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Tag Archive | "holidays"

Provide safe sleep apace for baby during holiday travel 


Be sure to have a safe place for your baby to sleep when traveling. An adult bed, like this one, is not safe.

Be sure to have a safe place for your baby to sleep when traveling. An adult bed, like this one, is not safe.

The holidays are a busy time of year, often spent traveling away from home. For families with babies, travel can be especially hectic when trying to remember all of the necessities. One item to put at the top of your list is a safe space for baby to sleep when you’re away from home.

To protect babies this holiday season, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is reminding parents and caregivers to plan ahead and make sure there is always a safe space for baby to sleep—an approved crib, bassinet or pack and play.

“It’s important that everyone caring for the baby, including grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles, knows how to put a baby to sleep safely. If everyone knows the simple steps to safe sleep, we can all do our part in preventing an infant death,” said MDHHS Director Nick Lyon.

Tragically, a baby dies nearly every other day in Michigan while sleeping in an adult bed, armchair or couch; with pillows or blankets; or with adults or other children. These deaths are 100 percent preventable with a safe sleep environment.

Michigan families are encouraged to follow these tips for safe sleep during every nap and nighttime routine:

  • Place your baby on their back, in a crib, bassinet or pack and play, with nothing else in their sleep environment.
  • Plan ahead and take a portable crib with you when traveling.
  • Use a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheet.
  • Keep baby’s sleep space clutter free—no pillows, blankets or toys.
  • Avoid covering baby’s head or overheating. Instead of a blanket, consider using a sleepsack, wearable blanket or footed sleeper to keep baby warm.
  • Remind everyone who cares for your baby, including babysitters and family members, how to keep baby safe while sleeping.

You can make sure every baby is sleeping safe this holiday season. Learn more at www.michigan.gov/safesleep.

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Balancing end-of-life caregiving with holiday celebrations 


hea-hospice-balancingcaregiving-holidaysdecemberarticleimage

Create memories, enjoyment

Caring for a seriously ill loved one is difficult at any time of year. But the holidays can compound the stress as caregivers, especially those who mark the season in grand fashion, seek balance between the consuming responsibilities of meeting their loved ones needs and creating a memorable celebration.

Whether it’s continuing with longtime traditions or introducing new ones, the keys to a meaningful holiday while facing end-of-life are to:

* avoid overwhelming your loved one by scaling activities to the realities of the situation;

* think outside-the-box if elaborate annual traditions are not feasible; and

* remember that there is no right or wrong approach.

“The most important point is to remember that the stress of caregiving may leave little energy for the grand celebrations families have held in the past- so it is perfectly acceptable to scale down or simplify to keep it even more memorable,” advises Karen Monts, practice manager, counseling services for Hospice of Michigan.

Monts suggests considering such outside-the-box plans as:

* Opting for a family trip, if your loved one can travel;

* Donating as a family to your loved one’s favorite cause;

* Dining together at a favorite restaurant;

* Focusing on faith traditions, attending a religious program together; or

* Creating keepsakes and reliving memories such as taking a family picture, creating a memory stone, or recalling funny stories.

Monts also suggests that if having all the decorative bells and whistles are an absolute must and your loved one has been “the ‘king or queen’ of decorating, consider recruiting the help of friends and extended family, or hiring professional decorators.”

Thinking outside-the-box can also include hosting your celebration or special event on a day other than the actual holiday to ensure your loved one can fully participate.

“It’s important that family members continue to create memories with their loved ones,” said Monts. “About 10 years ago, a patient’s daughter decided to move up her wedding and held her ceremony in our facility between Thanksgiving and Christmas so that she could share the moment with her father. We helped plan the ceremony, and one of our spiritual care coordinators officiated. That was the gift she gave him that holiday. He relaxed after the ceremony, happy because he believed she was safe and taken care of. He died the following week. Unique experiences like that resonate with families and allow the memories of a final holiday season with a loved one to be cherished rather than ignored.”

Monts adds, “Many patients and families are incredibly hopeful, even at the end-of-life. They expect to celebrate. Even if holiday plans don’t materialize, families shouldn’t feel guilty. There is hope in the planning.”

In her 26 years in hospice care, Monts has learned many hospice patients want to “remember good relationships and the positive impact they’ve had on others.” The holidays offer a perfect opportunity for friends and family to share “how a loved one wants to be remembered and discuss that their life had—and still has—meaning.”

