QUARTER 4 2019
OUT OF SIGHT, OUT OF MIND Doesn’t Stop the Mess From Growing
While some people might think of March or January as the ideal months to organize their home or workspace, for me it’s always been September. It was how I would kick off the school year, so I was refreshed and ready to start my classes. When my kids were in school, they were the same way. Even though I haven’t been a student for a while and my kids are in college, that desire to put things in order still came to me last month, and I took advantage of it to finally clean out my office.
true everywhere except my office. That was the front lines of my battle against disorganization. I think my excuse will probably sound familiar to a lot of you: I was afraid that if I threw those things away, I may need them later and not have them. Almost none of the mess was made of materials related to clients; it was just unfinished projects, outdated books, and junk I thought would be useful. Did I honestly need the manual for my toaster? I knew how to use a toaster, so probably not, but I had held onto it anyway. Was I ever going to read all the books I have on my shelf? Many of them were outdated because the areas of law that they focus on had been changed since their publication, so those could go as well. Why did I load my desk drawers up with no less than 14 little, branded tissue packets, a dozen little bottles of hand sanitizer with different company logos on them and other junk? They seemed so useful when I picked them up at those business conference booths, but their long stay in my desk indicated otherwise. Into the trash they went. Armed with a shredder, a trash bag, and a stack of manila folders, I completely Marie Kondo-ed my office. The mess didn’t seem like too much when I started, but as I began to remove the papers from my desk, take books off my shelves, and really sift through every nook and cranny in my office, I was faced with a vast amount of excess stuff. Once I pushed what was previously out of sight and out of mind
into the light, I finally saw the vastness of the task before me. While it was daunting, I was finally able to get through all my junk, and it left me with an amazing sense of freedom and renewal. While putting things out of sight and out of mind in an office is one thing, putting your end-of-life plans out of mind is another. Don’t put yourself through the stress of scrambling to take care of your legal affairs, or those of a loved one, at the last minute. If you have questions or concerns about end-of-life plans you’ve been putting off, don’t wait any longer. Come into our office today so we can help you plan for life ahead, and experience the freedom that comes with knowing you’re prepared for whatever messes life throws at you.
“Once I pushed what was previously out of sight and out of mind into the light, I finally saw the vastness of the task before me.”
At Van Dyck Law, most of the firm is very organized — at least, the parts that our clients can see. At first glance, my office didn’t even seem too cluttered. But, if you started looking in drawers or the dark corners of the closet, then you would learn the truth — it had been a while since I had thrown anything away. In my personal life, I am an unapologetic purger when it comes to throwing away papers. My husband will joke that if a paper of any sort has been left on a table or countertop at our house for more than 10 minutes, I will throw it away regardless of what it is. I wish I could say this is an exaggeration, but it was absolutely
-Fiona Van Dyck
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THE FREE RADICAL 411
How to Minimize Age-Inducing Atoms
If you’ve ever picked up a health magazine while waiting at the doctor’s office, then you’re probably familiar with the term “free radicals” — at least enough to know that they get a bad rap from doctors and beauticians alike. But what are they, exactly? According to Live Science, free radicals are atoms with unpaired electrons that have split off from oxygen molecules in the body and started to “scavenge” for other electrons to pair with. That wouldn’t be problematic, except that these atoms tend to damage cells, lipids, proteins, and even DNA along the way, and that destruction has serious consequences. As Live Science puts it, “Free radicals are associated with human disease, including cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and many others. They also may have a link to aging, which has been defined as a gradual accumulation of free-radical damage.” Unfortunately, it’s impossible to entirely avoid free radicals and the havoc they wreak. The process that forms free radicals, called oxidative stress, can be kick-started by a variety of different substances found in food, water, medicine, and even the air we breathe, according to the Huntington’s Outreach Project for Education at Stanford University. Unsurprisingly, these substances are things already considered
unhealthy, like alcohol, exposure to X-rays, ozone, fried food, chemical pesticides, air pollutants, and tobacco smoke.
That said, there is one molecule that is stable enough to stand up to and reduce free radicals: the antioxidant. According to a study published by Pharmacognosy Reviews, antioxidants can “donate an electron to a rampaging free radical and neutralize it, thus reducing its ability to damage.” Synthetic antioxidants exist but can sometimes have harmful side effects, so scientists advise protecting yourself by avoiding free radical triggers like alcohol, processed foods, and red meat, and ingesting natural antioxidants in the form of berries, stone fruits, olives, onions, garlic, and green and black teas. Herbs and spices like cinnamon, basil, turmeric, and fenugreek can ratchet up your antioxidant levels too. While it can’t guarantee immortality, the right diet can certainly help you stave off aging and disease, so why not start today?
Before The Holidays Sweep You Away
SOME TIPS FOR FIGHTING SENIOR LONELINESS
The holidays are still a few months away, but, before you know it, Halloween and Thanksgiving will fly by, and we’ll up to our earmuffs in shopping, cooking, and decorating. While the Christmas season is busy and exciting, it can often be a time of loneliness and melancholy for our aging relatives and loved ones. So, before the holidays really get started, here are a few ways you can make the seniors in your life feel important and included in the festivities. HELP THEM WITH THEIR CHRISTMAS CARDS A major part of Christmas is spending time with family and friends, but many seniors feel loneliness around the holidays because illness and death take more and more connections away from them every year. A diminishing number of Christmas cards every year can really make this apparent. Helping your elderly loved ones with their cards and encouraging your family and friends to send them a card can go a long way to address those feelings of isolation. SIMPLIFY YOUR CELEBRATIONS While huge Christmas parties and lots of gifts might be a big part of your holiday season, your aging loved ones may appreciate simpler
traditions or even just spending time together. Show them that family is the most important thing to you during the holidays, whether that’s by baking with them, decorating a tree, or even just chatting with them about Christmas memories they enjoy. LISTEN TO THEM Making the seniors in your life feel heard, whether what they have to say is positive or negative, is the most important thing you can do to help with their loneliness. Having an open and honest conversation with them can help them process what’s bothering them and give you ideas of how to bring them some joy in the midst of their sadness. There’s no simple fix for helping people feel better around the holidays, but there’s value in making your elderly loved ones feel included in your seasonal celebrations. It will remind them they have people in their lives who care about them, and that’s something worth celebrating.
