Retirement should be planned, not just left to happen because you are "that age."

Some retirees think of retirement as well-earned rest. Others anticipate time to travel, pursue hobbies or spend time with family. However you plan on spending your retirement years, the more you plan, the better off you are.

Many retirees find themselves feeling useless when they stop working. Most people spend most of their lives on schedules, and an empty day can seem endless. The best way to adjust to change is gradual. Slowly reduce the amount of hours spent working. By reducing your work schedule over many months or years, you can learn to fill in the empty time.

Many retirees still want to work; many companies will allow semi-retirement. If your company does not, many companies welcome older, part-time workers. City Link and the Mini Bus services are a great example of how valuable the older, part-time workers can be to a business. We find the older worker very highly motivated and conscientious.

Many retirees decide to go back to college to pursue interests that a career has kept on hold. Don't let your age stop you; many schools report that 15 percent of the student body is adults.

Volunteering is a great way to meet interesting people, feel useful and help your community and others in need.

Social service work is an important volunteer opportunity, and there are always positions available. If you enjoy the arts, consider volunteering for nonprofit museums, zoos, senior centers or schools. Other places to search for volunteer work are police and sheriff's offices, hospitals, nursing homes, American Red Cross and learning centers.

Retirement years should make you feel "worthy," not "worthless." To make sure that happens, plan how you will spend your time and enjoy life each day.

Scheduled activities

Thursday: TOPS will meet at 8:30 a.m. Art class will meet at 10 a.m. Ambassador Singers will practice at 1 p.m.

Friday: Walking group will meet at 8:30 a.m. at Long Park. STEPS exercise class is at 10:30 a.m. Check-in/out for the Craft Shop is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. St. Catherine Hospital will offer a health services nurse to do screenings from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bridge is played at 1 p.m.

Saturday: Prairie Land Food pick-up begins at 7 a.m. The pool room will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. Fiddlers, Pickers and Singers meet from 4 to 11 p.m.

Sunday: The building is rented.

Monday: Walking group meets at 8:30 a.m. at Stevens Park. STEPS exercise class is at 10:30 a.m. Humdinger Band will meet at 12:30 p.m. Bridge is played at 1 p.m. Double pinochle is played at 1 p.m. UpBeats Band will practice at 3 p.m. Duplicate bridge is played at 7 p.m.

Tuesday: Pitch is played at 12:45 p.m. Bingo is played for prizes at 1:30 p.m. Cost is three cards for 50 cents. Duplicate bridge begins at 1:15 p.m. Bridge is played at 7 p.m.

July 29: Line dancing is at 8:30 a.m. (call 272-3620 for more information about this or any exercise program). STEPS exercises are at 10:30 a.m. Pinochle is played at 12:45 p.m. The Sewing Group meets from 1 to 4 p.m. A computer para will be in the lab from 1 to 4 p.m. The Finney County Senior Citizens Association will host a dance from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. The band playing is "Craig Stevens." Bring cookies for the break.

Lunch menus

Lunch is served at noon.

Thursday: Roast turkey with gravy, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cookie, whole wheat roll.

Friday (Fresh Fruit Friday): Meat loaf, creamed peas, copper penny salad, melon mix, whole wheat roll.

Monday: Huntington chicken, corn, Italian veggies, pineapple, whole wheat roll.

Tuesday: Barbecue ribette, tri-tators, confetti cottage cheese, sunshine gelatin, cinnamon roll.

July 29: Ham and beans or beef stew, coleslaw, tomato slices, brownie, corn bread.

Visit the Senior Center Web site at www.seniorcenterfc.com.