March 2022

Page 1

VOLUME 39, #1 MARCH 2022


Ideas to Brighten Up Winter Days!


6 Signs of Healthy Co-Parenting


Potentially Dangerous


Helping Teens With Stress

INSIDE: Elder Care Guide: Caring for Our Aging Parents


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2 WNY Family March 2022

March 2022 • Volume 39 • Issue 1


Where It’s At! Seeking Spring!



GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Karen Wawszczyk Melanie Schroeder CONTRIBUTORS Barbara Blackburn • Donna Phillips Richard De Fino • Deborah Williams Kathy Lundquist • Myrna Beth Haskell Mike Daugherty




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Brighten Up Indoor Winter Days with These “KidFun” Ideas


Paleo Play: Six Super Activities by Tiffany Guerzon

10 n

Celebrate Read Across America Day and National March Into Literacy Month by Kimberly Blaker

19 n 19th Annual

ELDERCARE GUIDE A Special Pull-Out Section • • • • • •

The Sandwich Generation Expert Tips on How to Care for an Aging Parent Aging in Place: Growing Old at Home When It’s Time to Leave Home Is It Normal Aging or Early Signs of Dementia Falls Can Have Severe Health Ramifications for Older Adults • Older Adults with Functional Impairments Linked to Prescription Drug Use/Misuse • Important Documents Everyone Should Organize • Burdens, Blessings & Benevolence


46 n Summer Camps 52 n Wellness Choices

Regulars: 5 n Web Finds / What’s New In The Kid Biz 12 n Pick of the Literature by Dr. Donna Phillips 14 n Raising Digital Kids Bad APPles by Mike Daugherty 16 n Family Travel Door County, Wisconsin by Deborah Williams 40 n Journey Into Fatherhood Taking A Moment to Reflect by Richard De Fino 41 n Parent Previews by Kirsten Hawkes 42 n Tweens and Teens Stress Busters: Helping Teens Manage Stress by Tanni Haas, Ph.D. 43 n Single Parenting 6 Signs of Healthy Co-Parenting Dads’ Resource Center 44 n Special Needs What is Spina Bifida? 51 n Dear Teacher by Peggy Gisler & Marge Eberts 54 n The Kid Friendly Kitchen by Kathy Lundquist 55 n The Kiddie Gourmet Shalimar BBQ & Grill by Barbara Blackburn

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web.finds You don’t have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! Here are some craft ideas to make with the kiddos to add some fun to the month of March! SHAMROCK MAN

Kim, over at The Resourceful Mama (https://www., came up with this simple Sharmrock Man made from basic materials like white and green paper, black marker, glue, and perhaps some purchased “googly eyes.” The links on her site to free templates for shamrocks of different sizes no longer work, but you can find some on another blog ( and they come in a variety of sizes, as outlines you can color, or in green ones you can print directly.


There are a zillion variations on “slime,” and here’s one we hadn’t seen yet! Amy, over at As the Bunny Hops, says, “It just might be the perfect bait for a leprechaun trap!” In two small bowls, add 1/4 cup water to each. In one bowl, add a 1/4 cup of clear glue and a generous sprinkle of glitter and shamrock confetti. In the other bowl, add 1/4 teaspoon of borax to the water. Mix each bowl well. (Note: Children should never be allowed direct contact with undiluted borax.) Slowly mix the borax mixture into the glue mixture and watch your slime form! Complete details at:


Sam at Simple Everyday Mom, came up with this idea for St. Patrick’s Day themed friendship bracelets. Rainbow colored beads, rainbow alphabet beads, and some stretchy bead cord, teamed up with a tag that says “I’m Lucky to Have You for A Friend” make an adorable way to celebrate the day. The printable link on the site for the tag seems to have disappeared but it’s easy enough to make one by hand or design your own. You’ll find the bracelet info at:


Alex, mom of three, at Three Little Ferns, provides the inspiration for this clever suncatcher. Although she used her Cricut machine for the black clover outline, she also provides a printable template on her site. She then places the black clover outline on a sheet of clear sticky Contact paper. Small squares of tissue paper in shades of green and gold are then placed overlapping each other on the sticky paper. Once covered completely, place another sheet of sticky clear Contact paper over it and press firmly to “sandwich it” inbetween. Trim the excess contact paper around the black border and you’re ready to hang it! Check it out at:

What’s New... IN THE KIDBIZ $70 MILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDS TO ADDRESS CHILD CARE DESERTS The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) has announced that $70 million in grant funding is available to new licensed, registered or permitted child care programs in areas of the state with the least supply, known as child care deserts. The funds, which are part of a $100 million child care initiative approved in the 2021 Enacted Budget, are being made available through the American Rescue Plan Act and will be administered by OCFS. Providers interested in opening a new child care program should watch the orientation video and request an application so that they may apply when the application portal opens in April. “This funding is a vital step in making child care more available for the residents of New York State. We are thrilled to partner with New York State OCFS and sister CCR&R’s across our region to increase the supply of available child care.” Says Child Care Resource Network C.E.O Kimberly Suminski. The grants will support new child care providers in creating their child care program and in recruiting, retaining and training staff to meet workforce demands. Grant recipients can also use the funding to support start-up expenses, personnel costs, general child care business expenses and staff expenses in accessing COVID-19 vaccines. Additional details on eligibility and requirements of the grant can be found at funding/#RFA1. Applicants needing assistance with starting child care programs can contact their county’s OCFS Regional Office ( childcare/regional-offices.php) or their local child care resource and referral (CCR&R), which can help with the licensing process. Child Care Resource Network operating out of Erie County will serve as the regional hub for all child care desert work, as will Community Child Care Clearinghouse of Niagara serving Niagara county. Regional questions can be directed to: Kaley Donaldson, Marketing & Fund Development Coordinator, Child Care Resource Network, 716-877-6666 ext. 3071, March 2022 WNY Family 5

groups like wild animals, farm animals, and pets.

Car Race

If your kids love toy cars, organize races against the clock. Set up a long track with tape or string on the floor. Make sure there is a start and a finish line. Using a kitchen timer or a stopwatch, let your children organize car races along the track and see who gets the best time. If the cars are in danger of veering into a wall or furniture, use pillows for protection.

Kitchen Pool

You can play pool — right on the kitchen table. And don’t be surprised if older siblings, parents and grandparents get in on the act!

Brighten Up Indoor Winter Days with These “KIDFUN” Ideas


e still face many winter weeks indoors with the kids. KIDFUN: 401 Easy Ideas for Play, a book by Sharla Feldscher, can come to the rescue… with tips to occupy your kids’ time creatively and filled with fun, excluding electronics. After all, the kids have enough use of computers and electronics for virtual education. As Dr. Jill Clark, CEO of Philadelphia Charter School for Arts & Sciences, said, “Play is so important to children. Kids need to play as they learn… it’s the fun they remember!” Below are fun-filled suggestions for play at home, when kids are stuck indoors. Sharla Feldscher, author, play expert and TV personality, offers these ideas from her newest book. Using stuff already in the home, they run the gamut from indoor physical play, to snowy and rainy-day fun to more quiet activities that will fill their minds with imaginative escape.

Indoor Volleyball Or Badminton

Need a little indoor exercise? Balloons are the answer. They are small, light, practically damage-proof, and perfect as the ball in a game of volleyball or as the birdie in badminton. Here’s how you can do it — tie a string or rope 6 WNY Family March 2022

to the top of two chairs. Pull the chairs apart wide enough to designate the playing area with the string as the net. Then, if playing badminton, give each player a paper plate. The balloon is the birdie or the ball (if playing volleyball.) It’s fun… active… and damage-proof!

Balloon Bonus

Keep a bag of balloons handy. They are good for all sorts of diversions: a game of catch, rolling races along a path on the floor. They can cheer up a sick room or make a dining table feel festive!

Animal Charades

Here’s an activity, ideal for all animal lovers! Ask your child to think of an animal and imitate its actions. He can’t tell you what it is. You have to guess. Her job is to help you guess as quickly as possible. Once you guess, you take a turn. After each of you has guessed successfully, you might want to make a list of all the animals you imitated and look for their images online. They can be printed out and pasted into an “animal book,” perhaps in

First, set up the pool table, meaning the kitchen table, with pockets on the edge by hanging them off the sides and on the corners. It’s easy. The pockets are small paper cups that are taped along the edge of the table. Tape each cup so that it is flush with the edge of the table or just a smidge lower. Next, make the cue stick with a plastic drinking straw and a strand of raw spaghetti. Place the spaghetti inside the straw and slide it back and forth. You’ll see it has action to it. Make the ball with something from the kitchen that is small and round like Cheerios, sunflower seeds in the shell or M & M’s. Now have your child practice a bit pushing the “ball” along the table with the “cue stick” so that it lands in the “pocket.” Children can do this alone or you can challenge each other. Devise a scoring system based on the number of times the “ball” lands in the “pocket.” It’s fun — try it yourself!

