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Paying attention to health will ease the journey to old age

NIAGARA, Wis. — It’s no secret that developing healthy habits throughout life will help the aging process. Certainly we cannot help our genetics, but many problems later in life develop because we did not make healthy choices when we were young. Granted, our younger years were definitely busier with raising a family and earning a living, so finding time to indulge in what we may have perceived to be “time consuming, expensive healthy habits” may not have made our to-do lists. Or we may have had precious time for recreation, and we perceived a healthy activity to be boring. But I read a recent article in the “Very Well Mind” newsletter, written by Kacie Goff, that lists a dozen small, budget-friendly lifestyle habit tweaks that can be easy — and fun — for even the busiest person to accomplish.

The following list describes small adjustments that benefit every human. These minor modifications to your daily routine now will help get you to better health down the road. You will not have to give up a ton of money, time or enjoyment to accomplish them.

1. Prioritize sleep. I know for me this was a real challenge. No matter the challenges, getting enough sleep each night — at least seven hours — is what our bodies and brains need for optimum physical and mental health. If this is proving difficult for you, help out your natural circadian rhythm by going to bed and getting up at the same times every day.

2. Walk more. This simple activity gives both your physical and mental health a boost. Physically, regular walking supports a healthy immune system, reduces joint pain, and makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight. Regular walking will help combat any symptoms of depression or anxiety and boost your mental wellness in general. Take a walk at the same time each day. If you do not have time early in the morning or later after supper, try to work in a walk over your lunch break at work.

3. Read for 30 minutes. Stress is a killer. Reading is a known stress-buster. So, crack open a book for a half hour of reading each day. Pick a quiet time of day that you can steal for yourself, and start a daily habit of reading for enjoyment. One study found that reading for even this short time can have the same stress-reducing effect as yoga or laughter. Reading also improves the connections within your brain and will work to fight cognitive decline in old age.

4. Meditate. This practice is not as exotic as it sounds. Our world is so busy and demands such high levels of hyper connection from us that we reach a level of exhaustion and wonder why. Where did my day go? Meditation simply means setting some tranquil time aside each day — it doesn’t have to be a long time — during which we can quiet and refocus our minds as we practice deep breathing. Get instruction on the internet, and there are apps to use that will guide you through the experience.

5. Spend time in nature. Much research has been done on this topic, and it has been found that it will improve our ability to learn, increase our attention span, lower our risk of mental illness, and increase empathy and social connectivity. This activity is made so much easier because of where we live, so take advantage of it. Most of us need only walk out our back door to be immersed in the flow of a river or the breeze through the trees.

6. Eat more plant-based foods. Work to put more plants on your plate. This way of eating helps you maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels and reduces the risk for some chronic conditions. They give our bodies the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients we need to keep our bodies working at their highest levels. Incorporate more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and beans into your daily meals.

7. Drink more water. Our bodies are comprised of mostly water so it makes sense that we need to replenish the supply throughout the day. Water helps to flush our waste, keep joints lubricated, and aid our digestive processes. Carry a bottle with you.

8. Reduce alcohol intake. If you are used to consuming a lot of alcohol, reducing your consumption will accomplish the following: lower the risk of high blood pressure and depression, promote better absorption of nutrients from the foods you eat, improve sleep and minimize fatigue, and support liver health. The CDC recommend that men have two or fewer drinks per day, while women should have no more than one drink per day. If this is a struggle for you, find a healthy non-alcoholic drink to substitute for the daily alcohol.

9. Quit smoking. This should not surprise anyone. Smoking is bad for the heart and lungs so naturally it is bad for longevity. Simply put, if you want to live longer and healthier, ditch this habit. Do not turn to vaping as an alternative. It may be less harmful, but it’s just as addictive and still comes with health risks. Consult your physician for help, and take his or her advice seriously.

10. Spend time with loved ones. Feelings of happiness go a long way to improving mental health. And it has been proven that people who have a social network in which they associate often have a greater degree of happiness. If you already have a group of friends, you are well on your way. If, however, you feel lonely because you lack social connection, make an effort to join groups so you can connect with others. Such groups can be found through church attendance, at work, or volunteering. Getting to know your neighbors is another good way to connect with people.

11. Take a break from electronics. With the proliferation of computers and cell phones comes a great deal of screen time, which studies have directly linked to lower psychological well-being. Fortunately, the reverse is true. A “digital detox” can improve sleep and boost focus and productivity. Additionally, it reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety and supports real-life social connections. Try going off social media apps for awhile to see how it feels. Carve out time each day to be screen free; for better sleep, make it the last hour before bedtime.

12. Start a new hobby. Pick something you have always wanted to try, and go for it. Having something new to concentrate on will help reduce stress and boost your mental well-being. Depending upon the hobby, you may also be getting more physical exercise as well for a double bonus.