Monts suggests families build lasting memories by interviewing each other. “There are profound understandings that come out of that process,” she said.

There are many online resources to help get the conversation started. Story Corps (https://storycorps.org/) is a site Smith references to spark talks with patients, exploring such questions as:

What is your proudest moment?

How do you want to be remembered?

What is your most spiritual moment?

What are your thoughts about death and the after-life?

Do you have any regrets or last wishes?

What advice do you have for me, my children, or even children to come in our family?

Starting these conversations is typically the most difficult step in talking about sensitive and intimate feelings and viewpoints. But once the ice is broken, these exchanges can produce tremendous rewards.

In addition to planning ahead, Monts believes the only other absolutes in celebrating the holidays when caring for a seriously ill loved one are to “remember the only ‘should’ is doing what is best for you and your family during this time and to simply enjoy the holidays with your loved one, not matter how you choose to celebrate.”

For more information, call 888-247-5701 or visit www.hom.org.

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Five fun ways to make holiday memories with your child


hol-five-fun-ways-to-make-memories

(BPT) – The holidays are a special time of year for everyone, but through the eyes of a child, it can feel like pure magic. Parents and caregivers looking to make this holiday extra special should spend less time worrying about trinkets under the tree, and instead, focus on spending quality time with their families. To make this holiday the best yet, consider these five festive ideas for bonding and creating unforgettable memories together.

Watch a favorite holiday movie together

From Frosty the Snowman to Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer – everyone has a favorite holiday movie they remember from their childhood. This year, relive those fond memories with your child as you snuggle up on the couch together. Don’t forget to gather the movie night essentials such as popcorn, holiday cookies or a mug of hot chocolate topped with Hot Cocoa & Cream PEEPS. Snap a picture of everyone together and share the joy!

Organize a holiday scavenger hunt

Santa’s elves escaped the North Pole to have a little mischief in the yard or in the house. It’s up to you and your child to find all the things on Santa’s scavenger hunt list. Before kids wake, hide fun holiday items around for the ultimate holiday scavenger hunt. A pinecone, candy cane, star and red bulb are just a few examples of what you can put on the list.

Bake with a cultural twist

Baking holiday cookies is a fantastic tradition for kids and adults alike. This year, in addition to your favorite recipes, add a new one inspired by your cultural heritage. Try Lebkuchen from Germany, Melomakarona from Greece or Alfajores from Argentina. A few minutes online and you’ll find the perfect recipe to expand your holiday cookie platter and help kids delve into their family history.

Embrace the spirit of the season

The holidays are a wonderful time full of wish lists and present exchanges. This year, help kids understand the joy of giving back by volunteering together. Whether you buy presents for a family in need, write holiday letters to the troops or help at a homeless shelter, you’re showing kids that it feels just as good to give as it does to receive. Plus, the experience will leave a positive impact long after the holidays are over.

Make an ornament keepsake

Let children’s imaginations take flight and embrace the spirit of the holiday season by creating a special ornament together. With a few simple supplies, you can create a cute and customizable ornament that will remind you of this special project each year as you pull out the decorations. Make a few extra and let your child give them to grandparents, teachers and friends.

Try this simple guide for fun and festive Snow Globe Christmas Ornaments:

Supplies:

PEEPS Christmas marshmallow shapes: Gingerbread Men, Trees, Snowmen or Reindeer

DIY ornaments

Tape with a holiday design (washi tape)

Miniature seasonal props

Loose glitter snow

Hot glue

Popsicle sticks

Ribbon

Bells

Directions:

Best practice: Select which PEEPS you want to use in the ornament, remove from packaging, and let sit overnight.

1. Start with one half of the ornament. (DIY ornaments typically sold in a set of halves.)

2. To create a platform for the PEEPS to stand on, take a Popsicle stick and cut it so it rests across the lower third of the inside. Secure the stick using hot glue to the inside of the ornament.

3. Prop your selected PEEPS shape on the Popsicle platform and secure with hot glue.

4. Add festive miniature props such as the mini-Christmas tree and candy cane shown above, secure with hot glue.

5. Let the ornament stand for 10 minutes.

6. Add enough loose glitter snow to the finished half of the ornament to hide the Popsicle stick.

7. Connect the front half of the ornament and carefully secure with hot glue.

8. Add the tape with holiday design (washi tape) to cover the seam of the ornament or add bells and ribbon to the outside of the ornament.

