Living happier in the coming year

NIAGARA, Wis. — As we enter this new year, there seems to be plenty of things to cause us stress. One only has to listen to the evening news for five minutes to hear the latest developments in Iran, the continued unrest in our Congress and the most recent devastation caused by climate change. So much seems beyond our control; big issues completely out of our hands resting in the hands of people we neither know nor who seem to care about us.

We talked about optimism last week and its importance for a happy and successful life. Yet, when faced with everything we see nationally, how can we be optimistic about the future? How can we find happiness in this new year? For starters, I believe it is important to narrow our field of vision a bit and to realize each of us is only one person. We need to take care of ourselves so we can continue to live our lives positively and favorably impact our communities and the lives of our loved ones.

One of the biggest things we can do for ourselves, and for those we love, is to decrease the level of stress in our lives. When boiled down to the simplest of denominators, stress erodes happiness. In an article written by Elizabeth Scott for the Verywell mind website, she cites the work of two other people, Martin Seligman and Dr. Michael Frisch, as being important contributors to research that helps us understand the link between stress and happiness. She states, “While there is more to happiness than just the absence of stress, there are relationships between stress-relieving activities and happiness.” Both men are pioneers in the field of positive psychology and have found that the ability to control the level of stress in life in turn allows room for more of the lifestyle features that promote happiness.

Let’s take a look at several features that both reduce stress and, consequently, promote happiness in life.

1. Health. Staying healthy maintains happiness. Health issues bring additional stress to our lives and can make it difficult to do some of the things that bring us joy.

2. Self-esteem. Feeling good about who we are is more than a touchy-feely thing we hope to instill in our children. It is important for each of us to like ourselves and be comfortable in our own skin. Unless we love ourselves, we cannot completely love someone else.

3. Goals, values and spiritual life. While different from each other, each of these factors speaks to the importance of having an inner life that gives us a positive focus on something greater than ourselves. Each helps us form a vision that reaches beyond the present moment to seek a better tomorrow.

4. Money. It is true that money does not guarantee happiness, but it does make life easier. Not having enough money to meet basic needs requires us to spend all of our time and energy eking out a living with little room for pursuits that nourish our soul.

5. Work. If we have a job that fulfills us, we are fortunate indeed. Throughout my career in health care public relations, I was fortunate to have a job that challenged me to fulfill my potential every day. And I worked with people who were doing exactly what they wanted to do in their lives so their jobs did not feel like work to them. If this is not yet possible for you, a job that at least doesn’t make you miserable is a must.

6. Play. Everyone needs downtime. No matter how much we enjoy our jobs, having enough leisure time to pursue the other things we enjoy is important for reducing stress and enriching the soul.

7. Learning and creativity. Taking on new skills and stretching into more creative areas of our minds can reveal new capabilities we never before imagined and can help us grow.

8. Helping. By helping others, we change the focus of our lives from inward to outward. Getting outside of ourselves to focus on the needs of others helps us to realize that we can be a positive influence on someone else. Whether it is simply giving a neighbor a hand or volunteering regularly for a cause in which you believe, helping others returns happiness to the giver.

9. Love. Having love in our lives keeps us feeling more joyful; both giving and receiving love makes us more of a complete person.

10. Friends. Maintaining even a small circle of close friends makes for more happiness in life. We have a supportive group to turn to when life gets difficult. Good friends can be the life raft we need when the sea of life gets choppy.

11. Family. Unless we come from drama-prone families, staying in touch with relatives gives us another source for stress relief. Their life experiences can inform ours and help us through the rough spots.

12. Children. Whether they belong to us, a relative or a neighbor, connecting with children can bring much joy into our lives. And the positive impact we have on them in their young years will be felt long after we are gone.

13. Home. Our homes can be a haven at the end of each stress-filled day. And that sanctuary is also an accomplishment that can bring us much pride and joy.

14. Neighborhood. The neighborhoods in which we live can be great sources of happiness as long as they are supportive and danger-free. My own family has benefited from living in our Niagara neighborhood. Growing up, our boys had playmates who became lifelong friends, and I always knew they were safe under the watchful eyes of caring neighbors.

15. Community. Finally, a sense of community is important to happiness. Being part of a like-minded group with common goals, whether it is the physical community in which we live or a work or church community, adds to our sense of belonging and stability.

