Dec. 31 was the last day to enroll in Medicare Part D (unless special circumstances apply to you). While some people still are meeting their deductible, others already are approaching the gap in coverage known as the donut hole. The gap in coverage is when you pay the full price of the prescriptions. This can be a very expensive process, but there is hope out there.

Drug-assistance programs, long sponsored by pharmaceutical manufacturers, provide consumers with billions of dollars a year in free or low-cost drugs. To qualify, patients must meet strict financial requirements. Many seniors may be able to take advantage of these programs if they apply. Be aware that this can be a time-consuming process so do not delay. Allow four to six weeks to process your application.

Patient assistance programs include:

www.needymeds.org. This Web site allows you to search for applicable programs, download application forms and learn the qualifications to apply.

www.rxassist.org allows you to search a database of applicable programs by medication. It provides tip sheets on getting free or low-cost medications, information on co-pays, generic drugs and other types of assistance.www.togetherrxaccess.com or (800) 444-4106 is a free discount card that offers 20 to 40 percent discounts on retail prices of 300 drugs.

www.merckhelps.com/uninsured or www.pfizerhelpfulanswers.com offer discounts on their medications.

www.rxoutreach.com or (800) 769-3880 offers more than 350 generic medications at a cost of $20 to $95 for 180-day supplies.

'Eat Smart, Live Long'

There is still time to enroll in the "Eat Smart, Live Long" program sponsored by Finney County Extension.

The sessions will begin at 1:30 p.m. April 1. Please note this date is different from previously announced. Classes will last for one hour and will continue for four weeks, ending on April 22. Classes will begin and end with gentle exercises. There will be food, recipes and fun.

Reservations are requested. Call 272-3620 to save your place.

Scheduled activities

Thursday: TOPS meet at 8:30 a.m. Meals on Wheels committee meets at 9 a.m. The art class meets at 10 a.m. Lunch is at noon, provided by Commerce Bank (reservations are required). The Ambassador Singers practice at 1 p.m.

Friday: Line dancing starts at 8:30 a.m., followed by STEPS at 10 a.m. Craft Shop check-in/out begins at 10 a.m. A nurse will be available from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bridge begins at 12:45 p.m.

Saturday: Prairie Land Food pick-up starts at 7 a.m. The Senior Center is rented for a party from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The pool room is open in the afternoon. Fiddlers, Pickers and Singers will meet from 4 to 11 p.m.

Sunday: Duplicate bridge begins at 2 p.m.

Monday: Exercises are at 8:30 a.m. STEPS begin at 10 a.m. Humdinger Band practices at 12:30 p.m. Bridge and double pinochle begin at 12:45 p.m. The Upbeats practice at 3 p.m. Duplicate bridge is at 7 p.m.

Tuesday: Pitch is played at 12:45 p.m. Open pool is from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. This is the final session of Tuesday night tournaments. Watch this column for future evening pool room activities.

March 31: Line dancing starts at 8:30 a.m. STEPS begin at 10 a.m. Completely Unraveled meets at 1 p.m. Pinochle starts at 12:45 p.m. The Inez Wasinger Free Dance, sponsored by Dr. Michael Baughman and Sandhill Orthopedic and Sportsmedicine, begins at 7 p.m. Bring finger food for the break.

Lunch menu

Lunch is served at noon.

Thursday (free meal from Commerce Bank; reservations are required): Baked ham, sweet potatoes, winter mix vegetables with cheese sauce, pudding, wheat bread.

Friday: Baked fish or Salisbury steak with gravy, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, lime gelatin, wheat roll.

Monday: Chicken tetrazzini, sweet potatoes, green beans with pimentos, citrus fruit, wheat roll.

Tuesday: Chuck wagon steak, potato wedge, tossed salad with tomatoes, apple crisp, wheat roll.

March 31: Ham and beans or beef stew, stewed tomatoes, corn bread, peaches, brownies.