Caution: glue gun can be extremely hot. Parents should supervise at all times.

For more holiday inspiration visit marshmallowpeeps.com.

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Keep pets healthy over the holidays


PHOTO SOURCE: (c) annaav - Fotolia.com

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) annaav – Fotolia.com

(StatePoint) When making holiday plans, consider your pets’ health needs. Here, five veterinary experts weigh in on steps to keep pets happy and healthy amid the hubbub.

Resist those pleading eyes

According to veterinary nutritionist Dr. Dottie LaFlamme, high-calorie tidbits contribute to caloric overload and bad habits, while lacking necessary nutrient balance.

“Just one teaspoon of beef fat can contain almost twice the calories a small dog should consume in daily treats,” LaFlamme notes, adding that feeding from the table also promotes begging behavior. “If you must give pets a treat, feed it in their bowl after the meal to help with portion control.”

Avoid holiday hazards

The holidays can be toxic to pets. Chocolate poisoning is one of the most common accidents during the holidays, according to veterinary critical care specialist and toxicologist Dr. Justine Lee. Other food foes include grapes, raisins, bones, unbaked yeast bread dough, alcohol and xylitol, a common sugar substitute.

Likewise, “Potpourri liquid contains detergents that can cause severe ulcers and burns in a cat’s mouth, while tinsel can act as a severe linear foreign body when stuck in a cat’s stomach and intestines,” she explains.

If you’re hosting, ensure houseguests pet-proof pill bottles.

Take preventive measures

Owners often experience a false sense of security about parasite prevention when the weather turns cooler. However, the holidays are no time to take a break from heartworm prevention, even though heartworms are spread by infected mosquitoes, says veterinary parasitologist Dr. Patricia Payne. Why? Because preventives work retroactively on heartworm larvae acquired earlier in the season.

“There’s no way to accurately predict past or future transmission, so the American Heartworm Society recommends year-round heartworm prevention for dogs and cats,” she explains. “Make sure to put a reminder on your holiday calendar to give routine monthly preventives to pets.”

Give the gift of activity

“When we removed hunting from pets’ daily lives, we reduced their physical and mental activity,” explains veterinary behaviorist Dr. Jacqueline Neilson. “When pets lack mental stimulation, they can become bored and depressed, and often create their own stimulating activities, such as chewing items or barking at passersby.”

Beat this concern with food puzzles and toys that require pets to work, play or “hunt.”

“Consider your pet’s personality when choosing holiday gifts,” says Neilson. “If your dog likes to chew things, a food toy that needs to be squeezed between the jaws may be ideal. Herding breeds may prefer a toy they can nudge.”

Travel prep

An estimated 30 million people travel with their pets annually, and holidays are primetime for hitting the road. Flying? Check your airline’s pet requirements. For car travel, invest in a carrier.

“Your pet will appreciate a safe haven while traveling,” says Dr. Robert Stannard, who recommends adding a favorite blanket to provide a sense of familiarity.

Travel bowls, favorite toys and medications are necessities, not luxuries. Just be careful not to overfeed.

“Like us, pets can get motion sickness,” says Stannard. “Don’t feed your pet right before leaving, and limit food during travel to help prevent digestive upset.”

With a few precautionary measures, your four-legged family members can have a happy, healthy holiday season.

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Handmade for the Holidays


HOL-Handmade-for-holidays1

(Family Features) A holiday-ready home is filled with small touches that celebrate the season. Welcome guests with these easy DIY projects that lend an extra special feel to your home.

Extend a warm greeting with a faux fur wreath that dresses up the front door, such as this design from the crafting experts at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores. Then, put some empty Mason jars to use with a display perfect for an entryway table or ledge. Make it even prettier by nestling the jars among some evergreen branches and finish them off with a pretty bow or twine.

Find more ideas for DIY projects to spruce up your home this holiday season at joann.com.

Pompom Fur Wreath

Crafting time: Weekend project

Skill level: Some experience necessary

Supplies and Tools:

Pompom makers: 2 1/2-inch, 3 3/8-inch, 4 1/2-inch

Bernat Softee Chunky Yarn: Grey Heather, Taupe Grey, Natural (2 skeins each)

Scissors

Hard foam tubular 12-inch wreath

Bernat Faux Fur Pompoms: Grey Lynx, White Rabbit (2 each)

Hot gun and glue sticks

T-pins or 2-inch pins with pearl heads

Decorative ribbon: 2 1/2-inch-by-12-foot, blue-grey

Follow directions on pompom maker packages to create three different sizes of poms of various colors using chunky yarn. If desired, mix yarn to give some pompoms a speckled look. Make about 50-60, depending on the fullness of the desired look.

