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Caregiving: Nursing home or care at home? The emotional question



There was a time when Grandma always lived at home and maybe we like to think it was like life with The Waltons where mom and dad and their many kids all honored and cared for crusty old grandma.

Sadly, the days of The Waltons are gone, along with big families and the farm life that, in any case, offered few alternatives to care.

What most families have now is one daughter or son who keeps mom or dad at home, trying to attend to daily needs and medical care, mainly alone. It can be rewarding, isolating, and exhausting for both caregiver and patient.

According to Caring Steps and Stages, these are the issues that families face when a loved one gets dementia or suffers physical ailments that can no longer be treated independently.

These days, when a person is hospitalized for treatment under Medicare, they often go to a nursing home for rehabilitation, which can last up to 100 days, depending on the patient’s progress. During this time, family can make the decision to take the patient home or start a longer term stay in the facility.

Here are some primary triggers to consider a nursing home:
Caregiver’s health declines — The caregiver must be physically and emotionally able to make meals, maintain housekeeping, cope with emergencies, and provide companionship.

Senior’s health declines — When skilled medical care becomes a daily necessity, a nursing home becomes a prime consideration. Nursing home medical care often improves a patient’s health.

Cost of home care becomes excessive — A home aide costs at least $20 per hour ($160 per day). Staffing can become an issue if the senior requires 16- to 24-hour skilled care. A skilled care nursing home costs $220 per day but it also offers 24-hour care.

Here are some issues the patient will face:
Confusion — Seniors with dementia often do not know where they are initially. They might think they have been arrested, or are in a new home (Where’s the kitchen?). They might constantly be worried about paying for dinner (Where’s my purse? Waitress!).

Dissatisfaction — They might complain about staff, facilities, food, or routine. But they could also accept this and find the bustle of the nursing home engaging.

Loneliness — All nursing homes have activities, including church services, shopping trips, and games. Family and staff can help to engage patients. The staff social worker might help to link up those with similar cognitive abilities.

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Decking your halls: holiday decorating ideas for the enthusiast



Ready to take your Christmas decorating to the next level? Here are some pro tips that can elevate your holiday embellishments from merely so-so to full out sublime.

Choose your palette
The pro-decorator’s cardinal rule? Choose a palette and stick to it. Make sure your ornaments, ribbons, lights, stockings, gift-wrapping and more are made up of hues from your chosen palette. Here are a few color combinations to try:

• Traditional. Tried-and-true, red, green and gold make up the classic Christmas color scheme.
• Icy. A more modern option, this palette is made up of periwinkle, teal and silver.
• Jewel. A vibrant palette of green, purple, orange and red.
• Metallic. A glittering and regal palette of silver and gold.
• Monochrome. If simple and elegant is more your style, consider a color scheme made up solely of whites.

Choose your theme
Next to palette, the most important decorating decision you’ll make is in regards to theme. The idea is to take an evocative word or phrase and let your imagination go to work. Here are a few examples:

• Winter wonderland. Think white and lots of it. Include elements like snowflakes, tinsel and wintery animals such as reindeer and moose.
• Rustic farmhouse. Use logs, sticks, pinecones, greenery and other natural materials. Plaid patterns are a fitting accompaniment.
• Christmas cheer. Combine festive colors like red, green and gold with classic Christmas imagery.
• West coast Christmas. Bring the charm of the seaside indoors with shells and starfish and a color palette of soft pink, blue and beige.

Once you’ve found your starting point—whether it’s a color palette, a theme or both—you’ll find that your ideas start to flow. Happy decorating!

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‘Silent Night’: 200 years of bringing people together



This Christmas marks the 200th anniversary of “Silent Night.” First performed in a village church in Austria, “Silent Night” quickly became one of the most popular Christmas hymns in Europe and today is sung all over the world in countless different languages. In 2011, the carol was granted “intangible cultural heritage” status by UNESCO because of its prominence in world culture.