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Holiday Stress, Dementia Care, and Medicare in 2020 What’s Coming Up at the Van Dyck Law Education Center
Between work and the holidays, the last three months of the year are some of the busiest. With that in mind, we want to let you know what you can expect from some of the upcoming presentations at the Van Dyck Law Firm Education Center. Don’t forget to mark the dates and times on your calendars! On Oct. 6, Sheli Monacchio will give a presentation on managing the day-to-day elements of caregiving. Caring for an aging loved one is no small task, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed as a primary caregiver. If you have questions about the practical side of caregiving and how to do it well, this is the presentation for you. On Oct. 9, Sheli will be presenting on Understanding Dementia- Related Grief. Dementia takes away loved ones gradually, and it can be hard to know how to process your feelings of loss before loved ones have passed. If this sounds like what you’re going through right now, Sheli’s presentation is worth checking out. On Oct. 16, there will be a presentation on Medicare changes that will happen next year. A few different plans starting on Jan. 1, 2020, will no longer be available for purchase. If you want to know how these changes might affect you, join us to learn more. On Nov. 6, Sheli is giving a presentation on the health benefits of being grateful. Life can throw a lot of difficult things at us we can’t always control, but staying grateful for what we have in those times
can keep us healthy according to multiple studies. Join us at the Education Center to learn more!
The bittersweet feelings of caring for a loved one with dementia and the stressful holiday season don’t mix well. We know you may have some questions and concerns when December hits, so join Sheli on Dec. 4 for some tips and advice on how to successfully make it to New Year’s. Register for each presentation through our website. If the presentation you want to attend is full, you will still be put on a waiting list in case someone cancels. We hope to see you there!
Upcoming E D U C A T I O N CENTER EVENTS
Inspired by Food Network
OCT. 6, 9:30–11:00 A.M. Practical Solutions for Caregivers: Managing the Day to Day Presented by: Sheli Monacchio
DIRECTIONS 1. In a large saucepan, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. 2. Place a large, heatproof mixing bowl on top of saucepan so that no steam can escape. Place melting chocolate in mixing bowl and double boil until melted. 3. Dip half of each piece of fruit in chocolate before transferring to a parchment-lined baking sheet to rest. 4. Let cool for 10 minutes until chocolate solidifies. 5. Place in school lunches, serve at parties, and indulge in a few for yourself. INGREDIENTS • 1 package melting chocolate • Assorted dried fruit, including apricots and mangoes This super easy and fun way to create homemade treats provides your kids with a healthier and more delicious alternative to packaged industrial candy. As a bonus, making it is an awesome Halloween activity for your family to enjoy.
OCT. 9, 9:30–11:00 A.M. Grieving the Living: Understanding Dementia-Related Grief Presented by: Sheli Monacchio, Director of Life Care Resources — Van Dyck Law
OCT. 16, 3 P.M. Medicare Changes for 2020
NOV. 6, 9:30–11:00 A.M. The Gift of Gratitude: Health Benefits to being Grateful Presented by: Sheli Monacchio
DEC. 4, 9:30–11:00 A.M. Holiday Stress and Dementia Caregiving Presented by: Sheli Monacchio
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Cleaning Out the Office Is Like End-of-Life Planning
Tips for Fighting Free Radicals Helping Seniors Through Holiday Loneliness Upcoming Seminar Topics at the Education Center Chocolate-Dipped Fruit
Be All You Can Bee
BE ALL YOU CAN BEE And Give Honey a Second Thought
The health benefits of raw organic honey, which include soothing sore throats, lowering cholesterol, and treating skin wounds, have been embraced by many members of the holistic health community for decades. But with the rapid decline of the bee population in recent years, humans’ use of honey has become more controversial. According to the New York Bee Sanctuary, bees (not just honey-makers) are disappearing for several reasons, but one of the most unfortunate contributors is the honey industry. In order to mass-produce commercial honey products, many factories have resorted to industrialized beekeeping practices, which have been deemed unethical by animal activist groups because they strip hives of their honey storage, starving the bees through
the winter months. This practice, along with soil contamination and a viral infection spread by mites, led to the devastating loss of 40% of all bee colonies last year. Because most bees are pollinators, they play a crucial role in helping plants reproduce. Without the bees playing their part in this natural process, approximately 30% of the world’s crops won’t flourish. Fortunately, you can help strengthen the bee population in a few ways from your own home.
are sustainable. Then, by purchasing their product, you are helping fund their hive and enrich the local bee population. You can also plant a garden full of bee- friendly plants, like honeysuckle, strawberries, sunflowers, and cosmos, to give the bees in your community more pollen sources. Additionally, if you notice dandelions growing in your garden, leave them. They are a great food source for bees, especially in early spring before other plants have started blooming. While honey has many excellent health properties, bees are far more vital to the world’s sustainability. Do your part to help their population by researching, spreading awareness, and thinking before you shop for honey.
First, try to avoid purchasing any commercialized honey products of
questionable quality and provenance. Instead, look for raw local honey at a farmer’s market. That way, you can meet the beekeeper to determine if their honey-rendering practices
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