Artful Storage

Find empty boxes that would be good sizes to store books, toy cars, scarves, dolls, etc. Have the kids select the box that would be best for a specific toy or play object. They then decide how to decorate the box. They can use paints

or crayons but the box could be decorated with a picture that describes the object inside. Kids can draw the picture or download and print one from the Internet. Let the box dry and then find the best place in the room (or elsewhere) to store these boxes. Kids will take great pride in these creations!

Our Favorite Things

For some good cheer on a dreary day that’s fun for kids and adults, make a still life of your favorite things. First, gather these things in one place, on a table. Then look online for images of Still Life paintings. Talk about how a vase is placed in one spot, a glass in another, etc. Now, you and your child design your still life, any style you like. Then photograph them. What a great photo memory of your favorite things you’ll have. Let your child take pictures, too, shooting from different angles to see what he likes best. You could even print out these pictures and make a book of My Favorite Things! (Remember to date it and sign it.)

Cooking In The Snow

Added to typical fun in the snow, is “cooking in the snow” — give the kids varying sizes of plastic bowls, a large spoon, a spatula, and a measuring cup. That’s all they need for their imagination to fly as they prepare imaginary meals outdoors. Once they tire of that — give them food color and clear plastic drinking cups to make colorful collections of various colors of snow. They can mix the colors, too. My kids once took droplets of food color and painted with the snow as their canvas. They can even make droplets of dots leading to a path!

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Sleigh Ride

A neighbor once told me that he blew up the kids’ plastic wading pool and it made a great sleigh for the snow. He was willing to pull the kids along to shouts of delight from them. Another neighbor, who didn’t have a wading pool, broke up a cardboard carton to make it flat. It slid fabulously along the snow as he pulled them on that.

Connect The Raindrops

If it isn’t raining too hard, open the window and let your child hold a piece of construction paper or gray cardboard out the window. Tell her she must pull it back in by the time you count to five. When she pulls it back in, you’ll see dark spots from the water. Let your child connect the dots quickly in any sequence she wishes. After they dry, she can experiment with filling in sections of her rain design. About Sharla Feldscher: Sharla Feldscher has always been a “kid believer.” She has written about children and families for magazines, newspapers and is the author of eight books including two KIDFUN Activity Books published by HarperCollins. She’s been called “A teacher’s teacher” and “The best friend a kid could have.” Sharla is a frequent guest on television and currently has an on-going KIDFUN feature on PHL 17 TV in Philadelphia. She has written series of features for many media outlets including the Philadelphia Daily News (for eight years), KYW Newsradio, The Phillies, New York Family Magazine, LA Family Magazine, South Jersey Magazine and more. KIDFUN: 401 Easy Ideas for Play is $9.95 in paperback and $5.99 for eBook. It is available and wherever books are sold. Learn more about KIDFUN by visiting

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Paleo Play

— by Tiffany Guerzon

Six Super Activities Here you’ll find perfect activities to complement the new “Antarctic Dinosaurs” currently on exhibit at the Buffalo Museum of Science. Try some or all of them for some dino-mite winter fun!


eep kids engaged and learning with these dinosaur crafts and activities. Make your own fossils from clay, create an erupting volcano, excavate dinos like a real paleontologist, and even hatch a dino egg in a cool science experiment!

DIY Dinosaur Fossils

Supplies: Air dry clay Brown or black ink pad Small plastic dinosaurs or plastic dinosaur skeletons Optional: makeup sponge Instructions: Roll a ball of clay slightly larger than the dinosaur. Flatten the clay with your hand to about a half-inch thickness. Leave the edges and surface uneven; this adds to the look of old rock. Next,

press the dino into the clay to make an impression. Remove the dino and allow the clay to dry. When the clay is dry, use your fingers or a makeup sponge to rub ink lightly over the surface (not inside the imprint) of the “fossil.” This makes the imprint stand out, as well as giving it an aged look. Try this technique with other toys as well. You can make footprint fossils with a larger dino toy, or make fossils from other animals, shells, and plants.

Hatching Dinosaur Eggs

Ingredients (per egg): ½ cup baking soda 2 Tbsp food grade powdered citric acid ( found in grocery stores near the canning supplies) 1-2 teaspoon oil Small plastic toy dinos

Liquid food coloring Large bowl to “hatch” eggs in Small bowl to mix eggs in Make the dough: 1) Put baking soda in a bowl and add food color if using. Mix and knead the color in with your fingers until the color is distributed. This will color your fingers, but it washes off. 2) Add citric acid and mix in with spoon. 3) Add 1 teaspoon oil and work it into the dough with your fingers. At this point the dough will be dry and crumbly, similar in texture to the product “Moon Sand.” You will know when it is ready when you can squeeze the dough in your hand and it holds together. Add more oil, one teaspoon at a time until it holds together and can be molded into a ball. Put the dinos in the eggs: Scoop half of the dough in the palm of one hand and then press a dino into it. Cover dino with the rest of the dough and squeeze the dough in both hands until it sticks together. Notice that the dough is cold to the touch. The baking soda and citric acid react in an endothermic reaction, absorbing heat from the surrounding environment. Now you can hatch your egg immediately! To hatch: Fill a large bowl with water. Drop in egg and watch the fizzing begin! All of the dough will dissolve, leaving the dino.

8 WNY Family March 2022

DIY Dino Excavation Supplies needed: Toy dino skeletons or dinos Cornstarch, at least 1 cup Water, about 2 cups Container large enough to “bury” the dino in Instructions: Choose a container that is just big enough to contain the dino, with enough space around it bury the dino in; a small bowl or a 3-cup storage container works well. Add cornstarch to your container and pour the cool water over the starch slowly, mixing constantly with a fork. You’ll want the mixture to be about the consistency of pudding. If it gets really thick and too hard to mix, add more water. Add more starch if it is too thin. You may need to add more solution depending on the size of your container. Use two parts water to one part cornstarch. Once you have enough solution, put the dino in and push down so that it is no longer visible. Allow to dry for 1-2 days. When the surface starts to crack, unmold your cornstarch solid onto a plate or baking dish to catch all of the debris when the dino is chipped out! You may need additional dry time if the surface feels damp to the touch. When it is dry, allow kids to be archeologists and dig out the dino. Use butter knives or spoons to chip away at the surface. Offer dry paint brushes to brush off the bones while excavating!

Ice Excavation

Supplies needed: A shallow baking dish such as a 9x13 inch baking pan Several small plastic dinosaur toys Instructions: Arrange a few plastic dinosaurs on the bottom of the pan, and then fill the pan two-thirds full with water. Place pan in the freezer and freeze until you have a solid block of ice. To excavate, remove the ice block from the pan and put it outside or in the bathtub (lay a bath towel down first to protect the tub). Let the kids chip out continued on page 39 March 2022 WNY Family 9

e t a r b e l e C

Read Across America Day & National March Into Literacy Month — by Kimberly Blaker


hat better day to celebrate Read Across America Day than on March 2nd, the birthday of the beloved Dr. Seuss? It’s the perfect kickoff to March’s National March into Literacy Month, both of which are dedicated to the promotion of reading and literacy. Read Across America Day was first introduced by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1998. The NEA’s goal for the celebration is to motivate kids to become lifelong readers, thereby improving student performance. Every year, schools, public libraries, and other organizations celebrate this day by holding reading events for kids.

Ways Parents Can Promote Reading

There are many ways parents can promote a love of reading and encourage their kids to read not only during this celebration but year-round. Read to kids. Begin reading to your child very early. The NEA suggests infancy is a good time to start. As your child grows, encourage your child’s participation in reading the story with or to you. Although your child may not be ready to read, kids often have some of their favorite books or pages memorized. By making your child an active participant, it will help develop their love for reading. Visit the library. Think of the library as a big free educational toy store. Help your child choose some books but also encourage your child to look through 10 WNY Family March 2022

shelves and select some on their own. Your child can also sign out audiobooks, video games, videos, and music CDs to take home. Help your child build a collection. One thing common among reading lovers is how much they enjoy having their own book collection. Help your child build a personal library of your child’s favorite series, author, or genre. Then give your child a special shelf to store and display the collection. Play word games. Look for board, computer, or phone games that help kids develop their reading and spelling skills and vocabulary. Sign up for Goodreads. Through this Android and iOS app, kids can track both the books they’ve read and those they want to read. They can also check out what their friends are reading.

