Category Archives: Series

Wedding Planning: From Ceremony to New Life

Vantage Point: Wedding Season Brings Many Changes

Summertime is here, which means wedding season has arrived.

Weddings are filled with so much love and anticipation. These magical ceremonies take so many months of planning and preparation, like figuring out the date, color scheme, invitations, venue, photography, bridal shower, and of course, the guest list.

As the special day arrives, you get to see all of the hard work and planning come together. As the day goes on, the happy couple gets together and dances the first dance, enjoys delicious cake, and takes pictures with all the guests.

As you wind down and look into the future, the next phase of planning begins. This is a new life as you are no longer only thinking about yourself but also about your significant other. Many new married couples move into a new home, which means you might have a new address.

Before putting your new last name on the mailbox, you need to officially change your name. The first step is visiting the Social Security Administration office or mailing in an application for a new Social Security card. Once that is complete, the next stop is the Department of Licensing. This will give you a chance to retake that driver’s license picture you probably didn’t like anyway. It will have a new name and your new married smile, plus your new address.

Once you have changed your name with the Social Security Administration and the Department of Licensing, changing your name with other companies should be a breeze. Places to contact would be your employer’s office, credit card companies, banks, and insurance companies. Now that you are married, your insurance options might change. This is a great time to take another look at your current coverage.

Another very important part of this is to update your Power of Attorney (POA). Since you are officially a new couple, you’ll need to complete a new Power of Attorney. With all the changes in your life, you might want to reconsider who your POA is.

It all seems like a lot of paperwork, but once it is complete, you won’t have to think about it anymore. You can put it behind you and start your new beginning.  Then, you can sit back, relax, reminisce about your wonderful wedding day, and look into the bright new future.  

Jessica Arroyo, born and raised in the Wenatchee Valley, is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance Northwest, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties in Washington. During her time off, she enjoys spending time with her husband and infant son.

Kids and Energy to Burn

Long View: Energy to Burn

I tried to talk my parents into buying me a paddle boat when I was 11. Oh yes, I did.

We used to spend the summer on a little island at the south end of Mobile Bay in Alabama. The first thing my younger brother and I wanted to do when we got there was to go to the concession stand and rent paddle boats. For those of you who are not familiar, they are kind of like riding a bike but on the water, seriously.

The rental was kind of expensive as I remember, but the folks let us ride as many times as we wanted. My idea of buying one to save on the rental just didn’t float with Mom and Dad.

The following year, we discovered the paddle boat concession had been wiped out by a hurricane. We were inconsolable until our Dad presented us with 4 new Frisbees. We got the neighbor kids out on the beach and played for what seemed like hours. When the inevitable boredom set in, we often walked to historic Fort Gaines on the far eastern end of the island. There were lots of walls to climb and ramparts to scramble up. It was like a huge jungle gym. The fort had real cannons too.  Signs discouraged people from climbing on them, but we did it just the same.

After supper, the family often walked to the western end of the island, which was quite a jaunt for our little legs, especially in the sand. By the time we got back to the house, we were ready for a well-deserved night’s sleep.

It took me a while to realize that my parents were geniuses. They knew how to engage their 2 somewhat hyperactive boys and make sure we burned off enough energy to settle down in the evening. Sometimes we volunteered to go to bed early, which gave the folks a much-deserved rest.

When I talk to people who are older and wiser than me, I keep in mind they probably have insights and wisdom far beyond my own. Giving an older friend or family member a chance to share their insights is our chance to learn from someone else’s experience.  My parents might not have been geniuses, but they were most certainly practical and insightful when it came to raising kids.

I recently checked out the cost of a paddle boat, with an awning of course. It was affordable. However, I realized what a wildly impractical purchase it would be, so I bought a Frisbee instead. Lesson learned.

Patrick Harness is a community liaison with a long history of experience in health insurance. He is known for his inability to parallel park, and if you ask him to pick a color, he always chooses orange, (and he paints!)

Celebrate July!

Covered Bridge: Many Things to Celebrate

July, the month we realize Mother Nature has ever so graciously provided us with … heat!

When I think back as a child and remember what the month of July meant to me, the following things come to mind: having to go back to school in a month, melted popsicles, bike rides, swimming, tent camping trips, sunburns, and losing track of time due to the long days of sunshine.

When I think of July as an adult, I think of red, white, and blue, our armed forces, and this great nation!  Humidity is almost, if not already, at a yearly high. OK, most people don’t look forward to the humidity. I get it, but I will take it over the rain and snow pretty much any day. The sound of fireworks almost all month long and the delightful smells of hamburgers and hotdogs from our grill or from somewhere else in our neighborhood are basically daily rituals.

