Nothing Says Comfort Like Chicken Noodle Soup

October 17, 2019

Need a little comfort on a chilly fall day! Whip up this Chicken Noodle Soup in your crock-pot.

1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 large onion, chopped

3 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins

2 stalks celery, sliced

4 tsp. sprigs fresh thyme

4 tsp. sprigs fresh rosemary 

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

10 c. low-sodium chicken broth 8 oz. egg noodles

In a slow cooker, combine chicken, onion, carrots, celery, thyme, rosemary, garlic, and bay leaf and season generously with salt and pepper. Pour in broth. 

Cover and cook on low, 6 to 8 hours. Remove chicken from slow cooker and shred with two forks. Discard herbs and bay leaf. Return chicken to slow cooker and add egg noodles. 

Cook on low, covered, until al dente, 20 to 30 minutes.

End of Life Preferences

September 25, 2019

Do you know what your loved ones end of life care preferences are? How about your own? When our loved ones are nearing end of life, there are a lot of decisions and choices that need to be made.

We should all consider if our wishes are known by those who will speak for us when we are near death.

At any age, a medical emergency could leave you too ill or injured to make your own health care decisions.

Making a health care plan is a very important step to make sure you get the medical care and intervention that you would want.

A few important pieces to consider are

  • Who do you want to represent you when you cannot make decisions for yourself?
  • Do you want extreme measures taken to prolong life?
  • Do you wish to pass at home?
  • What would you want your family to do for arrangements once you pass?
  • What is important to you?

Involve your loved ones in the conversation. Ultimately, these are all choices that you have, but you can share your wishes with your family now.

Talk to your doctor. Have your advanced care plans documented with your physician or hospital so that your wishes will be known and honored.

Sometimes this is a very hard conversation to have, but one that you should do today. You and your family will be glad that you did.

September Has Arrived

September 6, 2019

In our area of the country that means fall is here. Time for back to school, Football Friday, sweatshirts in the evening, and packing away those summer clothes.

So many good fruits and veggies are still in season. In our family, nothing says September more than apples! We have so many family favorites. Apple dumplings, apple pie, coffee cake, apple cider and so much more!

One of our go to breakfast recipes is Apple Cinnamon Pancakes! Such a fun twist on a breakfast staple!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp.baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, divided
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp. butter, divided, plus more for cooking
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c. milk
  • 4 large apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped (about 5 to 6 cups)
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar

  1. Mix flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. In a large bowl, whisk to combine egg yolk, vanilla, milk, and melted butter. Gently fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined, then fold in 1½  cups of chopped apple.
  2. In another medium bowl, using a hand mixer, beat egg white until stiff peaks form. Fold egg white into batter gently with a rubber spatula until just combined.
  3. Make apple topping: in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add remaining apples, brown sugar, remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and a 1/4 cup water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples have softened and mixture is jammy, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Pour about 1/4 cup pancake batter into pan. When little bubbles appear, about 1 to 2 minutes, flip and continue cooking until both sides are lightly golden. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more butter to pan as needed. Serve pancakes topped with apple mixture.

You can find more wonderful recipes at Delish.com

Hospice Care

August 22, 2019

Calling for Hospice Care can feel like a scary step.

Hospice care is a unique service that helps to provide comfort and quality of life to your loved ones, and for you as well. Hospice care is available to anyone with a terminal illness that meets the criteria set forth by Medicare.

You do not need a referral from your doctor to call Hospice care. At any time, a person can be evaluated to see if hospice services are something that can be a benefit.

Turning to Hospice for support does not mean you are giving up. You will still get the medical care that you need. The services focus on quality of life, not curing a disease.  Hospice Care strives to provide their clients with the ability to live life as fully as possible and as pain free as possible.

You do not need to move from your home to receive Hospice services. Hospice can be covered through Medicare and Medicaid benefits along with some private insurance companies as well, with little to no cost to the patient.

Some of the services provided are:

  • Medication to ease pain
  • Medical equipment such as hospital beds, lifts, and other supplies
  • Advice on eating
  • Physical and speech therapy
  • Social work and counseling
  • Chaplin and spiritual services for you and your loved one
  • Counseling for your loved ones

There are options out there to help you and your loved one navigate difficult times.

Be Your Own Advocate

August 9, 2019

Life can be overwhelming. Keeping up with everything can get stressful. Sometimes managing your medical care can be hard to deal with. Always remember you are your own best advocate.

Know Your Medications.

               Know your body and the way you react to certain drugs. Don’t be afraid to question your doctor when they prescribe new medications. Ask about side effects, ask about adverse reactions to your other medications. Also, speak to your pharmacist. Be sure you understand the proper dosing and what you need to do while taking medication, such as, take with food, avoid driving, etc.

Keep Records.