Subscribe your child to a magazine. There’s a host of kids’ magazines on the market and something for every age group. It will give your child something to look forward to each month and build enthusiasm for reading. Read in front of your kids. Show kids that reading isn’t just a school requirement, but rather a lifelong activity. Let them see you reading both to learn and for pleasure. Form a kids book club. If your child is interested in it, this is a great way to build excitement for reading. You’ll want to find kids who are all about the same reading level. You’ll need to decide where to hold the weekly or monthly meetings, which could be at your house, or perhaps your school or public library will provide you space. You might be able to advertise it through your child’s school or public library as well. The Read Across America website provides a “how to” video on their website to help you get started ( The site also has a calendar which features a recommended book each month ( If you’re looking for a book suitable for a certain theme, reading level or genre, there is also a search feature on the site. Set up a reading room or corner. Find a quiet distraction-free area in your home to designate as the reading area. It should have comfy seating, perhaps even a bean bag or two, pillows, blankets, and good lighting.

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arch is the month of Green! It is not just because Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated. Believe it or not, the green in nature around us is starting to wake up! Look around and you will see buds on trees and plants begin to swell. Underneath the snow, deep in the earth, seeds are beginning to wake up and deep roots are reaching for water and nutrients. Before we know it, we will see these efforts burst forth in the Spring to come. Let’s take a look at some books that can help us celebrate the energy of Saint Patrick’s Day or just become more aware of the subtle change around us. Leave it to Thing One and Thing Two to help our young ones celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day in Dr. Seuss’s Thing One and Thing Two and the Leprechaun (Random House, New York 2022, $8.99) by Tom Brannon. If you think the Things are mischievous, this Leprechaun has them on a merry chase! Follow his footsteps and his shadow as they try to track him down. On the way, they experience the sights and sounds of a St. Patrick’s Day parade, find a 4-leaf

12 WNY Family March 2022

clover, discover a rainbow, and eventually find a pot of gold (covered chocolates). This is a delightful book to introduce young children to one of the first signs of spring and the celebration of the “Wearing of Green.” So, just what is a Leprechaun? We find out what to look for in I’m a Leprechaun (A Golden Book, New York, 2021, $4.99) written by Mallory C. Loehr and illustrated by Brian Biggs. According to the author, a Leprechaun wears “a green suit, has red hair, pointy ears, and a beard.” They live in Ireland, and are the larger cousins of pixies, elves, and fairies. They are excellent shoemakers and prefer to be alone. Of course, they hide their gold in pots at the end of the rainbow and if you can catch one, they will grant you 3 wishes or maybe even share some of their gold! The delightful cartoon illustrations by Biggs make this an inviting book to share with the family. Now that you know what to look for, this book might even encourage a walk in the woods on St. Patrick’s Day to see if you can catch a glimpse of one of the magical

tricksters. Don’t forget to wear green to blend in so you can sneak up on them! The 12 Days of St. Patrick’s Day (Random House, New York, 2021, $5.99), written by Jenna Lettice and illustrated by Colleen Madden, is a fun way to usher in the special day. Based on the song “The 12 Days of Christmas,” this book encourages you to sing along as you collect items and activities of the celebration. Thirty stickers are provided and you can use them to decorate the pages, make your own pictures, or post wherever you want! You can use this book one day at a time to count down the days and maybe even make or do the activity of the day. Find a shamrock, make shepherd’s pies, look for Leprechaun footprints, shiny objects, or Irish dancers. There are 12 things in all that you can do that will get you and your family ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, even if you aren’t Irish! What can be more green than trees and what is more exciting than seeing them awake from their winter slumber? They are starting to stir and the sap is starting to flow. Maple trees are starting to share the treasures they stored over the winter so we can enjoy maple syrup. This is the perfect time to celebrate trees! They offer us food, shelter, comfort, beauty, and even the oxygen we breathe! Trees are much more than just wood, water, sap, and shade. They can actually communicate with each other and have secret lives of their own. In The Book of Amazing Trees (Princeton Architectural Press, New York 2021, $19.95) by Isabelle Simler and Julien Norwood, learn about the parts of a tree, learn how

they grow and thrive, how trees are born, and how trees live and die. Explore their super powers, and learn interesting secret facts about them. The detailed illustrations and the simple text which labels them is inviting and informative. This is the perfect book to explore before, during, and after that walk in the woods. Green is a symbol of optimism, stirring, and the potential that heralds the growth and the vibrancy of the coming months. Be joyous and fun loving like the Irish on their special day. Be like the trees… be patient, be optimistic, be solid and steadfast, and be hopeful. Turn toward the sun. Reach for the sky. Be grand and grateful, and content to grow and thrive where you are planted. Dr. Donna Phillips is an associate professor in the College of Education at Niagara University where her specialty is literacy and children’s literature. She lives on Grand Island, NY and is the mother of two adult children and the grandmother of one.

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pps are arguably the reason many people have a smartphone in the first place. Apps let us all do things like ordering your coffee in advance, checking in for a haircut, passing the time while waiting in line, or mapping your way to a soccer game. It is hard to imagine a world without all of these nifty creations.

RAISING DIGITAL KIDS — by Mike Daugherty

Not all apps are created equal though. There are apps in the App Store (iPhone) and Google Play Store (Android) that are not as helpful. These apps were not necessarily developed for nefarious reasons per se, but they can be used in ways that can help or even encourage children to make poor choices. Often, kids are not even aware of the information they are sharing with the world when using these apps. I’ve pulled together a list of potentially dangerous apps that are popular with teens and young adults.

Hidden Vault / Calculator + / KeepSafe

Apps like this are utilities designed to hide photos and videos from prying eyes. Once installed, KeepSafe allows you to set up a pin code to access hidden photos and videos. The icon for the app looks like a few music notes which helps to disguise it from its true purpose. Calculator + works in a similar fashion. The difference is that when you open Calculator +, you’ll get a working calculator on the screen. Users have to enter a secret passcode on the calculator to access the hidden content. Why is this a concern? Apps like this, known as “vault apps.” allow children to hide inappropriate content from the adults in their lives. For example, if they have received an explicit image or even taken one of themselves (40% have), these apps would hide those photos from the gallery of pictures on the phone.

Badoo / Bumble / Yubo / Hot or Not

Badoo and Bumble are popular dating apps, similar to Tinder. This set of apps is designed to help users set up a romantic encounter with other users who are within a certain GPS radius of each other. People upload a few photos of themselves along with a catchy description of their personality. If a user “flags” (swipes left, stars, etc.) another person 14 WNY Family March 2022

messages self-destruct after a set amount of time (1-10 seconds) determined by the sender. Snapchat initially became popular due to the short amount of time a snap could be viewed. Users liked the idea that they could send an image that would not reside online forever. It would disappear after a few seconds. Snapchat quickly became the defacto app for sexting and inappropriate photos. It wasn’t long before users discovered that those images could be saved by the viewer and they were not immediately removed from the Snapchat servers. Though the app had a rocky start, it has since morphed into a “must have” among teens and young adults. Why is this a concern? Snapchat is a favorite mode of communication for many people. The vast majority of those snaps are harmless. While it can have a darker side, many snaps simply depict various portions of a user’s daily life. Parents should be aware of what Snapchat is and how it works. SnapHack presents the larger threat. This app allows the user to save an image from Snapchat to their phone without informing the person who sent it. Once kept, it can be forwarded to other kids who can use the photo to bully, harass, or embarrass the original sender.

Bad APPles and that person does the same in return, then the app allows the two people to communicate via text and pictures. While Badoo and Bumble are trendy with the college crowd, Yubo is often referred to as “Tinder for Teens” due to its popularity with teenagers and young adults. Yubo users create a virtual room with up to four people live-streaming their camera. Yubo allows an unlimited number of people to watch these unmoderated live rooms. Why is this a concern? Other than the obvious concern of teens communicating and potentially hooking up with random strangers, these app use GPS location to connect users. Adults/predators can use a fake profile and message to trick teens into meeting face to face. Teenagers and young adults should steer clear of this group.