Known in German as “Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht” (“Silent Night, Holy Night”), the lyrics were composed by the Austrian priest Joseph Mohr and set to music by the church organist, Franz Xaver Gruber, for the Christmas Eve service in Arnsdorf in December 1818. Mohr and Gruber performed the carol themselves with only a guitar as accompaniment. The hymn was an instant success with the congregation and soon spread to other towns and countries.

One of the most moving examples of the carol’s place in our shared culture comes from an extraordinary event that occurred during World War I. In December 1914, Germany and the Allied forces declared a Christmas truce and ordered troops to cease all hostilities. According to contemporary accounts, on Christmas Eve one German soldier — Walter Kirchoff, once a tenor in the Berlin opera — stepped forward and began to sing “Silent Night,” first in German and then in English.

Recognizing the hymn, British soldiers joined in, and both sides began singing Christmas carols in their own languages. On Christmas Day, soldiers climbed out of the trenches to wish their enemies a merry Christmas and played games and exchanged gifts until the truce ended. For a brief time after the singing of “Silent Night” that Christmas, “heavenly peace” reigned over the battlefield.

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Consumers give high ratings to mail-order mattresses



Mail-order mattresses were introduced to the market in 2007 with the original Bed in a Box but since then, they are everywhere.

The idea started to go mainstream in 2014 with popular names like Casper and Tuft & Needle entering the market, according to Consumer Reports.

Now, nearly 200 such companies vie for a piece of the boxed-mattress market, which commands 12 percent of sales. The market is still dominated by the traditional retail players such as 1-800-Mattress and Mattress Firm.

The majority of beds shipping today come in relatively small boxes in which a memory-foam mattress has been tightly compressed and molded to fit.

Most of the bed-in-a-box companies offer generous trial periods – up to 120 days.

If you don’t like a mattress purchased at a retail store, the store comes and picks it up. But, if you don’t like a boxed bed, returning it can be hard, depending on policy. Tuft & Needle, for example, does not ask you to send it back. Instead, you donate the bed to charity. But, if you buy their bed from another online merchant such as Amazon, then you have to ship it back. This involves wrapping it in shipping plastic, using a vacuum to suck the air out of the plastic, and creating a box.

Price-wise, Tuft & Needle is one of the lowest-cost providers, offering a queen size for around $575. More upscale names like Sapira would cost $1,275 for the same size. Meanwhile, similar offerings can be found in the same price range in retail stores.

Air-based beds are also popular and can be shipped back more easily.

While there are a few specialty vendors, most providers advertise only one model that is meant to please the vast majority of sleepers regardless of their weight, build or preferences. Despite the limitation, however, many mattresses tested did indeed perform at a level of Good to Excellent during consumer testing, and the top-rated brands also scored highly among small, large, and tall sleepers.

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Winter car care: five ways to keep rust at bay



It’s no secret that road salt is terrible for our cars. It does a great job melting ice and keeping roads safe during the winter, but it’s also a major catalyst for rust. Of course, putting your car in storage until the return of warmer days is the best way to keep it safe from winter’s harsh effects, but if that isn’t an option, here are some ways you can help prevent rust from taking hold in the cold:

1. Have your car professionally rustproofed. This is especially recommended if you frequently park indoors. Drastic temperature variations, especially combined with the humid air in garages, provide rust with the perfect environment to thrive.

2. Slow down and keep your distances. It’s the best way to minimize contact with road debris (e.g. salt, sand, rocks from other cars). Your paint job will thank you!

3. Protect the body. Install mud flaps, a grille guard (clean it often to avoid an accumulation of road salt, which could scratch the paint), or clear plastic strips to protect the lower body frame.

4. Wash your car often. It’s important to clean your vehicle periodically during the winter—even though the results won’t last long!—to get rid of calcium deposits and other dirt. A dirty car is more likely to rust. Make sure to thoroughly dry everything off, and avoid washing your car when temperatures fall below -14 °F.

5. Apply surface wax. This will protect your paint job, but you’ll need to act fast: the procedure requires outdoor temperatures above 50 °F to be successful.