After making pompoms, place pompoms around wreath, varying sizes and incorporating fur pompoms, as well. The overall look should be a kind of hilly terrain look to give it depth.

Once desired placement has been achieved, glue them in place with hot glue. If needed, secure poms with T-pins or pearlhead pins.

Using blue/grey decorative ribbon, create a bow with trailing ends and glue in place with hot glue.

HOL-Handmade-for-holidays2Rose Gold Holiday Mason Jars

Crafting time: 1-2 hours

Skill level: No experience necessary

Supplies and Tools:

Smooth Mason jars

Jelly jars

Rose gold spray paint

Provided templates: Deer head, tree, snowflake

Scissors

Pencil

Sharpie

Detail paintbrush

White enamel paint

Gold acrylic paint

Medium flat paintbrush

Scrap strips of fabric

Baker’s twine

Lightly spray inside or outside of smooth Mason jars and jelly jars with rose gold spray paint. Allow each coat to dry completely.

Locate templates at joann.com by searching for the project title; print templates and trim shapes. If the outside of the jar was spray painted, trace the shape with a pencil. If the inside of the jar was spray painted, trace the shape on the glass with a Sharpie.

Fill in each design using a detail brush and white enamel paint. Apply additional coats as necessary.

Paint jar rims gold.

Apply a thin layer or dry brush gold acrylic paint on jelly jars for added texture and dimension.

Embellish jars by making bows and knots with scrap strips of fabric or baker’s twine around rims of jars. Fill with sprigs of dried flowers or branches or other seasonal decorations, or for jars painted on the outside, fill with candies or treats for an edible gift.

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Coping with Grief at the Holidays


While the holidays may be challenging for those who have recently lost a loved one, Hospice of Michigan provides techniques to help the bereaved handle grief and find comfort.

While the holidays may be challenging for those who have recently lost a loved one, Hospice of Michigan provides techniques to help the bereaved handle grief and find comfort.

Pat Chambers was a wife, mother of five and grandmother of 12. She loved to garden and enjoyed the beauty of nature. But when Chambers was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, little pieces of her slipped away each day, until she died just over a year ago.

Her daughter, Janene Engelhard, knows firsthand that no matter how prepared you are for the death of a loved one, the grief can still be overwhelming — especially during the holidays.

“Grief doesn’t just happen in your head; it happens in your heart,” Engelhard says. “I knew my mom wasn’t going to get better, and I felt like I lost a little more of her each time I saw her. While part of me was prepared for her death, it’s still difficult, especially when holiday traditions trigger grief.”

Janene Engelhard

Janene Engelhard

Engelhard explains that her mother was the pie baker. She recalls the first Thanksgiving without her mom, when it occurred to the family that Mom didn’t do the baking. She also notes how making her mom’s cut-out Christmas cookies is now a bittersweet tradition. While recalling fond memories helps, they also serve as a reminder that her mom is no longer there.

“For those who have experienced the loss of a loved one, the holidays often elicit emotions of grief and sadness,” said Karen Monts, practice manager of counseling services at Hospice of Michigan. “Though it may be a difficult time for those grieving, it can also be a wonderful time to remember a loved one’s memory. At Hospice of Michigan, we focus on providing the bereaved with the tools they need to once again enjoy this special time of year.”

Monts explains that the holidays may be challenging but there are techniques to help handle grief and find comfort, such as:

Giving yourself grace. Allow yourself to feel whatever way you feel; there is no right or wrong way. Be honest about your feelings and don’t force yourself to do anything you are not up to.

Surround yourself with support. Plan to be around people you enjoy, who are supportive or are a good listener. Negative voices can make the day worse.

Donate your time or treasure. Volunteering at or donating to an organization that was near to your loved one’s heart is a great way to honor them during the holidays. Or pick an organization that’s important to you and could use some assistance.

Remember your loved one. Set a place at the table for your loved one or hang a stocking in which you and others can fill with notes and mementos. Spend time talking about your loved one and sharing stories. If it brings you comfort, look through photos or listen to music that serves as a reminder.

