Tag Archives: Illinois

Remember September

Long View: Remember September

Try to remember the kind of September when life was slow and oh-so-mellow.

Many of you may remember this Andy Williams song from years ago. For me, it rekindled some fond memories of a younger time. Did you read the lyrics, or sing them (as I did)?

September is a time when we welcome autumn and say so long to summer. Living in the Midwest for most of my life, I love the change of seasons, especially this one! The shades of nature are a mixture of both summer and fall.

It’s a fun time in fashion when colors start to pop as wardrobes transition. It’s perfectly acceptable to wear plum opaque tights with a pastel-colored summer frock, a cozy navy sweatshirt with those favorite khaki shorts, or even a pair of gray light wool pants with some snazzy, strappy sandals! (Is white OK after Labor Day these days?)

One of the most prominent colors of the season that you will see displayed this month is purple. Did you know that purple is the official color of the Alzheimer’s movement?

September is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, and here at Health Alliance, we participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in many of our communities throughout Illinois. These wonderful walks are intended to raise awareness of the disease and to raise funds for care, support, and research. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible disease that progressively and slowly destroys a person’s memory and mental skills to the point of not being able to carry out the simplest task.

Finding a cure for this disease is the focus of Walk to End Alzheimer’s, and developing prevention along with treatment is part of the process. Check out the dates and towns for the 2018 walks near you. It’s a nationwide annual event, with more than 600 communities across the United States participating.

There are many way to help, even if you don’t want to walk. Take your first step and go the official website at Act.ALZ.org/Walk.

Here are some of the 2018 local walks where you may spot Health Alliance:

  • Champaign – September 22
  • Decatur – October 6
  • Mattoon – September 29
  • Bloomington/Normal – September 15
  • Peoria – October 13
  • Rockford – September 15
  • Springfield – September 22

Come up with your own transitional outfit to wear (maybe add a splash of purple,) and hope to see you at a walk!

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

National Child Support Awareness Month

National Child Support Awareness Month

This week is National Child Support Awareness Month, and we have resources to help you and your kids.

Back-to-school can be expensive. Check out this local, free back-to-school haircut event.

Need help with back-to-school supplies? Find free school supplies in Illinois.

Back-to-School Creativity

 

Want to give back to help students in Illinois with supplies? Give to Operation Backpack.

Getting All Kids to School

 

Need help finding childcare? chambanamoms.com’s local guide can help you.

In Smart and Safe Hands

 

Find family-friendly events, including free ones, by following chambanamoms.com.

Free Fun for All

 

Child support resources in Illinois for parents, employers, and even lawyers are just a click away.

A Guiding Hand

 

Find fun ideas for spending time with your kids as a father and much more.

Father-Daughter Day

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Farm-to-Table Dining

Long View: Fresh from the Farm and Close to Home

The concept of farm-to-table eating intrigues me. I’ve noticed the term showing up in the local, independent restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska.

Farm-to-table means the food comes directly from the farm to your local restaurant, without first going through a store, market, or distributor.

A well-loved farm-to-table restaurant in Omaha has 19 different local, independent farms as partners. Its mushrooms come from Grand Island, its walnuts from Valparaiso, its poultry from Burchard, and even its vinegar is locally produced in Cody, NE, which has a population of just 156 people. Another restaurant in Des Moines claims that 90% of its ingredients come from local farms. Even the house liquors are Iowans’.

None of this is new, really. When I visit our home office in Urbana, I like to eat lunch nearby at Common Ground Food Co-operative, which has been in business since 1974. Its website can show you a map of where your groceries came from in Illinois. The furthest any of the apples have traveled is right around 200 miles, from freshly picked trees in Murphysboro.

But does eating locally really make a difference? Science tells us that fruits and veggies begin to lose nutrients once they are picked. If they’ve been sitting in a crate on the back of a truck or in a grocery store very long, you’ll miss out on the fruit’s or veggie’s full flavor and nutrition.

And when you choose a farm-to-table restaurant, you’ll know that a lot of your hard-earned money is staying in your community. The American Independent Business Alliance found that on average, 48% of each purchase at local small businesses went back into their communities. That’s more than 3 times the amount at chain stores.

The next time you sit down at your favorite local restaurant, go ahead and introduce yourself. Find out where those delicious ingredients came from. You might be surprised how close to home their journey started.

Lora Felger is a community and broker liaison at Health Alliance. She is the mother of 2 terrific boys, a world traveler, and a major Iowa State Cyclones fan.

Fight Caregiver Fatigue

Long View: Nobody Is an Island – Recognizing and Addressing Caregiver Fatigue

The holidays are supposed to be a time for family gatherings, parties, traveling, and opportunities to laugh and relax with the ones you love. For some, though, the holidays have different associations, like stress, anxiety, and isolation.

Caregivers can often feel stressed during the holiday season. While others are enjoying this time of year, caregivers may feel isolated as they focus on the care of a loved one. Caregivers selflessly provide around-the-clock, unpaid care to seniors and people with disabilities. They are tasked with accompanying their loved one to medical appointments, managing their medications, and handling their financial affairs, all while balancing their own obligations.

Caregivers also often overlook their own mental, emotional, and physical health. As a result, they can feel a sense of isolation, like they’re alone on an island. This feeling is called caregiver fatigue.

