Merlino & Gonzalez March 2018


to a Happier Family school for art club, why not break out the healthy snacks and make dinner happen a little later or earlier? Plus, the meal you share as a family doesn’t have to be at dinnertime. If there’s time in the mornings, sit down for breakfast. If you have the opportunity on weekends or during a school break, grab lunch together. CALL ALL HANDS ON DECK Mom or Dad shouldn’t be expected to cook by themselves for every meal. This is family time, after all, so call in the kids! Make sure their tasks are age-appropriate — leave sautéing vegetables to the high schooler and let your first-grader set out the cups instead. This is the perfect opportunity to teach kids valuable kitchen skills and to take some of the burden off your plate. Plus, if your kids are picky eaters, inviting them to be part of the cooking process can make them more inclined to try the finished product. DON’T STRESS YOURSELF OUT It’s okay if you’re too busy on a Monday to cook dinner. There’s always Tuesday. Or you can take a trip to your favorite family restaurant. Family meals should be fun, and that can’t happen if you’re stressed. Don’t feel pressured to make each meal perfect or to prepare a three-course dinner every night. Chicken and rice can get the job done as long as you’re all sitting around the table as a family. No matter how hectic your schedule may be, making family meals a priority is always worth the investment. Who’s in the mood for meatloaf?

The family dinner is a staple of years gone by. These days, the only time you see a family sit together and break bread seems to be at Thanksgiving. This is a shame, because regular family dinners are incredibly important! It’s a time to bond with your loved ones that can have a positive impact on your kids’ lives. A study published in the journal Pediatrics found that kids who regularly partake in family meals are less likely to experience depression or engage in drug use. Furthermore, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University determined that kids who eat family meals five to seven times a week bring home better report cards.

Even when schedules are busy, you can make family dinners fit into your agenda with these tips.

BE FLEXIBLE ABOUT MEALTIMES Dinner doesn’t have to be at 6 p.m. on the dot. If Kamala has a karate tournament in the evening or Peter needs to stay late at

A REPLACEMENT FOR NURSING HOMES? A New Innovation in Senior Living

During the first season of “The Sopranos,” Tony tries to convince his mother, Livia, to move into a continued care retirement community (CCRC). Her resistance is a common response for many seniors and speaks to the reputation of nursing homes as sterile, unfriendly places — whether justified or not.

residents without staff oversight to get their honest opinions of the place. Online reviews are another good source of impartial assessment. CCRCs are usually not short-term living arrangements. It’s a big decision, and one that shouldn’t be rushed. Because they offer a wealth of different services, CCRCs often require complex contracts that are far from being one-size-fits-all. Unless you want to get stuck with surprise costs or an inflexible contract, you should have an attorney look over the details of any paperwork. Usually, all of the details of the contract — including provisions for later-life care — are established at the outset. A lawyer can help ensure you’re choosing the best care package possible. CCRCs are a great option for seniors looking to join a community of peers. The features and activities are a major draw, but don’t overlook the details of the contract. Let an impartial attorney guarantee you’re making the best decision for your loved ones.

“I’m not going to that nursing home,” Livia says.

“Green Grove is a retirement community!” Tony replies.

Tony may have been selling the appeal of Green Grove to his stubborn mother, but he was right. CCRCs are replacing traditional nursing homes, even if their perception isn’t changing as quickly. These communities offer a lot more activities and amenities than their predecessors, but they aren’t without their pitfalls. If you’re considering a CCRC for yourself or a loved one, it’s important for you to go into the process with your eyes open. Be sure to do your research when you’re exploring options. Every community is different, and some are more reputable than others. Try to speak with


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