Give a gift. Buy something that you think your loved one would have enjoyed and give it to someone else. You can either share the meaning behind the gift or simply enjoy bringing joy to someone’s life.

Allow yourself to be happy. There is nothing wrong with celebrating or feeling joy.

One of the ways Engelhard coped with grief during the first Christmas without her mother was by creating memorial gifts for her father and siblings.

“My mom loved nature and would press flowers and leaves,” she recalls. “After she died, I found several phone books in her house with her pressed clippings still inside. I used these to create shadow boxes for family members. I also included a photo of my mom, pearls from her favorite necklace, pieces of the measuring tape she had for sewing and swatches from the pastry cloth she had used since we were kids.”

Engelhard explains that creating the memorial gifts was not only a way for her to cope with her grief, but it helped keep her mother’s memory alive—something important to her and her family.

“While everyone copes with grief in their own unique way, over time those grieving will learn to live with the loss and once again find joy—not just during the holiday season, but throughout the year,” Monts adds.

Hospice of Michigan offers a variety of grief support and educational services, including holiday grief programs. Its services are available to all families involved with Hospice of Michigan, as well as the community at large. For more information on any of the services we offer, visit www.hom.org.

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Hospice of Michigan to host coping with holidays program


 

After a popular response, Hospice of Michigan will present three additional Coping with the Holidays, a free community outreach program in the Grand Rapids area that provides the bereaved with tips to deal with grief during a time when most are happy and expressing joy.

For those who have experienced the loss of a loved one, the holidays often elicit emotions of grief and sadness,” said Sue Glover, grief support services manager at Hospice of Michigan. “Though it may be a difficult time for those grieving, it can also be a wonderful time to remember a loved one’s memory. Our program is designed to give the bereaved the tools they need to once again enjoy this special time of year.”

HOM’s Coping with the Holidays program teaches that the holidays may be challenging but there are techniques to help handle grief and find comfort, such as:

*Planning ahead. Bereaved individuals who seem to have the most difficulty with the holidays are often those who have given little thought to the emotional challenges they will encounter.

*Accepting your limitations. Family and social pressures, in combination with decision-making challenges, can be overwhelming. Choose a few issues to deal with and limit the number of decisions you need to make so they won’t overwhelm you.

*Taking care of yourself. Exercising, eating a proper and balanced diet and getting the proper amount of rest are critical.  Avoid the temptation of excessive alcohol.

*Lowering expectations. Go easy on yourself and try not to overextend in order to reduce overall stress.

Events will be held:

Tuesday, Nov. 17 at Vista Springs Senior Living, 2708 Meyer Ave., SW, Wyoming from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 22 at Johnson Feuerstein Funeral Home, 203 S. Pleasant St., Belding from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 7 at Adams Park Apartments, 1440 Fuller Ave., SE, Grand Rapids from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

The Coping with the Holidays program is open to all those dealing with grief, whether a loved one died recently or decades ago.  Participants are invited to enjoy refreshments and listen as grief experts discuss holiday coping techniques such as planning ahead, accepting limitations and finding someone who will listen.

To register or receive additional support, please contact Glover at 616.356.5255 or sglover@hom.org.

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Peace on Earth


Solon-Center-Wesleyan-webPastor Tom Holloway

Solon Center Wesleyan Church

15671 Algoma, Cedar Springs 

(just north of 19 Mile)

 

The holidays are here and that means families get functions, work parties, Christmas programs, and most of all stress! The holidays can be the “most wonderful time of the year,” and also the most painful for many people. For some people it will be the first Christmas without a loved one, the first Christmas without a significant other, the first Christmas without a warm place to sleep. Yet it is for many the best time of the year.

I love celebrating Christmas with my family and my loved ones, and I love giving gifts. I love seeing my children’s eyes light up when they get that thing that they never thought they would get. Of course we can’t give all of the things we would like to give, and my wife and I have basically given up on giving each other anything significant, though I always spend more than I promise to spend on her. As a pastor of a local church, Christmas is the second busiest season of the year next to Easter. So it is one thing after another, and it is the most stressful time of the year for me personally. Yet I still manage to find some peace at Christmas. The question is why?