One thing I do differently from a child to an adult? I camp in an RV. Some call it “glamping,” but I call it convenience on wheels.

However, those aren’t the only things to look forward to in July. I look forward to celebrating events within our community that make summer that much more exciting.

This year, Reid Foundation will celebrate the 10th Annual ReidRide on July 21! No matter your fitness level, according to Prevention Magazine, “Cycling puts very little impact on your joints, so it’s kind to your body.” That sounds like a great reason to me to get out there and safely give it a try!

If you are not familiar with the ReidRide, your contribution provides shoes to children in need in our local community. Every $20 donated will buy a pair of shoes. Information on registering for the event and other ways to contribute can be found at ReidRide.org.

In other celebratory news, this year is Reid’s 113th birthday on July 27! Reid will celebrate with some special activities, so be on the lookout for those details!

Maybe, like me, you simply enjoy this month for all it represents, or maybe you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or another day of importance this month. No matter what it is, I hope this month brings you much happiness!

Morgan Gunder is a community and broker liaison for Reid Health Alliance. Born in the South and raised in the Midwest, she is a wife and mother with a passion for traveling, learning, and technology.

Ready for Summer Fun

Vantage Point: Summer Is Here

Every season, I can’t wait for the next season to be here (like when it’s finally summer, I’m waiting for fall and the cooler temperatures). I’ve always done that, but I’m getting better about living in the moment.

Now that summer is here, I’ve started thinking about a few questions. How do you want to enjoy the season we’re in? What would you like to accomplish this summer that maybe you’ve wanted to accomplish in summers past and haven’t?

Here’s my goal list for a really fun family summer:

  1. I want to camp more, much more. We have a family cabin where we can escape into the outdoors, but it really isn’t the same as camping. I want to work on my camping skills while teaching my children the awesome aspects of nature.

  2. I want to take a nicely planned trip to the beach.

  3. I want to have more family dinners where we eat outside with extended family, share a good meal, and converse. I think the summer season allows the perfect time to do this.

  4. In the vein of family dinners, I want to try more fun summer recipes that will make me a culinary legend in my family’s eyes.

  5. I would like to take more family walks. Not only is being healthy a focus for me and my family, but I would also love for us to have those summer memories of being together, talking, and walking.

While you’re out accomplishing your summer goals, don’t forget about summer safety tips. Remember to never leave little ones or animals in any hot car or hot area, drink plenty of water, and make sure that your loved ones are getting enough hydration as well (fur family included).

If you happen to take walks later in the evening or early morning when the light is lower, remember to wear light or bright clothing, and maybe have a reflective light or flashlight with you (or a reflective vest) so that people can see you and you stay safe.

Sunscreen is always important, no matter what time of year. Don’t let a cloudy day fool you when it comes to sun protection. Wearing sunscreen on cloudy days is as important as wearing it on sunny days, but on cloudy days, the sun is being sneaky, and you don’t realize how much sun you’re getting.

Have a safe and goal-filled summer!

Breck Obermeyer is a community liaison with Health Alliance Northwest, serving Yakima County. She is a small-town girl from Naches and has a great husband who can fix anything and 2 kids who are her world.

What Motivates You?

Long View: What Motivates You?

Have you ever had one of those inspirational or enthusiastic moments that make you excited and energetic? You know, like the feeling right after you lose the first 15 pounds and have stuck to your New Year’s resolution and want to just keep going? Or after you aced a diagnostic test you were neervous about and you want to continue down a healthy path?

That’s called motivation, and Mr. Webster could not have defined it any better: “A force or influence that causes someone to do something; the condition of being eager to act or work.” Well, when I found out that Health Alliance was named the title sponsor of the 2018 Illinois Senior Olympics and that we would be working closely with the Senior Services of Central Illinois in Springfield to make it a success, it motivated me to write this article!

The Illinois Senior Olympics, based in Springfield, is the oldest of the State Games in the United States. The first Senior Olympics was in 1977 and hosted 122 athletes that year. Fast forward to 2018, and we are hopeful that this year’s games will host nearly 1,500 male and female athletes 50 years and older. More than 30 events along with team sports are offered. And if that doesn’t motivate you enough, Springfield is the only qualifying site in Illinois for those wishing to participate in the National Senior Games! The mission of the Senior Olympics is to give everyone an opportunity to maintain or develop their overall health and wellness. It challenges the physical as well as the mental you!