It is easy to believe we are too busy to make these healthy changes. But truth be told, we either make the changes now or pay for it later when we retire with poor health. There is nothing sadder than to work our entire lives and then be too sick to enjoy the life we have been working so hard to achieve. Start small by choosing a couple of changes you want to make. Work on them until they become habits, then add a couple more. Before long, you will be cruising through life on your way to retirement … and enjoying the ride.

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NURSING HOMES/SENIOR LIVING FACILITIES

Freeman Nursing and Rehabilitation Community

Kingsford

906-774-1530

They welcome anyone who would like to entertain the residents. Volunteers are also needed to help with crafts and other activities.

Sunday: Church on TV/resident self-activities, 10 a.m.; strong tower church, 1 p.m.

Monday: Breakfast fun, 7:45 a.m.; rosary, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11:45 a.m.; dice club, 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Breakfast fun, 7:45 a.m.; hair, 10 a.m.; Mount Olive Church, 10:45 a.m.; music, YouTube, 11:45 a.m.; memory cafe host, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Breakfast fun, 7:45 a.m.; garden club, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11:45 a.m.; art, 1:30 p.m.

Thursday: Breakfast fun, 7:45 a.m.; noodle baseball, 10 a.m.; music, YouTube, 11:45 a.m.; crafts, 1:30 p.m.

Friday: Breakfast fun, 7:45 a.m.; room visits, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11:45 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Resident choice — have fun with the weekend packet.

Iron County Medical Care Facility

Crystal Falls

906-874-1501

Sunday: Room visits, 8:30 a.m.; Yahtzee, 9:30 a.m.; chair exercise, 10:45 a.m.; afternoon matinee with popcorn, 1:30 p.m.

Monday: Crafts, 9:30 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Sunshine Club, 2:30 p.m.; bonfire, 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Catholic Mass, 10 a.m.; book club, 10 a.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; Dan’s song for seniors, 2 p.m.; classic movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Getting pretty, 9:30 a.m.; men’s club, 10 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; birthday party with Jan and Gino, 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.; United Lutheran, 2 p.m.; happy hour with music, 2:30 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9:30 a.m.; exercise, 10:45 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; garden club, 2 p.m.; comedy movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: ICMCF word search/spelling bball, 9:30 a.m.; geri-gym, 10:45 a.m.; social hour, 2 p.m.; romance movie, 6 p.m.

Optalis Healthcare

Kingsford

906-774-4805

Sunday: File and style, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; po-ke-no, 1 p.m.

Monday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; exercise, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; Name 5, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; Whac-a-Mole, 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 10 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; birthday party, 2 p.m.

Thursday: Wet your whistle, 9 a.m.; chair yoga, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Friday: Chips and chatter, 9 a.m.; reminiscing, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; fun in the sun, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Devotional, 9:30 a.m.; room visits, 11 a.m.; hangman, 1 p.m.

Maryhill Manor Nursing Home

Niagara, Wis.

715-251-3172

Families are allowed to attend activities and are encouraged to join in.

Sunday: Coffee and chit chat, 10 a.m.; delivery of communion, 12:30 p.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; church service, 2:30 p.m.

Monday: Rosary/communion service, 9 a.m.; pamper and polish, 10 a.m.; picnic at the river, 11 a.m.; lawn darts, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Rosary/communion service, 9 a.m.; Protestant service, 10 a.m.; yoga session, 10 a.m.; courtyard campfire, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Rosary/communion service, 9 a.m.; outdoor game, 10 a.m.; jokereno, 2 p.m.; evening prayer, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Rosary/communion, 9 a.m.; Uno, 10 a.m.; outing to Family Ties for cornhole challenge, 10 a.m.; courtyard cabana: root beer floats, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.

Friday: Short stories, 10 a.m.; C & R happy hour with Jim on the piano, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Yahtzee, 10 a.m.; courtyard cabana, popsicles, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy/Sunday scripture, 3 p.m.

Northshore Healthcare

Florence, Wis.

715-528-4833

Sunday: Independent activities.

Monday: Painting, 10 a.m.; bowling, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Social, hot chocolate, 10 a.m.; manicure, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Exercise/chair yoga, 10 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Thursday: Pastor Jason, 10 a.m.; live music with Larry, 2 p.m.

Friday: Catholic communion, 10 a.m.; movie, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Independent activities.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain

906-774-5158

Sunday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1:30 p.m.

Monday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo and refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; trivia and refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo and refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Thursday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Friday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; refreshments, 1:30 p.m.

Saturday: Juice time, 10 a.m.

Pinecrest Medical

Care Facility

Powers

906-497-5244

Sunday: Morning visits and reality orientation; donuts with dads, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11:15 a.m.; church services, 1:30 p.m.; Uno, 2:30 p.m.; coloring pages.

