An open mind encourages a healthier brain

NIAGARA, Wis. — For years, my husband and I have watched “CBS Sunday Morning” each week. It is like viewing a magazine on television — 90 minutes filled with lifestyle pieces, interviews with interesting people, and glimpses of lives lived very differently from our own.

Each episode ends with a nature segment that focuses on a different part of the country during which there is absolutely no other sounds except those made by the landscape being highlighted; no background music other than rushing streams, wind in the trees, or the chirping of birds.

Every week we feel as though we have been on a vacation without ever leaving our recliners. I mention this program because it gives our brain a healthy dose of “different.” By viewing it, we are exposed to different cultures, people who have made different choices in their lives, different ways of thinking, and new ideas. Consequently, we learn that there are more ways than ours to lead a life.

I mention this because one of the signs of aging is becoming “set in our ways” and displaying an unwillingness to look at life through a different lens. Whether we like it or not, time marches on and new challenges present themselves. New challenges require new solutions if positive change is to continue. And we need to broaden our perspective if we are to understand the changing world in which we live. Different does not mean less or bad, but it does require effort on our part to understand and appreciate. Our lives become enriched when we can honestly say that we do not expect our neighbors to be just like us and can accept them for what they add to our neighborhood.

One of the biggest learning experiences my husband and I had in our young married years was when he taught English as a second language to a class of migrant workers in Beaver Dam, Wis. He did not speak a word of Spanish, and his students had learned their limited English in one of two ways depending upon where they had lived in the past. They had either learned it in classrooms so could read it quite well or they had learned it in the streets so could speak it very well. They were very willing to learn, but they also wanted to share their language with my husband. As he taught them the English word “bear,” they taught him its Spanish equivalent, “osa.” They teased him about his bologna sandwiches as they pulled hot chili peppers from jars at lunchtime.

We were invited to one of the student’s homes for supper, and I was not sure what to expect. I had grown up in a small German farming community with its scheduled and rather reserved way of life — a nicer way of saying stubbornly entrenched in its perception of proper. We were treated to hospitality like we had never experienced before — guitar playing, singing, and delicious food all wrapped up in spontaneity. We left feeling very happy that we had accepted their invitation; our minds had been opened to a lifestyle that, though different than ours, was very vibrant and rich.

As we age, it is important for us to strive for continued open-mindedness. In an article written by Kendra Cherry for the Verywell Mind web site at www.verywellmind.com, she states that “open mindedness is a characteristic that involves being receptive to a wide variety of ideas, arguments, and information. It is generally considered a positive quality and a necessary ability in order to think critically and rationally.” She continues, “If you are not open to other ideas and perspectives, it is difficult to see all of the factors that contribute to problems and to come up with effective solutions. In an increasingly polarized world, being able to step outside your comfort zone and consider other perspectives and ideas is important.”

It is important to understand that being open-minded does not mean we sacrifice those beliefs we hold dear. It simply means that our friend or neighbor has just as much right to his or her beliefs as we do to ours — even though they may be totally opposite. Being different does not mean being wrong. And it goes without saying that different views can co-exist as long as no one is injured in the process.

So, despite our age, let’s strive for open-mindedness. It is the bearer of many benefits.

1. We gain insight when we allow our existing beliefs to be challenged; insights into other people, the world around us and ourselves. When we are challenged with new ideas, we learn why we think the way we do.

2. Being open to new ideas can bring new experiences into our lives. If you were taught as a child that water was dangerous and to be feared, think how your world is enhanced when you learn how to swim.

3. Keeping an open mind will allow you to learn more about the world and the people in it. Contrary to the old saying, ignorance is not bliss — it’s just ignorance.

4. Staying open to new ideas and experiences can help you to become a stronger, more interesting person yourself as your knowledge grows along with each new experience.

5. One of the biggest problems with a closed mind is that it often leads to a greater sense of negativity. You only have your own circle of experience from which to draw so eventually will run up against something you cannot solve alone. Consequently, your attitude is one that says “it can’t be done.” An open mind allows itself to draw on the experiences of others and will be able to find a greater selection of solutions to difficult times.

6. When you are open minded, you allow yourself to learn new things. When you surround yourself with the same old ideas, there is nothing fertilizing your brain; nothing new is growing in your mind! Push your boundaries and reach out to people with different experiences and new ideas to keep your brain alive.

So, by all means, be true to yourself and your beliefs. There is great satisfaction in knowing who you are and what you stand for. But remember there is always room for growth. Time marches on, and the world around us is forever evolving. That evolution requires us to adapt… or to become a dinosaur. I don’t know about you, but I am not ready to become extinct.






Scenes and sounds, noon Sunday and 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday and 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: Busy room, 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.; bingo, 2 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 3 p.m.

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

Friday: What’s cooking, 10 a.m.; Valentine luncheon with Crystal and Dawn, noon; Golden K bingo, 2 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.; how do you feel? 10 a.m.; afternoon matinee with popcorn, 1:30 p.m.; Church of Christ, 3 p.m.

Monday: Crafts, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; VFW bingo, 2 p.m.; Sunshine Club, 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Book club, 10 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 10 a.m.; St. Vinnie’s, noon; travel film, 1 p.m.; ball selection, 1:30 p.m.; western movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Coffee social/current events, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; getting pretty, 1:15 p.m.; men’s club, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1 p.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; Christ United, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 2:30 p.m.

Friday: Hair and party prep — dress delivery, 9 to 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; Valentine’s ball/music and fun, 2 p.m.; romance movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Puzzler/reminisce, 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 a.m. 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.; Valentine party with Golden Throats, 2 p.m.; flip five, 5:45 p.m.

