When you've spent your entire life taking care of everyone else's needs, what happens when you reach 60 and you have no one to worry about?

"Women Over 60 -- Surviving and Thriving" is the name of a program under the supervision of Anne Spear, retired director of the county's Family and Children's Services bureau. Classes are slated to begin at 12:30 p.m Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the Pascal Senior Center.

"Women in this age group have been caring for others their entirelife, now it's their time," Spear said. "We're going to take a look at the women's lives, what's going on today and the choices they haveto control their lives -- options on dealing with loneliness, health, income and networking.

"We will also look at stereotypes: how wesee ourselves and how others see us," she said. "Sometimes there arebig gaps between the two views. By looking at these impressions, people should come away feeling better about themselves."

Her program, Spear said, is similar to that offered by Jewish Family Services inBaltimore. It is designed for the new generation of seniors who wantto improve their lives and community. "The ladies will take a look at themselves and decide to change, or decide they are happy and stay the same."

She hopes the program will include 10 to 12 people.

"It will be fun. No one will be pushed. The group will be structured the way they want. I'm not there to lecture. We want group interchange," she said.

Spear has led many similar groups over the last 30 years; this is the second session she's led at the Pascal Center since her retirement. The first group was designed for widows and widowers, many of whom have since become close friends.

Making new friends is a big part of the program. "We will look at networking. Everyone has a different support network. Some have families close by, but others don't. You need a network to combat loneliness and isolation," Spear said.

Other topics to be covered include dealing with adult children and the resentments caused by their attempts to control seniors'lives; health and quality of life; time management; and raising self-esteem.

The class still has room for interested seniors. To register, call the Pascal Senior Center at 222-6680.

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