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How to stop trying to do it all and actually relax over the holiday



For many people, the pressure of trying to create the “perfect” Christmas can make the season seem daunting and stressful. If you want to relax and enjoy the holiday as much as your family this year, you need to resist some of the pressure. Here’s how to do it:

• Say no. Around the holidays, it can feel like all your free moments are booked. Instead of accepting every invitation you get, stay home on occasion. Use such evenings to make cookies and watch Christmas movies in your pajamas, or order take out and eat in the living room.

• Outsource. If you’re hosting dinner, instead of cooking a multi-course meal yourself, ask your guests to bring some of the dishes. Or better yet, have your entire event catered. You’ll enjoy your party that much more if you’re not in the kitchen the whole evening. Your guests will also be happy to spend more time with you.

• Think quality not quantity. To relieve the stress of needing to buy the perfect gift for everybody on your list, organize the type of exchange with your family or group of friends in which everyone only buys for one other person. Picking names from a hat tends to be the best way to arrange these types of gift exchanges.

At home with your kids and spouse, consider buying only one bigger gift the whole family can enjoy instead of a bunch of smaller presents. It’ll save you the time and effort normally involved with buying multiple presents.

This year, make a pact with yourself and your loved ones to keep Christmas simple. A lighter, more carefree holiday is the best way to ensure that everyone gets to relax and enjoy the spirit of the season.

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Let your kids plan Christmas?



If you’re hosting your family’s holiday party this year and you want your kids to be involved, why not let them plan Christmas dinner? If they feel like they’re in charge, they won’t even realize they’re helping. Here’s a suggested itinerary to help orchestrate the event from conception to execution.

One month before
Have your kids look through cookbooks and decide what to serve on the big day. Don’t worry if they choose something unconventional—it could be a hit and become your family’s favorite new holiday tradition.

Three weeks before
Put your Christmas tree up, string it with lights and let the kids go hang the ornaments. Bring out the rest of your decorations and let them decide where everything goes this year.

Two weeks before
It wouldn’t be Christmas without the smell of gingerbread in the air. Have them bake and decorate cookies to give to their teachers as gifts.

One week before
If your kids are old enough to use scissors on their own, teach them how to wrap gifts, and make it their job. Just be sure they don’t tell grandma what you got her.

Five days before
Let them create a centerpiece for your holiday table. Even if you end up with a Star Wars themed Christmas, it’ll be unique and they’ll love it.

Three days before
Write a list of everything you need to make the dishes the kids picked and head to the market as a family. Give each child one or more ingredients to look out for.

The big day
Let your kids pick the holiday music, set the table and greet your guests.

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all-day The Nutcracker in Front Royal @ Skyline High School
The Nutcracker in Front Royal @ Skyline High School
Dec 16 all-day
The Nutcracker in Front Royal @ Skyline High School
Don’t miss The Nutcracker! This professional production of the seasonal classic ballet will be presented at Skyline High School, Front Royal, VA on December 15th and 16th, Saturday 2:30 & 7:00 pm and Sunday 2:30[...]
4:00 pm R-MA offers Free Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA campus
R-MA offers Free Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA campus
Dec 16 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
R-MA offers Free Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA campus
The public is cordially invited to attend the Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA) Christmas Band Concert on Sunday, December 16th at 4:00 pm. This free concert will take place in Boggs Chapel on the R-MA campus. The[...]
10:00 am Paper Sculpture Party: Koi Fish @ Art in the Valley
Paper Sculpture Party: Koi Fish @ Art in the Valley
Dec 17 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Paper Sculpture Party: Koi Fish @ Art in the Valley
Create your own 5″ x 7″ koi fish paper sculpture with your friends! Schedule your own party for up to 8 people (3-person minimum). No drawing skills are necessary. Artist Tiffany Budzisz will walk you[...]
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Volunteer Info Session – Child A... @ Middle of Main
Dec 17 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
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Learn how you can help ensure abused and neglected children find safe, loving, and permanent homes.  The first step to becoming a CASA volunteer is to attend an Information Session. There, you will have the[...]
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2019 Dare to Dream Grant Applica... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Dec 18 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
2019 Dare to Dream Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Now Accepting Applications for 2019 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a profession, start a non-profit, anything[...]