Feeling anxious or nervous is a common emotion and a normal reaction to stress. But when anxiety becomes frequent and affects daily tasks, social life, and relationships, it becomes a disorder. An anxiety disorder causes feelings of fear, worry, apprehension, or dread that are excessive or disproportional to the problems or situations that are feared. Some individuals may avoid social situations, and lose interest in normal daily activities. Loss of sleep, alcohol abuse and depression have been linked to untreated anxiety.

“Older adults may not recognize the symptoms or consequences of chronic, untreated anxiety,” says Marcie Link, a clinical social worker with Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County. “Or they may not seek treatment because they have suffered symptoms of anxiety for most of their lives and believe the feelings are normal.”

Ms. Link notes that a number of factors contribute to anxiety problems including a family history, trauma, unresolved grief, certain medications or extreme stress. More women than men suffer from anxiety. Common fears about aging often exacerbate anxiety. It can also lead to cognitive impairment, disability, poor physical health, sleep or memory problems, depression and a poor quality of life.

“Fortunately, there are good treatment options for persons experiencing anxiety including medication, talk therapy, and stress reduction techniques,” says Link.

Ms. Link will address these issues with a free one-hour program, “Overcoming Fear and Worry,” Tuesday, Oct. 16, 10:30 a.m. at the Wilton Senior Center. She will review signs of an anxiety problem, how and where to find help, and general prevention tips.

A free lunch will be served following the program.

Information and registration: 203-834-6240.

Computer classes

Acquaint yourself with Word 2007 in a class called Beyond Beginners. It has a different appearance from the Word version you may have been using. The class is taught by Catherine Myers on Oct. 16 and 18, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. The cost is $30. Call Andrea Ragusa at 203-762-8445 to sign up.

Basic Excel will introduce this popular spreadsheet program including essential vocabulary, concepts and features. Become familiar with entering, editing, and formatting numerical and text data. Experiment with basic database capabilities. Learn to design meaningful, attractive and useful spreadsheets. (Worksheets included.) It is taught by Lizabeth Doty on Oct. 19, from 9:30 to 11:30. The cost is $25. Call Andrea Ragusa at 203-762-8445 to sign up.

New bridge groups

Two new bridge groups are forming at the senior center.

If you would like to play, please call the contact person. Monday Bridge from 1 to 4 will be organized by Nerina Klobas (203-210-5624).

Chicago Bridge will be organized by Dorothy Wright (203-762-8567) and will take place on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month.

Additional bridge groups playing at the senior center are: Duplicate Bridge, first Wednesday of the month, organized by Lois Bruce (203-762-5818); Duplicate Bridge, third Tuesday of the month, organized by Maureen Turnier (203-762-9386); Contract Bridge, every Friday, organized by Eleanor Mihailidis (203-762-8720); Drop-in Duplicate Bridge, every Wednesday (except the first Wednesday) of the month, supervised by Dan DeVlieg ($5) (203-834-6240); Beginner Bridge Lessons, Friday afternoon for eight weeks, taught by Dan DeVlieg ($75).

Investment strategies

Continuing the free, one-hour workshops for women by women is What’s the State of Your Estate? A Woman’s Guide to Estate Planning on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 1, in the senior center lounge. In this seminar learn why it is important to prepare an estate plan that makes arrangements for the future and illustrates your wishes when leaving a legacy to those you love. Call 203-834-6240 to register.

Card stamping

Learn and use the techniques of stamping to create assorted cards for all occasions on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 9:30 to 11:30. The instructor will provide information on basic stamping techniques along with time-saving tips and advice for turning ideas into practical projects. Materials will be supplied by the instructor. There is a $10 fee. The class open to beginners as well as experienced “stampers.” Subsequent classes take place on the third Wednesday of the month. Call 203-834-6240 to register.

Medicare appointments

Representatives from the Southwestern Connecticut Agency on Aging will be at the Comstock Community Center on Thursday, Nov. 8 from 10 to 2, to meet with individuals regarding the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. The open enrollment period this year for Medicare Part D is from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.

Appointments are available for any Medicare beneficiary who has Medicare Part A or Part B or both. You must book an appointment through Sharon Powers, 203-834-6238.

Coming Events

All activities take place at the senior center unless otherwise specified.

For the week of Oct. 12:

Friday, Oct. 12, 9:30, Live Well; 10, Move, Strengthen and Stretch with Julienne Camhi; 12, Bridge; 1:30-3, Free Swim for Seniors at the Wilton Family Y.

Monday, Oct. 15, 9:15, Enhance Fitness with Denise Suarez; 10:30, Line Dance Fusion with Beatriz Araujo; 12, Monday Movie: Biography of Clint Eastwood; 1, Bridge with Nerina 203-210-5624.

Tuesday, Oct. 16, 9, Enhance Fitness; 10:30, Billiard/Pool; 11, Yoga with Denise O’Hearn; 2, Chair Yoga at Ogden House; 2:30, Mah Jongg.

Wednesday, Oct. 17, 9:30, RSVP at Ogden House; 10, Tai Chi with Debbie Dong; 10, Comstock Writers; 12, Lunch at Ogden House followed by Registrar of Voters Ina Gardner and Carol Young Kleinfeld; 1:30, Mah Jongg.

Thursday, Oct. 18, 9, Enhance Fitness with Leslie Hinshaw; 10, Yoga with Denise O’Hearn; 10, Diva JEVAS; 12, Lunch at St. Matthew; 1:30, Mah Jongg.