Whenever you have a test, ask for a copy. Write down dates, medications, what tests were performed, what was the outcome.

Educated Yourself.

Learn as much as possible about your condition. You can gather information from your doctor, pharmacist, educational pamphlets, etc. If researching on the internet, it pays to be skeptical until it can be verified by a professional. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion if you do not feel your doctor is giving you the best care possible.

Write Down Your Questions.

Make a list of questions you have, no matter how silly you think they are. Be prepared for your appointments. Sometimes things happen quickly, and you leave your appointment forgetting to ask that one thing you really wanted to know.

Understand Your Insurance Benefits.

Know and understand your medical insurance, your coverage amounts, limits, deductibles, co-pays, etc. If you need help, call your insurance company and ask them questions.

You can also designate a trusted person to help you with these tasks. Wouldn’t you rather have someone think you ask to many questions, then to have no idea what’s going on with your health.  No one knows you better than you.

Home Sweet Home

July 24, 2019

Our homes are where we raise our families, host holiday gatherings, unwind, grow up, and make countless memories.

As we age, the thought of leaving our family home can be very troubling. We find that most individuals wish to stay in their home if possible. Some even choose to live out the rest of their days at home.

The idea of staying in our home is comforting. We can keep our friends, neighbors, community, visit our favorite restaurants, and keep our daily routines.

However, many of our homes are not equipped to let us age in place. We should evaluate our loved one’s homes and determine what should change before any major health issues take place. This will also allow spacing out the work and expenses over a period of time, instead of being a stressful situation dealing with major changes during a health crisis.

Some easy changes we can make are…

Build a ramp, install railings and add smooth thresholds between rooms and outdoor entrances.

Add safety rails and grab bars in the bathroom.

Stair lifts or platform lifts are options in homes with stairs.

Widen doorways to help accommodate walkers or wheelchairs.

Lever handles to doors help with easier opening.

If you are looking to remodel, you should talk with a company with accessibility experience who is also familiar with the Americans with disabilities act guidelines and local zoning laws.

We all want to help our loved ones; we want to honor their wishes. A few minor changes to our homes can help out as we age.  

Caregiver Burnout

June 14, 2019

Maybe you are a paid caregiver with an agency. Maybe you are taking care of a loved one. But who is taking care of you?

Caregiver burnout is a real thing. Whether you have chosen this as your profession, or you find yourself in a situation that you are now taking care of a loved one. The following tips will help YOU as you navigate the responsibility of taking care of others.

Caregiver burnout is a state of emotional, mental or physical exhaustion. Taking care of another person can be a very rewarding responsibility. However, taking care of others can also be extremely overwhelming and stressful at times. It can be particularly hard when there is no hope that your family member will get better despite your best efforts.

If you don’t get the physical and emotional support you need, the stress of caregiving can leave you at risk for a range of problems. Depression, anxiety, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, overreacting to minor issues, new or worsening health problems, and many more.

A Few Tips To Help

Practice acceptance.

Sometimes we spend a lot of energy dwelling on things we cannot change. Sometimes there are no clear answers. We must accept that we are doing the best that we can. Try to avoid the emotional trap of feeling sorry for yourself or searching for someone to blame.

Focus on things that you control.

You cannot control time, or the illness your loved one is suffering from. You can control how you react to situations, and you can make the most out of the time that you have. Educate yourself. The more you know about the illness, the more effective you will be in caring for the person with the illness.

Embrace your choice.

Either you are the caregiver or you have found yourself hiring a caregiver. Embrace it. Focus on all the positive reasons behind that choice.

Look for a silver lining.

Think about how care giving makes you feel. Do you feel like you have HELPED someone? Has it brought you closer to the person you are caring for? Do you know that your loved one is getting the help they deserve?

Don’t let being a caregiver take over your life.

You need to make time for you! Invest some time in a favorite hobby, your family, church, or simply some time for YOU!

Find a way to pamper yourself.

Light some candles and take a bath. Get a manicure. Go for a walk. Read a book. Buy yourself some flowers. Do anything that makes you feel special and relaxed!

Take care of your personal health.

Be sure to keep on top of your own doctor visits and checkups. Sleep is important too! Aim for 8 hours of sleep per day.

Exercise.

Exercise has been a proven method in relieving stress. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes on most days. When you do this regularly you will find it boosts your energy level as well.

Eat well.

Fresh fruits, fresh veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats are the best things to eat. These types of food will help keep steady energy throughout the day.

Talk to a family member or friend.

Make sure you have someone you can vent to. Everyone needs a listening ear, or a shoulder to cry on.

ASK FOR HELP!

When things get overwhelming, you need to ask for help. Don’t try to do everything alone. No one can accomplish that. Look into respite care from family, friends, or even an agency. You deserve a break too!