So, when we find the “big picture” overwhelming and way beyond our control, we can compare our lives to the above checklist. Focusing in on just a few areas of concern will enable us to make positive changes in our lives, and we will be well on our way to a happier 2020.






Scenes and sounds, noon on Sunday and 11:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

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

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

Tuesday: Knit/crochet, 10:30 a.m.; reminisce, 1 p.m.; Kentucky Derby, 2 p.m.

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

Thursday: Reading buddy, 10:30 a.m.; Bible study, 1:15 p.m.; bingo with Carol, 2 p.m.; “Lawrence Welk,” 4:30 p.m.

Friday: What’s cooking? 11 a.m.; parlor games, 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: Room visits, 9 to 11 a.m.; coffee social/high rollers, 10 a.m.; afternoon matinee with popcorn, 1:30 p.m.; Church of Christ, 3 p.m.

Monday: Memory books, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; resident council, 10:30 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; VFW bingo, 2 p.m.; Sunshine Club, 2:30 p.m.; bonfire, 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Book club, 10 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 10 a.m.; mystery ride, 1 p.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; throwaway bingo, 2 p.m.; comedy movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Community breakfast, 9 a.m.; trivia, 10:30 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1 p.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; United Lutheran, 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.; Hawaiian luau/music and fun, 2 p.m.; island movie, dress tropical, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Puzzler/“You Be the Judge,” 10 a.m.; geri-gym, 11 a.m.; intergenerational social hour, 2 p.m.

Manor Care


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

Exercise, 10 a.m. Sunday through Saturday.

Lobby activity, 11:15, Sunday through Saturday and 4:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Popcorn Day every Friday.

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

Monday: Did you know? 10:15 a.m.; Marian Linder music, 2 p.m.; pokeno, 5:45 p.m.

Tuesday: Trivia, 10:15 a.m.; Lutheran church, 2 p.m.; movie and manicure, 5:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Sharpen your senses, 10:15 a.m.; pie social, 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: Finish lines, 10:15 a.m.; “Wheel of Fortune,” 2 p.m.; movie, 3:15 p.m.

Saturday: Current events, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; movie, 3:15 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.; “Deal or No Deal,” 1:30 p.m.; Protestant service, 2:30 p.m.; Christian fellowship, 5:30 p.m.

Monday: Yahtzee, 10:15 a.m.; nickel jokereno, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Current events, 10:15 a.m.; resident council, 2 p.m.; bingo, 2:30 p.m.; help your neighbor, 6:15 p.m.

Wednesday: Yoga, 10 a.m.; monthly birthday party with Ray and Mindy, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 6:15 p.m.

Thursday: Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; board game, Scattegories, 10:15 a.m.; jokereno, 2 p.m.

Friday: Ball toss, 10:15 a.m.; short stories and hot cocoa, 10:30 a.m.; “HAT” happy hour with Ray and Mindy, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Crafts, 10:15 a.m.; pamper and polish, 2 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: “Wheel of Fortune,” 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

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

Thursday: Music with Crystal, 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 except Monday.

Beauty shop open Tuesday and Thursday.

Snack cart, 7 p.m. Sunday through Saturday except Wednesday and Thursday.

Sunday: Bingo/family and friends social time, 10 a.m.; Pastor Miller, 3:30 p.m.

Monday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; coffee and chat, 11 a.m.; mystery tray game, 2 p.m.; social hour, 3 p.m.; reading, 6:15 p.m.

Tuesday: Horse races, 10 a.m.; coffee and chat, 11 a.m.; memory tray game, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Craft, 10 a.m.; coffee and chat, 11 a.m.; manicures, 2 p.m.

Thursday: Pastor Jason, 10 a.m.; coffee and chat, 11 a.m.; minute to win it, 2 p.m.; reminisce, 6:15 p.m.

Friday: Catholic church service, 10 a.m.; coffee and chat, 11 a.m.; trivia, 2 p.m.; happy half-hour, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Bingo/family and friends social time, 10 a.m.; Pictionary, 6:15 p.m.

Pinecrest Medical Care Facility


Sunday: Grace church, 10:15 a.m.; bean bag toss, 10:30 a.m.; Lutheran service, 2 p.m.; king’s corners, 3:30 p.m.