Snapchat / SnapHack Snapchat has been one of the most popular apps among young adults for several years now. Snapchat is used to send pictures or even small movies (snaps) with a short message overlaid across to other Snapchat users. Users can also apply image filters, lenses, and bitmojis to add some special effects to the snaps. The / YikYak

These two apps have no real purpose other than to cause trouble. There have been several iterations of since it was created in 2010. Users can choose to create a profile or they can use the site anonymously. The idea behind the site is that users could post questions and others would respond with honest feedback and comments. Cyberbullying immediately became a massive problem on the site. People post whatever mean/hurtful comments they choose under full anonymity. YikYak is similar. YikYak creates an anonymous chat room for anyone within a five-mile radius. The original version of the app was widely known for sexual harassment, threats, racism, and cyberbullying. It was shut down in 2017 due to these concerns. The newest version of the app (released in late 2021) claims to address these issues, but complaints show that the guardrails put in place are not effective. YikYak support can trace

comments back to specific users, however, law enforcement may need to be involved before action can be taken. Why is this a concern? Sites and apps like this are a hotbed for racist comments, vulgar posts, bullying, and threats. YikYak has been used to make threats on K-12 schools several times since November of 2021. Imagine Facebook where anyone could say whatever they wanted with total anonymity. Cyberbullying on was linked to teens committing suicide on more than one occasion. Teens may be drawn to sites like this because of the “drama” they can create. These apps are bad news, plain and simple.

Kik / Jott / Live.Me Kik Messenger is a massively popular messaging app among teenagers, with over 15.2 million active monthly users. Kik allows users to send messages via WiFi and it’s not necessarily tied to a phone number. In plain English, it is mostly private text messaging that doesn’t require a phone number or a data plan. Just WiFi and access to the app are all anyone needs to begin communicating with other users. Jott combines the messaging power of Kik with the “vanishing photos/videos” features of SnapChat. It uses Bluetooth to connect to other users which allows it to get around many of the filtering systems put in place by parents or schools to prevent this type of behavior. is a streaming platform that allows viewers to use real money to purchase “coins” to tip streamers or pay for videos. Why is this a concern? Kik is considered one of the most significant concerns by law enforcement agencies due to its popularity, ease of use, and privacy. A snippet from an article on The Verge stated “Reporters from the two publications posed as 13 and 14-year-old girls on the app, and within an hour of joining several public groups, the two profiles received numerous private messages from male users, including some with explicit language and images.” Jott’s ability to bypass security is highly concerning. The silver lining to this black cloud is that its connection has a limited range of 100ft. Teens must be within that small radius to use this sneaky app. uses geolocation features, meaning it can be very easy for a predator to find out where a user is streaming from. The app is rated for 17+ and does not belong on a teenage or young adult’s smartphone.

In Conclusion It is a daunting task to stay apprised of the latest app or online craze that is sweeping young America. An ongoing conversation about appropriate phone and internet use is essential. I urge you to consider checking your child’s phone often, setting technology boundaries, and monitoring their online behavior. Ongoing and consistent communication will help your child to develop those behaviors that will ultimately lead them to independence in making safe and responsible choices online and on their smartphones. Mike Daugherty is a husband, father of three young children, author, speaker, Google Innovator, and possible Starbucks addict. He is a certified educational technology leader who has served in a variety of roles through his twenty-year career in public education. Currently, Mike is the Director of Technology for the Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School district in Northeast Ohio. As an IT director he has developed creative, well thought out solutions that positively impact teaching and learning.

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FAMILY TRAVEL — by Deborah Williams

r o o D County, Wisconsin


oats on the roof, squeaky cheese curds, lighthouses galore, beaches everywhere, quaint villages, fish boils, even cherry pit spitting competitions — all that and more makes Door County, Wisconsin a vacation mecca. It has been called the Cape Cod of the Midwest. Located about 50 miles northeast of Green Bay, this 70-mile-long peninsula has long been one of the Midwest’s most popular vacation spots. It has been attracting repeat visitors for generations including many Green Bay Packers football players who have summer homes on the peninsula. Green Bay is on the

16 WNY Family March 2022

Then there is Father Louis Hennepin who first discovered the Falls in 1678 and the Door County area the next year. “At the tip of our peninsula is Porte des Mort or Death’s Door so named because of the area’s nearly 300 shipwrecks and from that we became Door County,” explained Sam Perlman, museum deputy director. “We are deeply connected to the water and our 11 lighthouses were erected to warn the mariners and help stop the shipwrecks.” Sturgeon Bay produced hundreds of ships during World War II and an exhibit details the history of the ships and the bravery, sacrifice, and tragedy aboard the war time ships.

The Cape Cod of the Midwest

western side of the peninsula and Lake Michigan on the eastern side. As a lifelong water lover, how could I not fall in love with a destination that boasts 300 miles of picturesque shoreline? The Door County Maritime Museum on Sturgeon Bay offers a good introduction to the area’s rich maritime roots. There is even a connection to Niagara Falls: the Niagara Escarpment. It runs predominantly east-west from New York through Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois. Of course, it is most famous as the cliff over which the Niagara River plunges at Niagara Falls and in Wisconsin it runs through Door County.

Everyone is invited to put their hands on the large wooden wheel of a 1907 steamship and sound Elba’s horn in the ship’s actual wheelhouse. Captain her as she delivers lumber, stone, and other bulk cargos to ports through the Great Lakes. The John Purves is an immaculately restored 1919 Great Lakes tugboat. Guided tours are offered from MayOctober. Explore the entire 149-foot tug, from her engine room to crew cabins, galley and wheelhouse and get a feel for her 13-man crew. A highlight of our visit is the new Jim Kress Maritime Lighthouse Tower overlooking Sturgeon Bay’s working waterfront. The county’s tallest building invites visitors to immerse themselves in the area’s rich maritime history. During World War II, the nearby shipyards were building a new ship every four days. Be

sure to view the movie of the area’s maritime history on the first floor. A highlight of every visit is the rooftop observation deck offering a panoramic perspective of Sturgeon Bay. Up here it is possible to see both Green Bay and Lake Michigan. Exhibits on the other floors of the 10-story tower will officially open on May 22 — National Maritime Day. The Maritime Museum also operates Death’s Door Maritime Museum in the small fishing village of Gills Rock on the shores of Porte des Mortes. It traces the area’s commercial fishing tradition and visitors can explore the 1930 wooden fishing tug Hope. There is also a shipwreck and scuba diving exhibit. Some of the shipwrecks that went down in the treacherous strait area are highlighted. Also under the Maritime Museum’s purview is the county’s most iconic lighthouse: the 153-year-old Cana Island Lighthouse. The fun starts even before arriving. Ride the hay wagon over the causeway to explore the island, including the 89-foot-tall tower, the original home of the lighthouse keeper and his family, and the oil house where fuel for the light was stored. The highlight of any Cana Island visit is climbing the 97 steps of the tower’s spiral staircase to reach the gallery deck. The outside deck offers a sweeping view of Lake Michigan and the Door County peninsula.

on grass and enjoying the view. They also pose nicely for the multitude of photographers who snap their pictures each day. Oscar was the first goat on the roof in 1979. He was put there as a gag and the rest is history. All of today’s goat are females.

popular dish with a choice of lingonberries, strawberries, or maple syrup and a generous serving of whipped cream. Chocolate lovers of all ages delight in the hot chocolate with more whipped cream. Fish Boils are another Door County must do experience. They are very much part of local culture and trace their origins to Scandinavian settlers in the late 1800s who needed an economical way to feed large groups of workers. continued on page 18

Al Johnson’s parents were Swedish and settled in Chicago and as a child he first spent summers in Sweden and then in Door County, followed by World War II service as a paratrooper. He opened the restaurant in 1949 and it has since grown into a sprawling complex that includes a beer garden. One of the buildings was built in Norway and reassembled here. Along the way, he married his Swedish wife Ingert. Since his death in 2010, his widow and their three children operate the very popular restaurant. Breakfast is served all day and of course Swedish Pancakes are the most

No visit to Door County would be complete without a stop at Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant, “the most famous restaurant in Wisconsin.” Why is it so famous? It is the restaurant with the goats on the grass sod roof. On nice days (no rain, not too windy and under 85 degrees) from May to October they are transported here from a nearby farm. They climb up a three-level ramp and spend their days munching March 2022 WNY Family 17

