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Family Files

Facts for All Ages
Healthy Aging

Making the Most of Holiday Meals

  With the holidays rapidly approaching, I wanted to re-share an article published a couple of years ago that was written by Extension colleague Janice McCoy.  She points out the benefits of sharing meals together: Family mealtimes during the holida...

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September is Fall Prevention Month

September is Fall Prevention Month Falls are not a normal part of aging, but they are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. That is why University of Illinois Extension is partnering with the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and the Falls Free® Coalition to celebrate Falls Prevention Awareness Day on September 22 and all September lo...

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Additional Ways to Strengthen Your Resilience


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How to Strengthen Your Resilience Capacity


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Reconnect with the world outside for optimal health

After being stuck inside from a bad winter, we often say things like, "I'm suffering from cabin fever", or after being inside all day we might say, "I need some fresh air." As usual, there is some truth to these familiar sayings that we have heard passed down from generation to generation. I hope that with it being summer, we do not find ourselves saying them. Our bodies crave the outdo...

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Online health information - Is it reliable and still relevant?

  Many people today turn to the World Wide Web (www) as their source for information to solve problems, answer questions and even for their medical advice. You can now watch "how to" videos on so many things. Nevertheless, how do we know that the website that we land on has solid, reliable, trustworthy information? I mean, everything on the internet is true…right? No, unfortuna...

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Summer has started – What is on your summer bucket list?

We are almost two weeks in to summer, and for me that is a little sad because that means the longest day of sunlight has already come and gone. In addition, as I look at the calendar, we are in the midst of celebrating the Fourth of July. I always look forward to watching the fireworks, though! That is always on my "summer to-do list." What are the things that...

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You are as young or old as you feel

  How you feel about aging and your age can actually affect your overall well-being and health. Negative stereotypes in our media and our peers us also can affect how we feel about ourselves. However there is hope; we can turn around our negative thinking, reframe our views and, in turn, improve our health. Research over the past twenty years has shown repeatedly that having a n...

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Make Fall Prevention Part of your Spring Cleaning

A fall can be a life-altering event when it comes to health, well-being and quality of life. Back in February, I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Jake Sosnoff of the Illini Fall Prevention Clinic speak. He is such a wealth of knowledge that I wanted to share his knowledge with all of you. This month Dr. Sosnoff has written a gem of an article on falls. I hope you find it as interesting and engag...

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Good Communication is Important

Good Communication is Important Good communication is essential in all aspects of our lives, but it can sometimes be hard to accomplish. In a time where people have never been more "connected" to each other w...

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Change Your Perspective on Aging

6 Ways to Age Successfully

Stroll down any greeting card aisle and you're bound to see endless images and jokes about getting older. While witty sayings about gray hair, "senior moments," and the physical changes that come with aging are meant to make us chuckle, it does cast a negative image on getting older. What if aging was associated with positive change and outcomes? Older American...

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More Characteristics of Positive Aging

In the last article I mentioned that optimism, socialization and purpose were just a few of the characteristics proven to improve quality of life. So what are the additional elements that contribute to positive aging? Of course, eati...

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Characteristics of Positive Aging

Everyone is aging, but do you ever wonder why some people seem to age more successfully than others? We all know of some older adults out there that just seem to be more "spry." But this is not always in a physical sense. They might be...

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Take a Standfor Your Heart

Take a Stand...For Your Heart

Stroll through any store this time of year and you're bound to see the color red, valentine hearts, and love. Hearts are all around us in every shade of pink and red. This February, I'd like to encourage you to show a little love to your heart. The American Heart Association recognizes heart disease awareness and prevention during the month of February through their national Am...

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Elements of Self-Care

Elements of Self-Care As part of our community wellness effort, I am reprinting a blog post on self-care with permission from a colleague. Michele Crawford, is a Community Health Educator for University of Illinois Extension in Cook County. One of her areas of interest is self-care. In her role as a Health Educato...

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Fostering Resiliency in Yourself and Your Family

Have you ever known someone who seemed to go through very difficult times and left you wondering "how can they handle so much?" Resiliency is the ability to recover from life's challenges and hardships without being overwhelmed and t...

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Reach out and engage with others - isolation is a real concern

The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4a) along with the AARP Foundation, recently launched a national campaign to raise awareness of the growing problem of social isolation and loneliness affecting millions of older Americans. This topic is the focus of the annual Elder-care Locator Home for the Holidays Campaign which will be conducted through January 2017. This is a n...

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5 Minute Mindfulness for the Holiday Season

The gifts, the wrapping, the parties…oh my! Seemingly endless holiday demands can put additional stress on our time and resources. For most people, the holiday season is the busiest time of year with extra of everything – social demands, work projects, family obligations, and holiday to-do lists. I often find myself rushing through the season to get to the "next thing" and before I know it, New...

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Take Action on Holiday Stress

It's the "most wonderful time of the year"……for stress. The busy stores, extra-commitments, social responsibilities, pressure of finding the perfect gift or cooking the perfect meal, travel realities, decorating, making family memories, and attending (or surviving!) holiday family gatherings may leave us less joy-filled and more stress-filled. Each year, the American Psychological Assoc...

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November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness and National Family Caregiving Month

November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness and National Family Caregiving Month Anyone who knows me, knows that I am very passionate about improving care for people with Alzheimer's as well as educating both professional and family caregivers about Alzheimer's Disease. This is where I spent the first half of my professional career. In honor of National Alzheimer's Disease Awaren...

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Take time to be more mindful each day

Take time to be more mindful each day. This week I want to talk about how and why we should be a little more mindful in our daily lives. But before I get started with that, here is an interesting fact on the increased popularity of the word mindfulness over the past 3 ½ years. The University of Illinois Family Life Team developed a lesson on mindfulness in late 2012. While rese...

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By the Way, You've Got Mail!

My son headed off to college this year and being the nice mom that I am, I decided to send him a letter to let him know that I miss him and was thinking about him. We talked on the phone a couple of times after I thought he would have received the letter and he didn't mention it. Finally, a week later I asked him if he ever received the letter. He said that he never thought to go and check his...

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Aging in a Positive Light

From the time you are born, you start to age. Everyone on this earth is aging. The word "aging" is associated with positive words like "wisdom", "timeless", "experienced". But it also generates as many or more negative words and visuals. Why is there such a negative perception of...

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Take a Stand Against Falls - discover extension 8 25 2015

What You Need to Know to Help Your Loved One Prevent Falls

The 9th annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day will be observed on September 22, 2016—the first day of fall. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is seen in the emergency department for a fall-related injury. 1 in 3 older Americans fall every year. Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries for people age 65+. If you have an aging parent, grandp...

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Healthy Adult Sibling Relationships

Recently my four siblings, their spouses, and I got together for our annual sibs weekend. (I'd post a picture of us, but at least one of my sisters would, shall we say, object STRONGLY.) I can always count on my siblings for a lot of laughter, gentle ribbing, and reminiscing and this led me to wonder about the importance of adult sibling relationships. After all, our siblings are the pe...

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