Mitchell Forrest, a social worker at Central Illinois Agency on Aging in Peoria, provided insight into caregiver fatigue. “Caregivers who feel a sense of hopelessness, are socially withdrawn, not sleeping, and experiencing illness and weight loss, may be suffering from caregiver fatigue and should seek out supports to help them manage their stress,” he said.

If left untreated, caregiver fatigue can take such a physical and mental toll that they can no longer care for their loved one.

But caregivers can find a network of encouragement through support groups. National organizations, like the Alzheimer’s Association, offer local support groups for caregivers of people with different diagnoses.

Respite services can be another vital resource. For a fee, nursing homes and adult day services offer a safe, supportive environment where the loved one will be in trusted hands for a few hours or longer, so the caregiver can rest. In-home personal aides can also provide additional assistance to the caregiver.

While no resource is a remedy for the anxiety of caring for a sick loved one, caregivers should know that they are not alone. Talking to someone is invaluable, and there are many counselors who specialize in the needs of caregivers.

Area Agencies on Aging offer resources and referrals to support seniors, people with disabilities, and their caregivers. If you feel alone on the island, send a signal and help will find you.

Chris Maxeiner is a community liaison with Health Alliance. His background is in the fields of healthcare and government programs. His favorite superhero is Batman, and he is an avid Chicago sports fan (Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, and White Sox).

Affordable Health Services for National Health Center Week

National Health Center Week 2015

This week is National Health Center Week, so we had more info about finding these resources each day.

The Champaign Urbana Public Health District’s website can connect you to local health resources and info and Board of Health info.

Care

 

The Francis Nelson Health Center in Champaign provides care to those who need it most and can’t afford it. Learn more about their services or help the cause.

If you’re a University of Illinois student, McKinley Health Center is your first stop for all kinds of health information, including online classes.

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The Champaign County Christian Health Center offers free and quality health services. Learn more about making appointments, giving, fundraising, and volunteering.

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Avicenna Community Health Center has been providing health screenings and learning to the CU community since 2009. Learn about what they do and how you can help.

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While Medicaid in Illinois has expanded, there are other ways to get help too. Carle’s Community Care Discount Program helps people get the care they need.

Health Insurance Policy brochure

 

Looking for health centers across the nation? This government database can help!

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Spring at the Park

Long View: Savor Spring at a Public Park

Well, we survived another winter, and the weather is giving us a break now that spring is upon us. I don’t know if you felt cooped up, but I certainly did. I need to plan some outdoor recreation, but the question is what and where?

Last year, I was on the road and visited Marshall, IL. Jennifer Bishop is the director of the Marshall Chamber of Commerce, and I asked her if she had a recommendation for someplace peaceful to have a quick lunch. She said I should consider the dining room at Lincoln Trail State Park. It was nearby, so I checked it out.

The restaurant looked out over a 146-acre lake and a boat dock. There were hummingbird feeders hanging just outside the windows, and they were very active with birds. The food was simple and well prepared, and the staff could not have been nicer. They even deliver dinners to the campground for free, believe it or not.

Lincoln Trail State Park offers a number of activities, including camping, fishing, picnicking, and boating. After a very affordable lunch, I enjoyed a short hike along the side of the lake. It was beautiful.

The experience got me thinking about what a great asset we have in our state parks. They offer a wide range of outdoor activities; they are well maintained and always affordable. I did a search and found our state parks to be accessible and conveniently located, perfect for someone like me who could use some exercise and fresh air.

I told Jennifer at the Chamber how much I enjoyed my experience at the park and she told me, “It’s a hidden gem. I love telling visitors about hidden gems in our community. The locals forget about its simplistic beauty and number of activities. We are so lucky to have it in our backyard. My family loves to take advantage of it any chance we get.”

There you have it. We are all supporting our state parks with our tax dollars, and I for one will take better advantage of them this year. Some fresh air and a brisk walk are only a few of the possibilities. Lincoln Trail also offers winter sporting opportunities, like ice fishing and skating (weather permitting). But after last winter, I think I’ll pass on the cold activities.

You can check out other tips for getting healthy and moving more on the Health & Wellness section of our site.

Superbowl Party Spread

Healthy Superbowl Party Food

This week in food, to help you keep your healthy goals this football season, we gave you a different healthy recipe each day to try this Sunday at your Superbowl party.

First up are the tasty, one-bite mixtures of classic dishes, Sweet and Sour Meatballs.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

 

Cooking Light magazine helps you lighten up an Illinois classic chili recipe in this video. Try it for your gameday.

Illinois Classic Chili

 

These Zucchini Fries are a delicious way to sneak some vegetables into your Superbowl lineup.

Zucchini Fries

 

This Peppered Peanut Brittle is a unique, healthy snack for your party at just 105 calories.

Peppered Peanut Brittle

 

These Pork and Pinto Bean Nachos are so tasty that no one will even know they’re a light recipe.

Pork and Pinto Bean Nachos

 

These Beer-Battered Onion Rings with Roasted Pepper Aioli make junk food healthy at just 223 calories.

Beer-Battered Onion Rings with Roasted Pepper Aioli

 

Whip up this Warm Spinach Artichoke Dip with just 59 calories before your big game bash today.

Warm Spinach Artichoke Dip

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