FAMILY TRAVEL continued... It wasn’t until about 1961 that the fish boil that is used today became a popular tourist attraction. The historic 1896 White Gull Inn in Fish Creek was one of the first restaurants to offer the traditional experience and it is here that we enjoyed the fish boil extravaganza. Sitting outside, we watched the boil master at work — everything goes into a large metal kettle. The first step is to add salt to the water and bring it to a boil. Next come the potatoes. The star of the show, Lake Michigan whitefish, is added last. Once the fish are just about ready, the boil master will signal that the boil over is about to start, which is the fiery spectacle that occurs when kerosene is thrown onto the fire. The whitefish, potatoes, and onions are served with melted butter, lemon wedges, coleslaw or salad, bread, and a slice of freshbaked Door County cherry pie. Simple but delicious. No one can visit Wisconsin without sampling their famous cheese. Renard’s Cheese has been a Door County staple for three generations and now is enjoyed by cheese lovers around the world. Stop in for free cheese tastings. Sample the fresh cheese curds. Bite down and listen for the squeak. The cheese shop’s bistro called Melt in Sturgeon Bay is a good choice for lunch. It is a full-service deli with indoor and outdoor seating as well as a cheese store. The Algoma location has a full store and the factory where three million pounds of cheese are produced each year. Cherries have long been integral to local economic and cultural landscapes. For summer visitors there are a number of pick your own cherry orchards. Lautenbach’s Orchard Country Winery and Market is on 100 acres of orchards and vineyards. Tour the winery, enjoy live music, pick your own cherries and during the Summer Harvest Fest in July join in for the cherry pie eating contest. Or just try your luck at the cherry pit spitting contest. Door County is a mecca for beach lovers. There are 53 public beaches from the sandy spots along Lake Michigan and Green Bay to the rare Schoolhouse Beach, one of just five limestone beaches in the world. Travel Tip of the Month: For more information visit or call 920-743-4456 or call 800-527-3520. There is a wide array of accommodations ranging from camping, cabins, motels, and hotels. The county is quite dog friendly and there are a number of dog friendly accommodations. We enjoyed our stay at the county’s newest hotel, the Dorr Hotel in Sister Bay. The design celebrates the area’s Scandinavian heritage. Deborah Williams lives in Holland, NY and is a veteran travel writer whose work has appeared in national and international publications. She is the recipient of the Society of American Travel Writers’ Lowell Thomas Gold Travel Writing Award. 18 WNY Family March 2022



Caring for Our Aging Parents


GUIDE In Print & Online at March 2022 WNY Family 19


So, what does this have to do with eldercare, you ask? The resulting trend in delayed marriage and childbirth has given rise to new generations of adults who will be caught in the squeeze between the needs of their growing children and their increasingly frail parents. And those parents are now living longer — the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population is people over 85 years of age. That means elderly parents will need assistance over a longer period of time than ever before. There are actually new designations for different categories of the elderly. The dramatic increase in the number of people reaching age 65, coupled with their increased life expectancy, has expanded the classification into the following groups: • The “Young Old” Ages 65-74

— by Michele Miller

Squeezed Between Caring For Your Children & Your Aging Parents


or as long as there have been families, people have always had to find ways to take care of their aging relatives. In generations past, it was common for extended families to live in the same town, perhaps just a few blocks from one another. Everyone was able to help out when parents or grandparents needed care.

the responsibilities involved in caring for their aging parents.

Things are different today. In our highly mobile society, it is less common for children to remain in the town where they grew up. Rather than a large extended family living in close proximity, we often find family members scattered across the country, making a network of family support much more difficult.

Not included in these statistics are those who have a child but don’t actually marry. The average age for marriage in the U.S. in 2020 was 31 for females, while males married at age 33.

Add to this factor the trend for today’s couples to wait longer to have children and you can begin to see why the term “Sandwich Generation” was coined in reference to people who are still caring for their children while also bearing 20 WNY Family March 2022

In 1972, the average age of a woman in the United States having her first baby was 22 years. Today, the average age of first-time mothers is 26, and the average for first-time fathers is 31. These stats vary from state to state; rural areas versus cities.

And, since 2000, 46 states and Washington, DC have experienced a rise in first-birth rates for women over age 35. According to the Pew Research Center, motherhood for college-educated women doesn’t start until women reach some level of career success in their thirties, with fully one-fifth not becoming mothers until they were at least 35 years old.

• The “Old” Ages 74-84 • The “Oldest Old” Ages 85+ WNY Family’s very first annual Elder Care Guide appeared 19 years ago as a result of what I was experiencing as a result of my own parents’ needs, and they lived 500 miles away. My father’s health declined over a period of 7 years and my mother, 8 years younger than my father, was his primary caregiver. My brother, who is my only sibling, lived downstairs from my parents, and helped tremendously with doctors’ appointments, picking up prescriptions, carrying in groceries, and managing all the household chores and repairs that used to be done by my father. My mother had promised my father that she would never put him in a nursing home — something professional advisers say never to do — and she managed to fulfill her promise, but at the expense of her own health. After my father’s death at age 88 in 2007, after 4 years of quite ill health, my mom only had two reasonably good years before her own health began to seriously deteriorate. She passed away under Hospice Care in 2013 at age 86. Between the two of them, thirteen years of caregiving were involved.

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Living a day’s drive away, during those years I always had a bag packed and ready to go on a moment’s notice for situations when one or the other of them needed care after hospitalization. I was in charge of deciphering and filling out any necessary medical paperwork and communicating with doctors, home care aides, visiting nurses, etc. On visits home, I de-cluttered and re-organized kitchen cupboards and bedroom closets so my mother, who was bent over from spinal stenosis pain, could reach things more easily. After a fall, I bought my father a rollator to help him walk — and it sat in a corner of the living room for 6 months until he finally gave in and used it. I learned that it is very difficult for someone to give up their sense of control over their own life and lose any portion of their independence. But, there comes a point where common sense and a need to make sure your loved one is safe take precedence. At one point, when I felt my father

was suffering needlessly and should be entitled to more services than he was getting, I consulted a professional geriatric care manager. After interviewing me about the specifics of my parents’ situation, the care manager was able to tell me that my father should be entitled to a number of things, paid for by Medicare — a hospital bed at home, a wheelchair, a walker, visiting nurses to come in each day to monitor his condition, the services of an aide weekday mornings to help him get out of bed and ready for the day, visits by a phlebotomist to draw blood at home rather than having to go out to a lab, and in-home services by physical and occupational therapists. Why hadn’t he been getting these services already? The key, I learned through the education I received from the care manager, was switching to a

new, better-informed primary physician. All of the above was accomplished in a very short period of time with the aid of the new physician and his larger, helpful support staff versus my parents’ longtime, older sole practitioner. After my father passed away and my mother’s health began to decline, we had a second “go round” with eldercare issues. My father had been a “good pacontinued on page 36

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attorney (HCPOA), a living will, and financial power of attorney. “It is a gift to yourself and to those you love to make your wishes known and designate someone to carry them out for you,” says Dr. Byck. Her website has links to end-of-life planning information (https://www.intunehealthadvocates. com/resources.html). Another reason to create these documents is to save money if care becomes necessary.

— by Cheryl Maguire

Expert Tips On How To Care For An Aging Parent


ourtney, age 34 was awoken by a loud thud on Christmas morning. She sprinted to the source of the sound only to find her mother, age 55, lying on the living room floor next to the couch. She began to panic when she saw the pool of blood beneath her. Courtney’s mother had an 8-inch laceration in her shin from hitting it on the wheel of her walker due to swelling from lymphedema. Since she’s diabetic, wound care was critical. Courtney had to manage it daily. She also was anxious about the possibility of her falling again especially since she has Spinal Stenosis and requires care. These are some of the challenges she experiences being a caregiver to her mother. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 40 million people in the United States that provide unpaid eldercare. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that most adult caregivers provide help with errands, housework, or home repairs and over half also offer emotional support. Caring for an adult parent can be challenging but others have also found this job to be rewarding. Experts and adult caregivers offer the following advice to people who are struggling with their role caring for their adult parents. 22 WNY Family March 2022

Start Discussions About Care Early No one wants to think about needing care when they are older, but the best time to discuss this issue is when you don’t need it. “It is important to develop a future care plan with family and/or friends so that you can express your future wishes in care,” says Dr. Lisa Hollis-Sawyer, Gerontology Program Coordinator and professor at Northeastern Illinois University. You can also prevent conflict among family members by creating a care plan that everyone agrees with before the stress of needing one is added to the situation. “By having difficult conversations with your parents before there is a crisis you can avoid most issues that cause problems,” says Dr. Gayle Byck, a Certified Senior Advisor, Board Certified Patient Advocate, and founder of InTune Health Advocates, which helps clients navigate the health care system in Chicago and beyond.

