs to move back home for awhile; are you willing and able to accommodate that change? My husband and I became caregivers for both of our mothers. We both agreed without question, but the added responsibility did not come without considerable adjustment to our priorities and our schedules.

— What activities do you plan to pursue? By this time, likes and dislikes have made themselves known, but it bears discussing in advance. You may have planned to extend that Saturday morning fishing hobby to three or four mornings each week while your spouse is thinking how much fun it will be to have you along at the farmer’s market or at the next auction. Decide in advance how much time will be spent together doing things you both enjoy or apart pursuing your own interests. Every marriage needs both — the ebb and flow of time spent together or apart keeps things more interesting.

— How will your identities change once you stop working? For decades your identity has come from your position within the workplace. Most of us have taken pride in our life’s work, and when it is gone, there is a natural confusion over who we even are any longer. Allow each other to experience this feeling for awhile. Then, gradually view retirement not so much as an ending to what was, but a rebirth to a new you. You now have the time to try new things, both individually and as a couple, so take advantage of it. Pursue a new hobby or spend more time doing what you had always wanted to do. Stretch a “creative muscle” you did not know you had. Start a new tradition with your spouse. My husband and I now end each day – weather permitting – by sitting around the fire table on our deck before we go to bed. We have our dessert, review the day, and talk about tomorrow’s plan or a future project.

In researching this topic, I found a quote by Thomas Szasz I really like, and it relates to this stage of life. “People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates.” Retirement allows us time to create a fuller self so take advantage of it.

— What are your attitudes on aging? You may view life as a mountain with retirement being “over the hill” and heading down the slope past peak. That view leads to more of a slowing down approach to life. How does your spouse view retirement? If he or she looks at it as more of a new adventure just beginning, as more of a new mountain to climb, you are going to have a clash. Again, talk about it. Aging certainly comes with a new set of physical challenges, but many of those can be compensated for so we can still enjoy a hike now and then – just not as fast or as far.

I often tell my husband I am glad we are the same age. We understand each other’s groans as we unfold ourselves from our recliners. And we are ready to begin happy hour at the same time, ending the work for the day as we have run out of steam. We have noticed the same limitations creep in. He admitted not long ago that “he can tell he is getting older because he now considers the consequences of not taking a safer approach to completing a task.” And we mutually agreed that his days of climbing on top of the garage roof to trim our big maple tree are definitely over!

My husband and I are very different creatures, and thankfully we realized and accepted those differences decades ahead of retirement. He retired two years ahead of me, and as I mentioned above, took on some new household duties to make things easier for me. Always the extrovert, he maintained his Kiwanis membership and enjoys volunteering for their many projects. Ever the introvert, I have enjoyed the quiet of my home and the extra reading time I now have. We have always enjoyed many of the same activities — movies, plays, concerts and art shows — and have continued to pursue them together. We enjoy spending times with friends and try not to over fill our schedule so there is room to be spontaneous. The cardinal rule now is to not manage the other’s schedule and to leave room to pursue individual interests in addition to spending time together. It works.

Retirement can certainly be an entire new frontier that can be shared with a spirit of adventure and yield a tremendous amount of joy. But like anything in life, it takes a little work to adjust and a lot of communication and respect for your partner. Talk though the seven considerations above and give each other space to grow through the retirement years. You will be all the closer for it!






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.; evening visitor, 6:30 p.m.

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

Thursday: Reading buddy, 11 a.m.; bible study, 1:30 p.m.; pokereno, 2:30 p.m.; laundry day, 3:30 p.m.; Lawrence Welk, 5 p.m.

Friday: What’s cooking? 11 a.m.; bunko, 1:15 p.m.; jigsaw brain tease, 2 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.

Iron County 

Medical Facility

Crystal Falls

Sunday: One-to-one church visitors, 8:30 to 11 a.m.; room visits, 9 to 11 a.m.; hangman, 10 a.m.; bingorama, 2 p.m.; Church of Christ, 3 p.m.

Monday: Cooking, 9 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: CF library, 9:30 a.m.; Book Club, 10 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 10 a.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; bonfire, 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Rhinelander Goodwill, 9 a.m.; travel club, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; garden club, 1 p.m.; you be the judge, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m..; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; Presbyterian church, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 2:30 p.m.

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

Saturday: ICMCF word search/taste test trivia, 10 a.m.; parachute, 11 a.m.; intergenerational social hour, 2 p.m.



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

Exercise: 10 a.m. Sunday through Saturday.

Movie: 10:45 a.m. daily, and 3:15 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Popcorn Day: every Friday

Sunday: Just jokes, 10:15 a.m.; morsels and more, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant church, 3 p.m.

Monday: Did you know? 10:15 am.; Bob Larson music, 2 p.m.; pokeno, 5:45 p.m.