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

Friday: ABC game, 10:15 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 2 p.m.; chips and chatter, 2:30 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/communion, 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.

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.; concert, Group Therapy, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Protestant service, 9 a.m.; spelling bee, 10:15 a.m.; travel club, 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.; Valentine’s trivia, 10:30 a.m.; Valentine party, happy hour with Crystal Hogan, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Crafts, 10:15 a.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 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: “Hoodie-Hoo” Day/banana splits, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Birthday party, 2 p.m.

Thursday: Music with Gail, 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.

Sunday: Bingo/family and friends social time, 10 a.m.; Pastor Miller, 3:30 p.m.; snack cart, 7 p.m.

Monday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; coffee and chat, 11 a.m.; “Wheel of Fortune,” 2 p.m.; social hour, 3 p.m.; reading, 6 p.m.; snack cart, 7 p.m.

Tuesday: Resident council meeting, 10 a.m.; coffee and chat, 11 a.m.; memory tray, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Craft, 10 a.m.; pen pal day, 2 p.m.; music with Grace and Dave, 6:15 p.m.

Thursday: Pastor Jason, 10 a.m.; coffee and chat, 11 a.m.; manicures, 2 p.m.; reminisce, 6:15 p.m.

Friday: Couples lunch, 11 a.m.; Valentine’s Day party, 2:30 p.m.; reading, 6:15 p.m.

Saturday: Bingo/family and friends social time, 10 a.m.; Pictionary, 6:15 p.m.; snack cart, 7 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.

Monday: Life connections, 9:45 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; worship and communion service, 1:30 p.m.; rosary, 2:30 p.m.; bean bag toss, 3:30 p.m.; checkers, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Veterans program, 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: Baking class, 10:30 a.m.; busy bee, 12:45 p.m.; bunco, 2 p.m.; painting class, 3 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Valentine’s pancake breakfast,8 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.; Valentine’s party with Bob Whitens, 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.; piano class with Cindy Betters, 2 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: Chop suey, rice. Oriental vegetables and salad.

Wednesday: Meat loaf, oven-browned potatoes, broccoli and corn relish.

Thursday: Sausage and sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, corn and 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: Burrito.

Tuesday: Smoked sausage, sauerkraut, parsley potatoes and wax beans.

Wednesday: Chicken stir fry, Oriental vegetables and rice.

Thursday: Scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, fried potatoes, biscuits and gravy and pancakes.

Friday: Fish or ham, baked potatoes and cream corn.

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: Meatballs, gnocchi and vegetables.

Tuesday: Barbecue pulled pork sandwiches and oven fries.

Wednesday: Pasty pie.

Crystal Lake Center


The center is closed on weekends.

Monday: Woodcarvers, 10 a.m.; Les Artistes Art Club, noon.

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

Friday: Smear, noon.

In addition to home-delivered meals, a lunch at the center is offered every Wednesday from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. along with two evening meals each month. Meals cost $5 for those younger than 60 and a $4 donation for those older than 60.

Home-delivered meal menu for week:

Monday: Au gratin potatoes and ham, cauliflower and dinner roll.

Tuesday: Hamburger and macaroni casserole, biscuit and spiced pears.

Wednesday: Broccoli and cheese soup and turkey sandwich.

Thursday: Shrimp alfredo, Italian blend vegetables and bread stick.

Friday: Chef salad with dressing, Jell-O and cottage cheese.

Any questions regarding the home-delivered meal program at this center can be directed to Christine McMahon at 906-774-2256.

Wednesday meal at center: broccoli and cheese soup, turkey sandwich and salad bar.

Thursday night meal at center: shrimp alfredo, Italian blend vegetables and bread stick.

Transportation is available from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 906-282-0492 or 906-774-2256. 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: Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes and carrots.

Tuesday: Chicken alfredo, noodles and peas.

Wednesday: Pizza sub, chips and green beans with almonds.

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: Waffle sticks, breakfast sausage, hash brown patty, peaches and orange juice.

Tuesday: Breaded chicken patty on a bun, white bean parmesan spinach soup and fruit.

Wednesday: Scalloped potatoes with ham, broccoli, fruit and pudding.

Thursday: Meat loaf, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, fruit and birthday cake.

Friday: Beef noodle casserole, squash, fruit cocktail and fruit juice.

Fence Center/Town Hall


Call meal reservations to 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

Call meal reservations to 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

Call meal reservations to 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

Call meal reservations to 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.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Barbecue pork, potato wedges and baked beans.

Tuesday: Philly steak casserole, carrots and roll.

Wednesday: Cheesy broccoli soup and ham sandwich.

Thursday: Rigatoni, meat sauce, Italian vegetables and breadstick.

Saturday, Feb. 15: Pancake breakfast, 8 to 11 a.m. Cost is $5.

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. 

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.

Tuesday: CSFP (Green Card) food distribution in Norway on the corner of 10th and Saginaw Streets, 8:30 to 9 a.m.

Menu for the week:

Monday: Breakfast bake, hash browns, muffin, salad bar, fruit, juice and dessert.

Tuesday: Valentine’s Dinner: Lasagna, green beans, garlic bread, soup and salad bar, fruit, juice and dessert.

Wednesday: Meat loaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, squash, salad bar, fruit, juice and dessert.

Thursday: Taco salad over tortilla chips, vegetable toppings, soup and salad bar, fruit, juice and dessert.

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.

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. 

Please note: The cook for the Sagola Center is on vacation the month of February, so no meals will be served this month. A few homebound people will receive some meals from the Felch Senior Center.