Create Advance Directives Once you start discussing care options with your parents, you should also make sure that all legal paperwork is completed such as health care power of

“If you don’t have the proper documents in place like a health care proxy or power of attorney, instead of caring for an aging parent, you will be in court paying costly fees to get permission to make decisions, probably fighting with your family and wasting valuable time,” says Renee Fry, CEO of Gentreo Family Vault (, which helps with estate planning.

Delegate Responsibilities Among Family Members If you have siblings or another family member that can assist with caregiving, then assigning specific tasks will help ease the process for everyone involved. “Consider holding a family meeting to discuss and identify the needs of the parent and how family members or close friends might be able to contribute their time and resources,” says Dr. Rebecca Cowan, licensed counselor and professor at Walden University. Dr. Hollis-Sawyer explains that when you create clear expectations of care duties to other people involved with caring, it will help you to feel less overwhelmed and burnout. The “rules of care” will also prevent caregivers from feeling burdened. “Set weekly appointments to discuss what you are experiencing as a caregiver and your associated caregiver needs. The opportunity to share your feelings with others can help alleviate feelings of anxiety and potentially boost physical and mental health,” says Dr. Hollis-Sawyer.

Learn About Benefits Your parents may be entitled to benefits that would help cover the cost of care. If your parent was in the military then they may qualify for benefits from

the Veterans Administration (https:// “Be sure your parent is receiving the benefits they are entitled to. One example is the VA Aid and Assistance program that is not widely known about. These programs provide financial support for seniors to enable them to pay for assistance with the care that their children are currently providing. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, there are tons of resources available to seniors but you have to ask,” says Angie Szumlinski, Director of Risk Management for Health Cap Risk Management and Insurance. Corporations sometimes offer benefits for eldercare. You can ask about benefits at your place of work or research information on the website Families and Work Institute (https://www.familiesandwork. org) which is a nonprofit organization. AARP has a Medicare Resource Center ( that explains eligibility and provides a question and answer tool.



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Be Organized Providing care for your parent usually involves keeping track of doctor’s appointments, medications, and maintaining hygiene. Being organized will help everyone involved in caretaking be less stressed and accomplish their given job. Suzanne Asaff Blankenship, author of the book How To Take Care of Old People Without Losing Your Marbles (https://, explains that organization is the best defense for the stress and frustration of eldercare. She says, “When the inevitable emergency occurs, being organized helps to keep you out of panic mode.” Dr. Hollis-Sawyer discusses types of technology that help with organization. She says, “You can use phone apps, home voice technology (like Amazon Alexa), and other computer programs (an Excel spreadsheet) to help streamline care activities with others. You can also use selfcare reminders like the Calm phone app.”

Be Patient If your parent has memory issues or you need to repeat the same activities numerous times then your patience will be tested.

continued on page 34 March 2022 WNY Family 23

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“The stairs are getting so hard to climb.” “Since my wife died, I just open a can of soup for dinner.” “I’ve lived here 40 years. No other place will seem like home.”


hese are common issues for older people. You may share the often-heard wish — “I want to stay in my own home!” The good news is that with the right help, your parent might be able to do just that. Staying in your own home as you get older is called “aging in place.”

Planning Ahead to Stay in One’s Own Home Planning ahead is hard because you never know how a person’s needs might change due to health issues, and everyone’s family situation is different. If you have a large extended family living nearby and willing to help, it will provide your parent with a sizeable “safety net” as they begin to need more help with their daily activities. If you live far away from your parent, and he or she lives alone, with few friends or neighbors, planning for outside help is almost a given, unless you can convince your parent to relocate closer to you. Perhaps the best way to stay in one’s own home is to take action before the absolute need arises, making the home safe and easily navigable on the inside, and finding services that can help your parent navigate the world outside more easily.

Here are a few things you can work on gradually to help your parent do just that: • De-clutter and rearrange the contents of cabinets, drawers, and closets to make everything easier to access. Put frequently used items within easy reach. Replace heavy dishes, pots and pans with lighter versions. Add items like extended-reach grabbers, jar-lid openers, a shower bench, a higher toilet, and grab bars in the shower. • Every year, 1 in 4 adults over age 65 take a fall. Remove throw rugs and repair any other trip hazards like loose carpeting or raised areas of flooring. Keep steps clear. Make sure that all entry doors to the house and garage have properly working, easy to turn locks, and that all steps and porches have railings that are secure. And have a diplomatic chat with your parent about their footwear; it’s time to get rid of loose, floppy slippers, shoes with slippery soles, or those with heels too high to walk safely. • Discuss whether there is a room on the first floor that could be turned into a bedroom if needed. • If possible, relocate laundry facilities to the first floor, instead of the basement, to further avoid stairs and dangerous falls.

• Acquaint your parent with services in their neighborhood that can come right to their door, such as grocery delivery, dry cleaning pick up and delivery, senior transportation, etc. • Encourage your parent to choose direct deposit for any income, and use online bill pay to reduce banking trips. Even postage stamps can be purchased online. Fortunately, upcoming generations will be more tech savvy and be able to take full advantage of Google searches. If your parent is not among them, start teaching them to use the Internet! • Help your parent get acquainted with the services offered by their local senior center. Low-cost nutritious meals, socialization, and group activities are some of the benefits derived from becoming a member.

Common Concerns If staying at home is important to your parent, they will eventually need outside help of some kind. An important part of planning is thinking about how to pay for the help that’s needed. Some things you want for them may cost a

lot. Others may be free. Some might be covered by Medicare or other health insurance. Some may not. Check with your insurance provider(s). It’s possible that paying for a few services out of pocket could cost less than moving into an independent living, assisted living, or long-term care facility, and your parent would still be able to remain at home. Resources like and BenefitsCheckUp® can help you find out about possible benefits your parent might qualify for. Is your parent eligible for benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)? The VA sometimes provides medical care in your home. In some areas, they offer homemaker/ home health aide services, and adult day health care. To learn more, visit, call the VA Health Care Benefits number, 1-877-222-8387 (toll-free), or contact the VA medical center nearest you.

For More Information on Aging in Place Eldercare Locator 1-800-677-1116

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 1-800-633-4227 • 1-877-486-2048 National Association of Area Agencies on Aging 1-202-872-0888 • Department of Housing and Urban Development 1-202-708-1112 • 1-202-708-1455 Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program National Energy Assistance Referral Hotline 1-866-674-6327 National Resource Center on Supportive Housing & Home Modifications 1-213-740-1364


It’s Never Too Early to Talk About Hospice Care It’s not uncommon for patients and families to say, “I wish I had called sooner.. I could have had care and support earlier if I had just made the connection.” No one wants to think about or talk about serious or life-limiting illness. If you are asking yourself if or when to call hospice, there is a good chance you or your loved one may be eligible to receive this specialized care and support. Even if an individual is not currently eligible for hospice care, gathering information prior to a crisis will allow for informed decision making in the future. When someone is suffering from serious illness, everyone in that person’s life is affected. Spouses, children, extended family, and caregivers all need support as they attempt to navigate the complexities of medical care and the challenges of daily

living. Hospice programs provide comprehensive care focused on medical, as well as psychosocial, spiritual, and practical needs to improve quality of life. Physicians, nurses, social workers, spiritual care counselors, home health aides, expressive therapists, and volunteers provide customized care and support. The hospice team, accessible 24/7, provides care anywhere home is including private residences, nursing homes, assisted living communities and group homes. Hospice bereavement services are available for up to 13 months,

following the death of a loved one. Support includes counseling, group sessions, and resources to help cope with life changes. Fortunately, hospice services are covered in full by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans. No one is denied hospice care based upon the inability to pay. Helps starts with a call Connect with us today, and together, we can develop a care plan that supports you and your loved one.