Monday: Morning visits and reality orientation; open room, 9:30 a.m.; fish or fantasy, 11 a.m.; music with Bob Larson, 2 p.m.; manicure Monday, 3 p.m.; movie, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Morning visits and reality orientation; open room, 9:30 a.m.; food talk with Scott and resident council meeting, 10:45 a.m.; pondering prompts, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; “Jeopardy,” 4 p.m.

Wednesday: Morning visits and reality orientation; open room, 9:30 a.m.; table talk, 11 a.m.; crafty Wednesday, quirky cork giraffe, 2 p.m.; science anyone?, 4 p.m.

Thursday: Morning visits and reality orientation; open room, 9:30 a.m.; baking, 10:30 a.m.; trivia, 11:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; sensory, 4 p.m.

Friday: Morning visits and reality orientation; Catholic Mass, 10:30 a.m.; who-what-where, 11 a.m.; sip and paint, 2 p.m.; patio book club, 4 p.m.; Bunco, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Morning visits and reality orientation; exercise, 10 a.m.; trivia, 11 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; activity packets.

SENIOR CENTERS

Amasa Center

906-822-7284

Menu for the week —

Tuesday: Honey mustard chicken, potatoes, green beans, biscuit, fruit crumble.

Wednesday: Strawberry spinach salad with shredded chicken, fruit cobbler, croissant.

Thursday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, candied carrots, garlic cheese biscuit.

Breen Center

Kingsford

906-774-5110

Open for dine-in eating Monday through Thursday, serving at noon. Friday and night meals are on hold indefinitely. Carryout meals are available. Soup and salad bar are also available.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Lasagna, green beans, garlic French bread.

Tuesday: Chicken and dressing sandwich, mashed potatoes, baked beans, Jell-O.

Wednesday: Pea soup with ham, grilled cheese sandwich, dessert.

Thursday: Deluxe hamburger, seasoned potato wedges, corn on the cob, pudding.

Note: All meals served with a choice of skim milk or juice and fruit.

Crystal Falls Center

Head Cook: Elizabeth Peryam

Assistant Cooks: Debbie Bigalke and Shannon Stapleton

906-875-6709

The center is now open on Mondays and is serving meals for dine-in or takeout — call the center by 1 p.m. to make reservations or to place an order. All food is purchased from local vendors. All dinners include warm vegetables, salad bar, soup, homemade desserts, coffee, tea, or milk. Salad bar begins at 4:30 p.m. and dinner is served at 5 p.m. Pickup for takeout meals is 4 p.m. — call ahead and leave a message with a phone number. A volunteer will deliver meals to homebound citizens only.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Shepherd’s pie.

Tuesday: Pulled pork sandwich, oven-browned potatoes, 50-50 raffle.

Wednesday: Macaroni and cheese with meat casserole.

Home-delivered meals (prepared by DICSA – independent from above menu) —

Monday: Hamburger gravy over noodles, buttered corn, stuffing.

Tuesday: Layered chicken casserole, cauliflower, croissant.

Wednesday: Turkey stroganoff, broccoli, spiced pears.

Thursday: Liver and onions, roasted garlic potatoes, asparagus, biscuit.

Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency

DICSA

Iron Mountain

906-774-2256, ext. 230 or 235

This is a Meals on Wheels program only. Home-delivered meals only — call to make arrangements.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Hamburger gravy over noodles, buttered corn, stuffing.

Tuesday: Layered chicken casserole, cauliflower, croissant.

Wednesday: Turkey stroganoff, broccoli, spiced pears.

Thursday: Liver and onions, roasted garlic potatoes, asparagus, biscuit.

Friday: Spring pesto vegetable soup, ham sandwich, banana, crackers (sack lunch).

Note: All meals include a choice of skim milk, juice, or no beverage.

For more information, call Christine McMahon at 906-774-2256.

Crystal Lake Center

Iron Mountain

906-828-1776

Schedule for the week is:

Monday: Les Artistes art club, noon to 4 p.m.; woodcarvers, starting at 9 a.m.

Tuesday: Cards — Pinochle and cribbage, noon to 4 p.m.; Happy Quilters, noon to 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Bingo, 1 to 3 p.m.; cards cost 25 cents with 10 games played

Thursday: Spinning Spools quilting, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Friday: Cards — smear, noon to 4 p.m.

Felch Center

906-246-3559

Open for dine-in eating — call for serving times. Carryout meals also available. Menu for the week —

Monday: Taco salad, fiesta corn salad, tortilla chips.

Tuesday: Pulled pork sandwich, potato wedges, coleslaw, fruit crumble.

Wednesday: Evening meal: Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes with gravy, mixed vegetables, dessert.

Note: All meals served with skim milk or juice.

Home-delivered meals —

Monday: Hamburger gravy over noodles, buttered corn, stuffing.

Tuesday: Layered chicken casserole, cauliflower, croissant.