Monday: Life connections, 9:45 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; rosary, 2:30 p.m.; bean bag toss, 3:30 p.m.; checkers, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Crafts, 10 a.m.; busy bee, 12:15 p.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; “Family Feud,” 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Omelet breakfast, 8 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; social circle, 2 p.m.; painting class, 3 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Exercise, 10:30 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; board game, Trouble, 6 p.m.

Friday: Catholic Mass, 10:30 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 a.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.; trivia, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Karaoke, 10:15 a.m.; cards, 10:30 a.m.; beauty shop, 2 p.m.; trivia, 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.

Menu for the week:

Tuesday: Pork roast, mashed potatoes, carrots, and corn relish.

Wednesday: Chicken cacciatore, noodles, peas and lettuce salad.

Thursday: Meatballs and gravy, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables and lettuce salad.

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.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Baked salmon, American fried potatoes and baked beans.

Tuesday: Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, gravy and carrots.

Wednesday: Ham, scalloped potatoes and corn.

Thursday: Night meal, baked chicken, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, peas and biscuits.

Friday: Baked fish or cheeseburger, twice-baked potato and waxed beans.

Soup, salad and dessert are offered with every meal. Reservations for meals are encouraged. Walk-ins are welcomed.

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 than 60; $1 extra for take-out

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

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

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

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:

Monday through Wednesday: Menu not available.

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.

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

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

Thursday: two-person team cribbage, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.; Happy Quilters, 1 p.m.

Friday: Smear, noon.

The kitchen once again is open and serving meals. A new lunch program is offered from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. every Wednesday. Meals cost $5 for those younger than 60 years old and a $4 donation for those older than 60.

Home-delivered meal menu for week:

Monday: Stuffed green peppers, stewed tomatoes, dinner roll and butter.

Tuesday: Open-face pork sandwich, mashed potatoes and green beans.

Wednesday: Creamy spinach and chicken soup, side salad and crackers.

Thursday: Chef salad with dressing, croutons and cottage cheese.

Friday: Philly casserole, peas, dinner roll and butter.

Wednesday: Noon meal at center — Creamy spinach and chicken soup and deluxe salad bar.

Transportation is available from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call Buzzin’ Around Town at 906-282-0492. Rides are $3 for age 60 and older, and $3.50 for younger than 60. 

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.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Yorkshire beef, mashed potatoes and green beans.

Tuesday: Beef stroganoff, egg noodles and broccoli.

Wednesday: Fried chicken, biscuits, potato salad and baked beans.

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:

Monday: Vegetable lasagna, salad, breadsticks, and fruit.

Tuesday: Homemade pizza, dark green salad, garlic bread, fruit.

Wednesday: Liver and onions or chicken, baked potatoes, candied carrots and fruit crisp.

Thursday: Pasties with gravy, coleslaw, fruit and cookies.

Friday: John Wayne casserole, baked beans, broccoli and Mandarin oranges.

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

Fence Center/Town Hall


For meal reservations, call 855-528-2372

Meal served Wednesday only with the same menu as listed under ADRC of Florence County. Reservations are requested. Cribbage and cards are available.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall

For meal reservations, call 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

For meal reservations, call 715-674-2320

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

For meal reservations, call 715-589-4491

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 is 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.

Saturday, Jan. 18: Pancake breakfast, 8 to 11 a.m. Cost is $5.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Mushroom cheeseburger, potato wedges and mixed vegetables.

Tuesday: Tuna casserole, peas and carrots and roll.

Wednesday: Beef barley soup and tossed salad.

Thursday: Pork roast, mashed potatoes and corn.

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. 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:

Monday: Enchilada with lettuce and tomato, beans and rice, salad bar, fruit, juice, and dessert.

Tuesday: Boiled dinner– ham, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, soup and salad bar, biscuit, fruit, juice, and dessert.

Wednesday: Chicken parmesan with penne pasta, green beans, garlic bread, salad bar, fruit, juice, and dessert.

Thursday: Birthday Club, pulled pork on a bun, Brussel sprouts, coleslaw, soup and salad bar, fruit, juice and birthday cake.

Cards are played daily after the noon meal.

Craft and exercise classes: Mondays and Thursdays.

Ceramic and art classes: Wednesdays.

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. 

Menu for the week:

Tuesday: Chicken cordon bleu, mixed vegetables, mashed potatoes and Mandarin oranges.

Wednesday: Biscuits and gravy, hash browns and spiced applesauce.

Thursday: Lasagna, carrots, peaches and breadsticks.


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