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When It’s Time to Leave Home


he decision about whether your parents should move is often tricky and emotional. Each family will have its own reasons for wanting (or not wanting) to take such a step. One family may decide a move is right because the parents can no longer manage the home. For another family, the need for hands-on care in a longterm care facility motivates a change. In the case of long-distance caregivers, the notion of moving can seem like a solution to the problem of not being close enough to help. For some caregivers, moving a sick or aging parent to their own home or community can be a viable alternative. Some families decide to have an adult child move back to the parent’s home to become the primary caregiver. Keep in mind that leaving a home, community, and familiar medical care can be very disruptive and difficult for the older parent, especially if they are not enthusiastic about the change. You might first want to explore what services are available in your parents’ community to help them in their home — including home health care, housekeeping, personal care, and transportation services. Older adults and their families have some options when it comes to deciding where to live, but these choices can be limited by factors such as illness, ability to perform activities of daily living (for 26 WNY Family March 2022

example, eating, bathing, using the toilet, dressing, walking, and moving from bed to chair), financial resources, and personal preferences. Making a decision that is best for your parent — and making that decision with your parent — can be difficult. Try to learn as much as you can about possible housing options. Older adults, or those with physical limitations or illness, can choose to: 

Move to a smaller, one-story home where daily tasks are more easily performed and which would, preferably, be closer to family members who can assist when needed. Move to a first-floor apartment in a 55+ community, where stairs are not a problem, laundry facilities are often in the unit, a maintenance staff takes care of any repairs, and social activities are offered.

Move to an assisted-living facility

Move to a long-term care facility

Move in with a family member

Some families find a conference call is a good way to talk together about the pros and cons of each option. The goal of this call is to come up with a plan that works for everyone, especially your parent. If the decision involves a move for

your mom or dad, you could, even from a distance, offer to arrange tours of some places for their consideration. Experts advise families to think carefully before moving an aging adult into an adult child’s home. There are a lot of questions to consider. You must think about their current condition, as well as how their condition might deteriorate in the future. Can you cope with the ongoing stress, involved in caregiving in addition to the following: 

Is there space in your home? Consider your home’s accessibility — stairs to navigate, halls and doorways wide enough for a wheelchair, etc.

Is someone around to help the older person during the whole day?

What are your parents able to do for themselves?

What personal care are you willing and able to provide — moving your parent from a chair to a bed or toilet, changing adult diapers, or using a feeding tube, for example?

What kinds of home care services are available in your community?

What kind of specialized medical care is available nearby?

Is there an adult day program in your community? Or respite care for when you need to take a much-needed vacation?

These decisions are emotionally charged and will be influenced by both your parent’s attitude towards change and that of your siblings toward pitching in to help, possibly financially if not in person. The relationship you have with your parents and siblings will also factor into how much resistance or cooperation there will be to change. Remind everyone involved that your parents took care of you when you were young and couldn’t care for yourself. Now that the roles are reversed, you are repaying their love and care by keeping their well-being in their later years as your ultimate goal.

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Is It Normal Aging or Early Signs of Dementia? Source: American Heart Association News

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isplacing keys. Forgetting names. Struggling to find the right word. Walking into a room and forgetting why. Are these early signs of dementia? Or normal signs of aging? It all depends on the circumstances, health experts say. To distinguish between changes associated with typical aging and concerning signs of cognitive loss requires a deeper look. “Instead of thinking about things in terms of what is a sign of dementia, I would ask, ‘What is the situation in which those signs appear?’” said Dr. Jeffrey Keller, founder and director of the Institute for Dementia Research and Prevention in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “It’s how the brain functions in response to a challenge that demonstrates early changes that can lead to dementia.” In other words, a person experiencing normal aging may experience some memory lapses, he said. But more important than whether they’ve misplaced their keys is whether they’re able to retrace their steps to find them. Or whether they can retain information long enough to carry out a multipart task, such as filling out medical or tax forms, even if interrupted while doing so. For people with cognitive decline, “when you throw a monkey wrench in, things fall apart,” Keller said. “That’s when you see if there’s an ability to switch tasks.” The loss of executive function skills — the ability to plan, multi-task, make decisions, and solve problems — is a greater indication of deteriorating brain health than the occasional memory lapse. And it can manifest in a variety of ways, according to experts in the field of aging.

For example, people who are losing executive function often exhibit a loss of financial management skills long before being diagnosed with dementia. Research shows people with Alzheimer’s disease begin missing bill payments up to six years prior to diagnosis, and they have drops in their credit scores 2.5 years prior to diagnosis. There also may be other signs of poor financial decision-making, said Dr. James Galvin, a neurologist and director of the University of Miami’s Comprehensive Center for Brain Health. “They might start making purchases they have not made before or fall prey to scams because judgment and their ability to understand the consequences of decisions may be impaired.” The Alzheimer’s Association lists 10 early signs and symptoms of dementia: memory loss that disrupts daily life; challenges in planning or solving problems; difficulty completing familiar tasks; confusion with time or place; trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships; problems with language while speaking or writing; misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps; decreased judgment; withdrawal from work or social activities; and changes in mood or personality. The question isn’t whether a person sometimes exhibits one of these signs; it’s whether these behaviors are frequent or severe enough to disrupt daily work and social living, Keller said. If any of these behaviors do appear, he said, it’s important to first rule out other health problems. For example, uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and other illnesses can cause changes in brain function, including memory loss. “The first stop is the primary care provider, because the person generally has

a relationship with them,” he said. “They can make a diagnosis or start a work-up to make sure the changes aren’t from another cause.” Another reason to get someone evaluated before problems progress is to maximize the chance they are included in what can be difficult future decisions if they do have dementia, Galvin said. “Do they want a DNR (do-not-resuscitate order)? Who will be their health care proxy? Who will have durable power of attorney? We discuss these things right at the onset. It’s best to address these questions early, so the person’s wishes can be accounted for.” Knowing when to bring a person in for evaluation can be tough, Galvin said. “It’s never too early and it’s never too late, but it’s better to be early than to be late.” Once a diagnosis is made, that’s the time to discuss independence, and topics such as driving and personal finances. “Those are very tricky negotiations,” Galvin said. “Our approach is to empower the patient. Get them on board as much as possible. Don’t focus on the disability, focus instead on their capabilities so we can reset the bar based on their abilities at that time. When we do that, we get fairly good buyin.” While dementia cannot be cured, there are steps to slow cognitive decline, experts say. Practicing healthy behaviors earlier in life has been shown to preserve brain health as people age. Research shows there are generally seven risk factors and behaviors people can change to preserve good brain health. Called Life’s Simple 7, they are not smoking, staying physically active, losing weight, eating a healthy diet, and controlling blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. A recent American Heart Association report calls upon primary care providers to help promote better brain health by also evaluating and treating patients for depression, diabetes, obesity, social isolation, hearing loss, sleep disorders, and excessive alcohol use. Another thing people can do to preserve brain function is to continually challenge themselves to learn new things, Keller said. “Learning a new language, developing knowledge about a new field you are interested in, finding new hobbies — those are things that help you maintain cognitive flexibility, which is very important for cognitive preservation.”


Expert Guidance for Aging Adults Advocacy, aging well and navigating the health care system.


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— by Kimberly Blaker

Environmental Factors: Falls are more common in environments with slippery floors, poor lighting, uneven surfaces, stairs, and clutter. Many falls occur in the bathroom. Getting in or out of the shower or bath can be particularly hazardous to seniors. Interestingly, however, household and environmental factors aren’t as significant an indicator as health factors. Other Factors:

Falls Can Have Severe Health Ramifications for Older Adults Know the Risks, How to Prevent a Fall, & Be Prepared in Case It Happens to You


rips, stumbles, and minor tumbles may not seem like a big deal when you’re younger. But, for seniors, any fall has the potential to result in severe injury or a health crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a senior over the age of 65 falls every second of every day. One in five falls ends in serious injury. So, understanding the risk factors that lead to both fatal and nonfatal falls and taking precautions are vital to avoid the potentially debilitating consequences seniors can face.

What are the causes of falling? A variety of factors increase an individual’s likelihood of falling. Usually, it’s a combination of multiple factors that lead to a fall. So being aware of your personal risk factors can help you to minimize dangers. Factors typically associated with aging: As you age, there’s a natural degeneration in various bodily functions. This may include: 

A decrease in strength

Difficulty with balance

Slowed reaction times and reflexes

30 WNY Family March 2022

Worsened vision

Impaired hearing

Cognitive impairments

Any of these individual issues can cause difficulty walking, going up and down stairs, sitting, standing, or lying down. These problems can also lead to increased fatigue and less awareness of external factors that could potentially contribute to a fall. All of these factors make falling more likely. Medical Factors: Aging may lead to higher susceptibility to certain medical conditions that increase your risk of falling. Some examples of health issues associated with fall risk are dementia, osteoporosis, vertigo, depression, COPD, diabetes, arthritis, and disabilities, particularly in the feet or lower limbs. Surgical procedures for medical conditions or injuries can also affect an individual’s mobility, strength, and function. Medications taken for medical conditions can increase the risk of falling because of the side effects that compromise balance. Taking four or more drugs is also associated with falling.