The dates run from July to October 2018 in Springfield. This gives you enough time to check with your physician, practice up, and start training! Individual sport categories range from archery to bridge, from swimming or basketball to horseshoes and Wii bowling. Or get a team sport going in basketball, softball or volleyball. Whatever you choose, there is a sport that will be to your liking and to your physical capacity. Sponsorships and volunteer opportunities are available, too. When you combine our senior participants, our sponsors, and our volunteers, it makes for a great time and something fun you can be a part of. You won’t want to miss it!

Motivated yet? Contact Justin Yuroff at Development@ssoci.org or 217-528-4035, ext. 118. Also check out the website ILSeniorOlympics.weebly.com for more information on dates and registration along with sponsorship and volunteer opportunities. Come join Senior Services of Central Illinois and Health Alliance at this year’s games. Hope to see you there!

Mervet Adams is a community liaison with Health Alliance. She loves her grandson, family, nature, and fashion.

Remember Veterans

Covered Bridge: Remember Veterans this Independence Day

Independence Day is almost a whole month away, but I am already looking forward to it because, you guessed it, the food. Barbecued chicken and ribs, potato salad, and deviled eggs, all in the same meal? It’s almost too good to be true. However, the holiday also moves me beyond just my stomach.

While we always have a flag flying, we have a special flag we fly on the Fourth of July. This simple act always reminds me of the many service members who have defended and still are defending our great nation. I have many family members who have served in the military and still currently are. I can only imagine that being in the military is a very challenging experience, so I am thankful there are resources available to military personnel after they serve. One such resource is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Local veteran service officers can help veterans navigate the many useful programs offered in their area. The resources they offer include help finding employment, starting or continuing an education, or launching a small business. The VA also helps people who are transitioning from active duty to civilian life, which can be a complicated process.

The VA website features an easy-to-navigate section on health topics. Some are of general interests (like cataracts), while others are topics of a specific interest to service members (like readjustment counseling). One of the department’s more pressing challenges is to provide support for homeless veterans or recently discharged service members.

According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, the VA says veterans make up about 11% of the adult homeless population in the U.S. and oftentimes, deal with mental illness and substance abuse.

A local resource is our Wayne County Veterans Office. Our veteran service officer is Pete McDaniel. He is located in the Annex Building and is there Monday through Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays are by appointments only. This office provides many great local resources.

I know many of you have served in the military or have friends and family who have served. Reid Health Alliance Medicare thanks all those who have protected this country and have allowed us to continue celebrating Independence Day. This year, I plan on being more about the flag and less about the food.

Morgan Gunder is a community and broker liaison for Reid Health Alliance. Born in the South and raised in the Midwest, she is a wife and mother with a passion for traveling, learning, and technology.

 

Sun Protection at Any Age

Vantage Point: Making Sense of Sun Protection

Hurray for warmer weather. I must say, I sure do love springtime and seeing all of our trees thriving and blooming. The color is coming back into our communities as the grass turns greener and people start hanging flowerpots on their patios. Although we are not quite in the summer season, the sun is making an appearance, which means summertime is near.

During the summertime, we all love to enjoy some time outdoors and enjoy the nice warm weather. Some of us like to go for a stroll around the park. Others might want to spend their time by the pool to cool off. I love doing that myself.

When getting ready for a pool day, I make sure to have everything I need by my side. I make sure I have my towels, snacks, water (to stay hydrated), and floatables for maximum relaxation. And the most important part of our pool day is having our sunscreen applied.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t always been great about applying sunscreen when being out under the sun, but the older I get, the more I realize how important it is to protect my skin. Since summer is near, I want to make sure I take the right precautions as my family and I spend time outdoors.

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, “Sun protection is essential to skin cancer prevention – about 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers and about 86% of melanomas are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun.”

It’s very scary to think how high these statistics are when we’re all under the sun on a daily basis. Reading these statistics makes me think twice about if I really want to spend time out by the pool. How do I know what sunscreen is giving me the best protection?

The Skin Cancer Foundation can help with that too. “Most sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher do an excellent job of protecting against UVB. SPF or (Sun Protection Factor) is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin.” They also say that people who use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher on a daily basis show 24% less skin aging than those who don’t.

After getting more insight into skin care and sun damage I will definitely enjoy my time off outdoors cooling down, just with plenty of sunscreen. I’m ready for summer 2018!

Jessica Arroyo, born and raised in the Wenatchee Valley, is a Medicare community liaison for Health Alliance, serving Chelan, Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties in Washington. During her time off, she enjoys spending time with her husband and infant son.