Tuesday: Trivia, 10:15 a.m.; Wheel of Fortune, 2 p.m.; movie and manicure, 5:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Remembering when, 10:15 a.m.; Paula D show, 2 p.m.; flip five, 5:45 p.m.

Thursday: Crosswords, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; magic moments, 5:45 p.m.

Friday: ManorCare monthly, 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.

Monday: Protestant service, 9 a.m.; Bob Larson, 10 a.m.; nickel jokereno, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Men’s breakfast, 7 a.m.; current events, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6:15 p.m.

Wednesday: Jokereno, 10:15 a.m.: courtyard lemonade social, 2 p.m.; chaplet of divine mercy, 3 p.m.; camp fire/music, 6:15 p.m.

Thursday: Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; Scattegories, 10:15 a.m.; religious bingo, 2 p.m.; help your neighbor, 6:15 p.m.

Friday: Ball toss, 10:15 a.m.; short stories, 10:30 a.m.; happy hour with Jim D., 2 p.m.

Saturday: Baking, 10:15 a.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; bingo, 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: Dixie’s birthday party, 2 p.m.

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

Thursday: Communion with Deacon Don, 10 a.m.; left-center-right, 2 p.m.; rosary, 3 p.m.

Friday: Craft class, 2 p.m.; dinner out,4:30 p.m.

Saturday: Movie and popcorn, 2 p.m.

Florence Health Services

Florence, Wis.

Morning news, 6 a.m. daily.

Beauty shop open on Tuesday and Thursday.

Sunday: Church with Pastor Doug 10 a.m.; trivia, 2 p.m.; reading, 6 p.m.

Monday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; room visits, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Chair exercise, 2 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Flippo, 10 a.m.; social hour, 3 p.m.; trivia, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Pastor Jason, 10 a.m.; manicures, 2 p.m.; reminisce, 6 p.m.

Friday: Catholic Mass, 10 a.m.; coffee social, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Bingo, 10 a.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: Outside social, 10:30 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; reminiscing, 3:30 p.m.; room visits, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Casino outing, 10:15 a.m.; cards, 10:30 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; wine and cheese, 2 p.m.; trivia, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Fishing outing, 10:30 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Friday: Catholic Mass, 10:30 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 a.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.; current events, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 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. If you have meals delivered and will not be home, 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


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

Call Center by 1 p.m. with name and number of people to reserve meals.

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

Menu for the week of June 24 was unavailable.

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

Crystal Lake Center


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. 

Dances take place from 7 to 10 p.m. on the second and fourth Fridays of the month. Admission is $6; coffee is free. 

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

The kitchen is currently closed due to plumbing issues, and meals are being served at the Breen Center. Christine McMahon has information for all meals and can be reached at 906-774-2256, ext. 235. 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 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.

Fence Center/Town Hall


Meal at noon Wednesdays only. Reservations are requested. Cribbage and cards are available.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall


Home-delivered meals are available as always. Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. at the center on Friday only. 

The meal site is temporarily closed Monday through Thursday due to a staffing shortage. 

Tipler Town Hall


Serving lunch at noon on the second Thursday of the month.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora


Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday. 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.

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 is required from those younger than 60. Thursday meal, 3:30 p.m. soup, 4 p.m. salad bar, with dinner at 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Home-delivered meals are available — call 906-774-2256 and speak to Christine Tramontine at ext. 235 or Stephen Hodgins at ext. 230.

Menu for the week of June 24 follows:

Monday: Smoked sausage, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, fruit and milk.

Tuesday: Meat ravioli, wax beans, breadsticks, fruit and milk.

Wednesday: Fish, cheesy hash browns, peas, fruit and milk.

Thursday: Meat loaf, baby red potatoes, mixed vegetables, fruit and milk.

Niagara Northwoods Senior Cafe and Center

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. We welcome any senior groups who would like to use the meal site as a meeting place — join us for lunch and 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.

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 June 24:

Monday: Salmon fillet, scalloped potatoes, spinach, salad bar, fruit, juice, and dessert.

Tuesday: Chicken divan over egg noodles, broccoli, soup and salad bar, fruit, juice, and dessert.

Wednesday: Breakfast bake with sausage, hash browns, salad bar, fruit, juice, and muffin.

Thursday: Fish patty on a bun with cheese slice, tator tots, squash, fruit, juice, and dessert.

If Norway-Vulcan area schools are closed due to bad weather days, so is the senior center. If the schools are on a two-hour delay, the center remains open.  

Cards are played daily after the noon meal.

Craft and exercise classes: Mondays and Thursdays.

Ceramic and art classes: Wednesdays.

Puzzles always in the works.

A senior coloring class meets daily. All are welcome. Some materials will be provided.

Telephone reassurance is available for any senior who doesn’t get out much and would like a friendly daily phone check to see that all is well.

Note: File of Life packets available at the center.

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.