There are lots of different support groups out there too. Some are local, some are online. Support groups are important. You will see that you are not alone. You may even find someone who is going through a very similar situation. They may turn into your “person” that you talk to when you need shoulder to cry on.

What you do makes a difference. You are making someone else’s life a little easier. There are not enough “thank you’s” in the world to show the appreciation you deserve.

Grilling Season

May 23, 2019

Memorial Day is this weekend, and that marks the unofficial start of summer.  Memorial Day for many is the day we remember the sacrifices of those brave men and women in our armed forces who have fought for our freedom and gave their lives for us.

It is also a time where in remembrance we get together with family and friends. I know for our family, we “unplug” and spend the weekend together eating lots of grilled food. It’s nice to be outside together, playing yard games while the smell of burgers and chicken linger in the air.

One of our favorite things to cook outside is corn on the cob! We roast our corn in burlap over a fire for about 8 hours! It’s a very long process, but oh so good!

A simpler version is to GRILL the corn! There are so many ways you can do this. Husk on or off, in foil, or right on the grates.

Make some grilled corn on the cob for your next outside gathering. You will love it too!

Visit https://www.allrecipes.com/search/results/?wt=grilled%20corn%20on%20the%20cob&sort=re for some great suggestions!

Summer is almost upon us

May 21, 2019

Warmer weather is here! The unofficial start of summer is right around the corner. So many things can remind us of summer.  The smell of fresh cut grass and long days lounging by the pool, sipping an ice-cold drink. The warm sun brightening up the day with colorful flowers blooming everywhere. While some of us love the long lazy days of summer, it is important to remember that excessive heat can be very dangerous. Particularly for our seniors or those with certain health issues. Don’t forget to stop in and check on your elderly neighbors.

There are several reasons the heat effects the elderly negatively. As people get older, the ability to notice changes in body temperature decreases. Many may also have underlying health concerns that make them less able to adapt with heat.

There are some tips for keeping safe in the summer or hot weather, for everyone, not just the elderly.

  1. Drink plenty of liquid! Dehydration is a huge issue. In the summer months, drink lots of water or juice, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Ask your doctor what they recommend specific to your health plan if necessary.
  2. Wear the right clothing! When it is hot, wear light colored and lightweight clothing, cotton is best! Loose fitting is also a plus! A wide brimmed hat will also help keep the sun off your face.
  3. Stay indoors during the mid-day, usually between 12pm – 4pm. It’s also a good idea to avoid any exercise, particularly outdoors during that time when it is very hot out.
  4. Watch the weather. If there is high humidity, it will feel much hotter out than when the humidity is low.
  5. If possible, seek out somewhere that has an air conditioner. If your home does not have an a/c go somewhere that does, such as a library, the mall, a senior center, or go see a movie!
  6. If you live in a home that does not have air conditioning, try to keep your home as cool as possible. Limit use of the oven, keep curtains closed during the hottest part of the day, open the windows only at night.
  7. Shower, bathe, or sponge off with cool (NOT COLD) water.  

Heat Exhaustion is a risk for everyone.

Heat exhaustion is a warning that your body can no longer keep itself cool. Some symptoms are extreme thirst, dizzy, weak, uncoordinated, or nausea. You may sweat or you skin may feel cold and clammy. Some people experience a rapid pulse. You should rest in a cool place and take in plenty of fluids. If you do not start to feel better, seek medical attention. Heat exhaustion can progress to a heat stroke, which is a medical emergency.

If you have a heat stroke, you need to seek medical assistance right away. Signs of a heat stroke are, fainting, a change in behavior, body temperature over 104, dry, flushed skin, strong rapid pulse OR a slow, weak pulse. Don’t hesitate to ask for help!

Go out and take advantage of all the activities our area has to offer, keep these few safety tips in mind and ENJOY your summer!

Mother’s Day

May 8, 2019

Remember when you were in grade school, Mother’s Day was coming, and you created a special picture, poem, or art project for your mom?  

As a mother of 2 kids, I can say that I get teary when reading the homemade stories and poems my kids bring home from school. But I must say, one of my favorite things about Mother’s Day is simply being with my children, spending the day exploring our local nature trails, grilling some of our favorite foods, and just spending the day relaxing. Although this year we will be spending the day at the baseball field watching my son do what he loves at a tournament. The food may not be grilled, it will be fried as we will be hitting up the concession stand for some fries, and it may not be as relaxing as I would like, (man can baseball games get stressful!) I will enjoy spending the day with my family.

Sometimes spending time together is much more valuable than gifts. Making the effort to visit or call can sometimes make all the difference. Cherish the moments that you have with your family, no matter how much or little time you have to give. I can assure you; your mom will appreciate it.

What is your favorite thing to do on Mother’s Day?

Sometimes a phone call means everything.

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