Getting Things in order for the New Year

As the new year approaches, this is a time to take stock of your life and make some changes if you want to improve things for the future.  During this time of resolutions, it is also a good opportunity to take stock of your financial situation.  According to an article by Jeremy Bromwell, there are 5 common estate-planning mistakes made by seniors.

    • Not pre-planning funeral arrangements.
    • Not taking advantage of tax-exempt gift laws.
    • Not discussing estate planning details with their loved ones.
    • Not creating a springing or durable power of attorney.
    • Not regularly revisiting their advanced medical directives, including healthcare power of attorney and living will.

You can read the entire article here.

Christmas Remembered

As Christmas draws near, some of us can’t help thinking of memories past. We asked our residents to share some of their childhood Christmas memories with us.

Christmas Eve my two brothers and I would always hear a “clatter” and we would always run the basement to see what the noise was and when we came back up, Lo and behold, Santa had left our gifts on the back porch. Santa never wrapped gifts either. Years later I found out that Santa was Grandpa Miller (who lived next door).  — Marcia Thomas #97

When I was in the first grade and my sister was in the second grade, we didn’t have a Christmas tree. At the end of school that day the teacher asked if anyone needed a tree. My sister and I dragged a five foot tree. We had to walk a mile in the country with that tree. We were almost home and the neighbor down the road stopped and helped us get it the rest of the way home. He asked us if we had anything to decorate it with. We said no and he came with a bunch of stuff for the tree. I will never forget that Christmas or that man who helped us.  –Sharon Crosswhite #112

I recall spending Christmas Eve with my dad’s parents. At their house we feasted on waffles , bacon, and lots of butter and maple syrup. Returning home to the farm in a Buick Roadmaster, my dad would say get out of the car, go to the house because Santa is coming. My siblings and I ran up the long sidewalk in the crunching snow under a starry sky. And yes, in the morning Santa had come and left presents. To this day I dislike waffles….yuck.  –Ron Miller #129

Merry Christmas all. I was asked to make a comment on a Christmas memory…And so I shall.
When I grew up way back in the 50s, life was simple and fun. Christmas was my most favorite time of year, and still is. There were 14 of us including our parents. Christmas was so exciting for me in Bryn Mawr, Mpls, MN. Our Grandma Katie and Grandpa Joe lived a block away. The skating rink was 2 blocks away depending on whose back yard you snuck through. My favorite memory? Skating socks every year from our Grand parents! Oh I loved those socks and miss getting them to this day!! All socks welcome! Just kidding! (Maybe a little)

Oh ya, My older sister Rita could carve a flower in the ice better than anyone else.  –Kate McHugo # 129

When I was 15, I was told I could have a present that I had requested, rather than all surprises under the tree. My brother had moved out and I was the only child left. I didn’t want to be rude and ask for the moon, but I made a list of numerous gifts, including ice skates,the perfect pink cashmere sweater, transistor radio, Emerald perfume, and several more small items. I expected to get one present on the list. Much to my surprise, I received everything I had ask for and more. I realized how wonderful my parents were and I felt guilty for making my list so long. I was so blessed as a child and that was the beginning of realizing it.  — Dianna Gisel #20



‘Tis the Season…

‘Tis the Season for Christmas Caroling.  Even here in South Texas, we get into the spirit of Christmas by listening to Carolers, or going out and doing some Caroling ourselves.

12th and 13th century Caroling looked quite different than it does today.  According to a Time Magazine article, caroling wasn’t always about Christmas.  Musicologist, Daniel Abraham says “Medieval carols were liturgical songs reserved for processionals in the 12th and 13th centuries. And though modern carols sometimes take their form from these original carols — starting with a refrain, followed by verses of uniform structure — they’re separate entities.”

For more information read the Time Magazine article (here).

Today we were privileged to listen to the LaJoya High School Choir sing some Christmas Carols for us.

Don’t Let Holiday Stress Get You Down

christmas-holiday-stress-stressed-shopping-gifts-royalty-free-stock-lxdaz5-clipartThere has been a long standing myth that suicide rates increase over the holiday season. According to the Mayo Clinic this is completely false. What is true is that the rates of depression and stress do increase. Here are ten solid tools to help you and deal if Santa also brings you some holiday blues.

1.    Keep your expectations balanced. You won’t get everything you want, things will go wrong, and you won’t feel like Bing Crosby singing White Christmas. Remember that everything doesn’t have to be perfect and don’t worry about things that are out of your control.

2.    Don’t try to do too much. Fatigue, over scheduling, and taking on too many tasks can dampen your spirits. Learn to say no, delegate as much as possible and manage your time wisely. If you choose to do less you will have more energy to enjoy the most important part of the season – friends and family.

3.    Don’t isolate. If you’re feeling left out, then get out of the house and find some way to join in. There are hundreds of places you can go to hear music, enjoy the sights or help those less fortunate.

4.    Don’t overspend. Create a reasonable budget and stick to it. Remember it’s not about the presents, it’s about the presence.

5.    It’s appropriate to mourn if you’re separated from or have lost loved ones. If you can’t be with those you love make plans to celebrate again when you can all be together.

6.    Many people suffer depression due to a lack of sunlight because of shorter days and bad whether. Using a full spectrum lamp for twenty minutes a day can lessen this type of depression called SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

7.    Watch your diet and remember to exercise. It’s normal to eat more during the holidays, but be aware of how certain foods effect your mood. If you eat fats and sweets, you will have less energy, which can make you feel more stressed and run down. It can be very helpful to take a walk before and/or after a big holiday meal.

8.    Be aware of the Post Holiday Syndrome. When all the hustle and bustle suddenly stops and you have to get back to the daily grind it can be a real let down. Ease out of all the fun by planning a rest day toward the end of the season.

9.    Plan ahead. Many people don’t go to the mall after Thanksgiving to avoid shopping stress and others do much of their party prep in advance.

10. Learn forgiveness and acceptance. If some of your relatives have always acted out or made you feel bad, chances are that won’t change. If you know what you’re getting into, it will be easier to not let them push your buttons. If things get uncomfortable go to a movie or for a drive and adjust your attitude.

May the holiday’s bring you all the love and joy they can, and may the true meaning of the season touch your heart.

20 Dependable Holiday Stress Busters