Why can some people feel stress and some people feel peace? Why is this time of year the best of times for some, and the worst of times for others? I think the answer is the real reason for the season. The birth of Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas, though some in the world would try to disagree. In fact, Jesus’ birth is the reason that we count the years on a calendar.  The term Anno Domini is medieval Latin, translated as In the year of the Lord, or AD on your calendar. He is the reason that we count time. When Jesus came to the earth He came to give us peace. In fact is says this in Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

I don’t think that peace means a life of solitude and a life free from stress and worry. In fact Jesus came into the world in a time of great unrest for His people the Israelites. They were under Roman rule, and they had lost the great power they once had. It was anything but peaceful for Israel and for Jesus. He was persecuted, beaten, mocked, and eventually crucified on a cross for doing nothing wrong. Doesn’t seem very peaceful to me! But He defeated death by His resurrection, and by showing us how to have peace “despite” our circumstances. He allowed us to believe that this kind of peace is possible.

So when you are out shopping and that person snatches that last Furby, or when that crazy uncle comes to the family gathering and starts that political argument, or when you realize that this will be the first Christmas without that special someone, you can have peace.  Peace in knowing that someone loved you so much that they came from Heaven, from their rightful throne, and gave up all their rights so that they could come and serve you and show us how to love others. Christmas is all about giving to others because you have been given the greatest gift you could ever receive—the gift of Jesus, the gift of love, and the gift of eternal life!

 

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No more errands; stay home for the holidays


Vonda VanTil

Vonda VanTil

By: Vonda VanTil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

 

Let’s face it, the last thing you’re going to want to do during this holiday season is another errand. You’ve hung the lights, plugged them in, and were frustrated when you realized you needed to replace one little bulb to make the entire string work. That’s a trip to the store. You thought this holiday season would be easy. When it comes to taking care of Social Security business, it is easy. You’ll find that www.socialsecurity.gov makes it easy to stay home and get that one last thing done. You can check off much of your Social Security business quickly and securely from your home using your computer or tablet (which you might have unwrapped early). At the Social Security website you can—

* Create a my Social Security account, which enables you to:

• obtain an instant, personalized estimate of your future Social Security benefits;

•verify the accuracy of your earnings record—your future benefit amounts are based on your earnings record, so it is important to make sure your earnings are recorded properly;

• change your address and phone number, if you receive monthly Social Security benefits;

• sign up for or change direct deposit of your Social Security benefits; and

• obtain estimates of the Social Security and Medicare taxes you’ve paid;

* Apply for retirement, disability, spouses, and Medicare benefits;

* Check the status of your benefit application;

* Request a replacement Medicare card; and

* Apply for Extra Help with your Medicare prescription drug plan costs.

Keep in mind that during the holiday season, your wait time may be longer if you call or visit a local Social Security office. If you need to reach us by phone, you can call us toll-free at

1-800-772-1213. We can answer specific questions from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Vonda VanTil is the public affairs specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp St NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov  

 

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Coping with cancer during the holidays


By Mary Anne Meyers

Much of our holiday cheer comes during celebrations with friends and family around the table. If a loved one or friend has been diagnosed with an illness such as cancer, however, that meal may pose problems because of treatment side effects. Registered dietician Sharlene Bidini says planning ahead of time can help. For example, she suggests that the host ask the guest in treatment about the best day for the celebration.
“Often, if they’re receiving chemotherapy, say on a Tuesday, they have a pattern of feeling bad Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. But maybe they might rebound and feel good on the weekend.” Bidini, who counsels cancer patients at the Oakwood Cancer Center, Dearborn, says it’s best to ask the person questions like this first, because many times only small adjustments need to be made so that everyone can enjoy the meal and a memorable holiday.
Some treatments cause a sore mouth or throat, so something cool and creamy can provide comfort, she says.“Instead of hot, crispy cherry pie right out of the oven, they might prefer pumpkin pie with whipped cream right out of the refrigerator.”
Some people might need something as simple as the croutons or tomatoes left out of their salad, or a side dish may have to be changed, Bidini says.
In general, the main dish is usually not a problem, she adds. “Whatever you choose—turkey, ham, chicken, fish—whatever your primary protein is, that’s excellent for healing.”
Bidini understands that a diagnosis of cancer can be stressful for a family, but she says by asking such questions and doing a little research, attention can return to what’s really important: “Creating memories, having fun holiday times together, not focusing in so much on how much they are eating or not eating, but just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company.” For tips on coping with cancer during the holidays and holiday recipes go to www.cancer.org.

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