Wednesday: Turkey stroganoff, broccoli, spiced pears.

Aging and Disability Resource Center

Florence County, Wis.

715-528-4890

Director: Tiffany White

Menu for the week —

Monday: Sweet and sour pork, rice, broccoli and cauliflower, fruit.

Tuesday: Turkey sandwich, minestrone soup, cottage cheese with peaches, pumpkin bars.

Wednesday: Swiss steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, fruit pie and ice cream.

Thursday: Liver and onions or chicken breast, au gratin potatoes, emperor vegetable blend, fruit.

Friday: Hamburger stroganoff over noodles, carrots, side salad, fruit.

Note: All meals served with whole grain bread, butter and milk.

Fence Center/Town Hall

715-336-2980

RSVP for meal at 855-528-2372

Same as ADRC menu, served at noon on Wednesday only.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall

RSVP for meal at 715-528-4261

Open Monday through Thursday, serving at 11:30 a.m.

Reservations for a meal onsite need to be made 48 hours in advance by calling the above number.

Tipler Town Hall

RSVP for meals at 715-674-2320

Same as ADRC menu, served at noon on second Thursday only.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora

RSVP for meals at 715-589-4491

Same as ADRC menu, served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Barb Peters

906-498-7735

Center is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Meals are served through the Menominee-Delta-Schoolcraft Community Action Agency in Escanaba. Meals On Wheels program is available for those who are homebound.

Monday: Breaded chicken breast, hamburger bun, oven potatoes, cook’s choice vegetables, peaches.

Tuesday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, fresh fruit, whole wheat bread.

Wednesday: Boneless pork chop, boiled potatoes, country trio vegetables, fruited yogurt, whole wheat bread.

Thursday: Swiss steak over rice, far east vegetables, applesauce.

Friday: Chef salad (tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, cubes of meat and cheese), muffin, cook’s choice fruit cup.

Iron River Center

906-265-6134

Dine-in meal served at 11 a.m. Carryout meals also available. Salad bar is available. No night meals at this time.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Chicken fettuccine Alfredo, broccoli, dinner roll with butter.

Tuesday: Hot beef sandwich, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn.

Wednesday: Pineapple pork fried rice, Oriental vegetables, whole wheat bun.

Thursday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, candied carrots, garlic and cheese biscuit, fruit crumble.

All meals are served with choice of skim milk or juice and fruit.

Niagara Senior Center/Cafe

715-251-1603

Dinner is served at noon Monday through Thursday. Reservations are required one day in advance. Suggested donation is $5 for those older than 60 and $11 for 60 and younger. Bingo played on most Wednesdays. Transportation is available.

Tuesday: Picnic day – Turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce and tomato, chips, fresh Mandarin orange.

Wednesday: Chili dog on a bun, warm mixed bean salad, apple crisp.

Thursday: Pork roast with gravy, sauerkraut, sweet potatoes, green peas, wheat roll.

Bingo on Tuesdays and Wednesdays this month.

Norway Center

Director: Joyce Olesky

Head cook: Brian Gutkowski

906-563-8716

Dine-in eating begins at 11:15 a.m. Salad bar available from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Takeout meals available for pick-up from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Let staff know in advance if planning to dine in or pick up meals.

Menu for the week —

Monday: Shepherd’s pie, biscuit, vegetable.

Tuesday: Sloppy Joes, tater barrels, vegetables.

Wednesday: Two meal day — 11 a.m., chef salad with vegetables, ham, chicken, hard-boiled egg and breadstick; 4 p.m., barbecue ribs, mashed potatoes, gravy and vegetable.

Thursday: Lasagna, breadstick, vegetable.

All meals include milk, juice, fruit, bread and dessert.

Board meeting on Thursday.

Birthdays and bingo on Thursday.

Center activity schedule:

Mondays and Thursdays — Exercise at 10 a.m. and card bingo after the meal.

Monday through Thursday — Card game 101 from noon to 3 p.m. Call Joe at 906-563-5587 for information.

Tuesdays — Quilting and sewing.

Wednesdays — Ceramics and crocheting.

Second Thursday of each month — Birthdays and bingo.

Sagola Center

906-542-3273

Dine-in meals served. Salad bar opens at 11 a.m. and meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Carryout meals also available.

Menu for the week —

Tuesday: Swedish meatballs, buttered noodles, mixed vegetables.

Wednesday: Stuffed peppers, peas, biscuit, Jell-O with fruit.

Thursday: Hot beef sandwich, mashed potatoes with gravy, corn, baked apples.

All meals served with an option of milk, juice or no beverage.

Home-delivered meals —

Monday: Hamburger gravy over noodles, buttered corn, stuffing.

Tuesday: Layered chicken casserole, cauliflower, croissant.

Wednesday: Turkey stroganoff, broccoli, spiced pears.

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