Christmas 2011 – Providence Style!

The holiday season has a way of bringing people together, and it’s a time for Providence people to shine. In the Christmas video below, you’ll hear about some of the special activities going on at various Providence communities. Most important, you’ll get a sense of the genuine joy Providence people have in serving others. Music, food, friends, family, health, safety, joy, and Jesus — these Christmas blessings and more are mentioned by staff and residents alike. As you watch and listen, please know that our Christmas prayer is that throughout the year you will remember the song of the angels: “…a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” If you are interested in the life-enhancing services from the Providence Life Services communities featured in the Christmas video above, you can use the links below to learn more: Providence of Palos Heights, Palos Heights, Illinois, (708) 597-1000 Village Woods Retirement & Assisted Living, Crete, Illinois, (708) 672-6111 Royal Atrium Inn Assisted Living and Royal Park Place Retirement Living, Zeeland, Michigan, (616) 772-2224 Saratoga Grove Retirement & Assisted Living, Downers Grove, Illinois, (630) 971-1995 If you are interested in life-enhancing services from Providence communities not featured in the video, […]

Caregivers: Avoid Emotional Eating

While food’s main purpose is to serve as fuel for our bodies, most of us are also aware of emotional associations that get tangled up in our eating decisions. Some of these associations are positive and self-affirming; others introduce feelings of regret or frustration; and sometimes a mix of positive and negative emotions is possible. If you are caring for an aging parent, you may be particularly susceptible to emotional triggers. Recognizing the dynamics at play can help you make intentional choices about the foods you fuel your body with. Emotional dynamics Grief. Sometimes, caregivers may be grieving the decline they see in a parent’s health, and they turn to certain foods as a source of comfort. Homemade macaroni and cheese, rich beef stew, warm apple pie — comfort foods like this are reminders of “simpler” times, when Mom was healthy and the family gathered around the table each night. Indulging in comfort food is often more about feeding our emotions than feeding our bodies. Guilt. Guilt is another emotional trigger that is difficult to stand up to. Switching roles with a parent is emotionally complicated, and guilt has a way of twisting our best intentions and making it difficult […]

Grief, Loss, and the Holidays

Grief is a difficult burden to bear, and it becomes even heavier during the holidays. The weight of traditions, expectations, and memories can seem immense and impossible. The following suggestions are intended to help offload some of the burden of grief: 1. Anticipate pain. Pretending that holiday joy can erase your grief is unrealistic. Instead, go into the season with reasonable expectations. Don’t be afraid to cry, or get angry, or feel depressed. These are normal feelings associated with loss, and they do not need to be avoided. 2. Rethink routines. For some people, holiday traditions may be a source of comfort — because they provide a sense of familiarity in the face of dramatic change. For others, traditions may actually intensify the sense of loss. It can be helpful to (1) think of traditions as “containers” that carry deeper intangibles, and then (2) realize you can change the container without damaging the contents. For example, Judy and her mother Helen had a tradition of baking Christmas cookies every December. They would invite the grandchildren to Helen’s house, where they spent a full day singing along with Christmas music, talking about school, flipping through old recipe cards, sipping coffee and […]

Local Chefs Win Gold as Providence Life Services sweeps the AHF Culinary Challenge

ELMHURST, Ill. (November 2011) – This is not your father’s healthcare food. Or maybe it is — if your father lives at Village Woods, a retirement and assisted living community in Crete, Illinois. Kevin Risner is the Executive Chef there, and he just proved his chops by winning the gold medal at the AHF Chicago-Midwest Chapter’s Culinary Challenge on Friday, November 18. AHF (Association for Healthcare Foodservice) is on a mission to eliminate the stigma of “hospital food.” Member organizations all use self-operated foodservice, as opposed to contracting or outsourcing dining services to an outside management group. “Keeping dining in-house,” says Mark Trnka, “allows greater creativity and flexibility, which leads to higher customer satisfaction.” Mark is the Vice President of Support Services at Providence Life Services, the parent company of Village Woods. He supervises Kevin as well as chefs at eight other Providence retirement communities and nursing homes in Illinois and Michigan. “In the end, we want our residents to get the nutrition they need, and we want them to look forward to mealtimes!” Mark is also president of the Chicago-Midwest Chapter of AHF, and after seeing culinary competitions at the group’s national conferences, he wondered if such a challenge would be good at […]

Four Flu Shot Facts

1. November is not too late. Many people get a flu shot as soon as the vaccine becomes available in October, but even after the first rush is over, getting a flu shot is still worthwhile, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on their Seasonal Influenza website: “CDC recommends that people get vaccinated against influenza as soon as vaccine becomes available in their community, but vaccination can take place at any time throughout the influenza season. “…The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.” 2. You might already be contagious. Adults who have the flu can infect other people up to a day before symptoms become visible, and up to 7 days after becoming sick. 3. Some people are at high risk for flu. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year, but for certain people the vaccine is particularly important. For example, children younger than 5 are especially susceptible to flu-related complications. And people […]