The potential for serious or fatal injury from a fall is especially concerning if a person lives alone.

Senior women are more likely to fall and have serious hip injuries.

Being less active means more muscle atrophy and an increased likelihood of falling.

Being overly active can lead to more opportunities to fall and potentially pushing your physical limits.

A history of previous falls means you have a higher risk of falling again.

What happens to seniors who suffer a fall? Just one fall can have a significant negative impact on a senior’s quality of life. Consider these facts: 

Most fatal injuries occur from falling.

Ninety-five percent of all hip fractures happen during a fall.

Falling is the leading cause of traumatic brain injury.

A fear of falling again is common.

Seniors who’ve fallen may start avoiding activities that could lead to another fall.

Injuries from a fall may contribute to an inability to function independently and require care or moving to a nursing home.

The consequences of falling may increase the risk of depression.

Medical costs after a fall can be expensive.

What are some prevention strategies to avoid falling? • Make sure your prevention strategies address your individual risk factors. List out your personal risk factors, look at which ones can be changed, and create a plan to decrease those risks. • Stay active at an appropriate level for your health and ability. Try lower intensity workouts like yoga, tai chi, walking, swimming, water aerobics, and weight training, especially for leg muscles. • Work with a physical therapist to prevent falls or to heal from injury, especially if you have health risk factors. A physical therapist can help you improve balance and build strength while taking into account your individual needs. • Get regular physical exams to check for any risk factors or problems that could lead to falls. Be honest about any concerns you have and discuss any side effects of your medication. • Wear well-fitting, comfortable, wide, and flat shoes for a stable base. • If needed, be sure you actually use devices like canes or walkers for assisDr. {aul Shields tance. • Assess your environment and take steps to make it safer. Consider features like grab bars in the bathroom, secure handrails on stairs, a more accessible tub or shower, and plenty of light. Also, avoid small rugs that can bunch up or catch on your shoes, and remove clutter to keep floors and spaces clear. • Have a plan in place in case you fall and know what to do and how to get help. If you’re at risk, get a wearable emergency fall device so you can call for medical assistance. New technology is available for automatic fall risk detection. There are also manual devices to push in case of an emergency. For seniors, falling can be a significant concern in trying to stay safe and healthy. But falling isn’t an inevitable part of growing older. Taking these steps to lessen your risk of falling and being prepared in the event of a fall will go a long way toward living a healthy, fulfilling life throughout your retirement. Kimberly Blaker is a freelance senior and lifestyle writer.

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March 2022 WNY Family 31

prescription opioids and tranquilizers/ sedatives in the past year, as well as the presence of any functional impairments. Those reporting cannabis use were asked if it had been recommended by a doctor, and those reporting opioid or tranquilizer/sedative use were asked about misuse, defined as using prescription drugs in any way not directed by a doctor, including use without a prescription or use in greater amounts or longer than prescribed.

Older Adults with Functional Impairments Linked to Prescription Drug Use/Misuse Source: University of California, San Diego


ccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 22 percent of older adults in the United States suffer from a functional impairment, defined as difficulties performing daily activities, such as bathing or getting dressed, or problems with concentration or decision-making affected by physical, mental, or emotional conditions.

In a new study published in the May 20, 2021 online edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine found that functional impairments among adults aged 50 and older are associated with a higher risk of medical cannabis use; and prescription opioid and tranquilizer/sedative use and misuse. “Our study implies that there may be a link between functional impairments and use and misuse of these prescribed drugs. It is important to recognize that any psychoactive substance may be risky for this vulnerable population,” 32 WNY Family March 2022

said Benjamin Han, MD, first author of the study and a clinician-researcher in the Division of Geriatrics, Gerontology, and Palliative Care in the Department of Medicine at UC San Diego. “Many older adults use these substances due to chronic pain, insomnia or anxiety — conditions that can affect daily functioning. These symptoms can be challenging to manage, especially in the setting of multiple chronic conditions and other prescribed medications.”

Joseph Palamar, Ph.D., senior author of the study and a drug epidemiologist and associate professor at New York University Grossman School of Medicine, said, “It is important to recognize that prescription opioids and benzodiazepines can be risky among this demographic as effects can increase chances for falls, and overuse can lead to overdose or even addiction.” The study analyzed data from participants age 50 and older from the 2015-2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Through a computerassisted interview process, participants were asked about use of cannabis and

The study found that adults age 50 and older reporting medical cannabis use, prescription opioid use and misuse, or prescription tranquilizer/sedative use and misuse were more likely to report having an impairment.

“Our findings suggest the symptoms of this patient population are not always being fully addressed or that something else is going on, such as a substance use disorder or a mental health issue like depression and anxiety,” said Han. “As health care providers, we need to take a closer look at chronic symptoms among older patients with functional impairments. Managing these conditions often requires a multidisciplinary approach.” Palamar said further research is needed to identify and minimize the risks of psychoactive substance use in this population — and more fully elucidate the role of cannabis.

“Cannabis may have benefits for this population, but we need to ensure that risks don’t outweigh the benefits. It’s great if cannabis can lessen your grandmother’s anxiety, but not if she’s already at an increased risk for falling down,” said Palamar. Han said patients should work closely with their health care providers to develop appropriate treatment plans with realistic expectations. “It is also vital to communicate the risks of medications with older adults with functional impairments and the importance of balancing these risks with the potential benefits,” Han said.

March 2022 WNY Family 33

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“It is important to have patience. If you feel yourself losing your patience, such as constantly repeating yourself or having to do a task over and over, you need to step back and regroup. Go outside, take a deep breath, and get some fresh air or take a little walk so you can settle down. Never push it to the limit where you lose your patience and start to yell, that can turn into a bad situation,” says James Colozzo, author of the book You Got To Do What You Got To Do: My Experience As A Caregiver Taking Care Of My Parents For Over Twenty Years ( Asaff Blankenship says, “You should realize that eldercare is a marathon, not a sprint. You will need various tools in your tool bag throughout the journey.”

Focus on the Rewards Caring for your parent gives you the chance to develop a stronger relationship with them. Dr. Hollis-Sawyer explains that when you provide care for your parent it is an opportunity to show younger generations in the family how to engage in caregiving activities. “Try to focus on the positive aspects of your daily care activities. Changing the schema of caregiving tasks from a negative to positive perspective can help reduce your feelings of anxiety, guilt, and stress that can overshadow the great accomplishments you are achieving in others’ lives through your care efforts,” says Dr. Hollis-Sawyer. Cheryl Maguire holds a Master of Counseling Psychology degree. She is married and is the mother of twins and a daughter. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, Parents Magazine, AARP, Healthline, Grown and Flown, Your Teen Magazine, and many other publications. 34 WNY Family March 2022

Important Documents Everyone Should Organize, Regardless of Age


hen your elderly family member unexpectedly winds up in the hospital for a month and there’s no way to pay her bills or even know what bills are due, or you suddenly find that you need several years of bank statements and records of other assets to apply for Medicaid, the task will be much easier if someone has taken the time to find and organize the following important documents or duplicate copies. Purchase a plastic file box with hanging file folder dividers and use this as your “command center.” Even if your elderly family member is perfectly healthy, this is a good project to

Personal Records

work on together. From a purely practical standpoint, these papers will be needed eventually, and getting them in order is a smart thing to do. (While you’re at it, think about how your own important papers are organized? What would happen if you were in an accident and incapacitated for any length of time? Perhaps it’s time for you to do a bit of organizing as well!) If you parent is willing and able, just buy them the supplies to get them started and give them control over getting the job done. Just ask them to let you know where they keep the box so that, in case of emergency, you will know where to find it. •

Pre-arranged funeral information, if any

Full legal name

Deed to a pre-purchased cemetery gravesite

Social Security number

Legal residence address

In this digital age, User IDs and Passwords to important online accounts

Driver’s license


Date and place of birth

Full legal names and addresses of spouse and children

Location of birth and death certificates and certificates of marriage, divorce, citizenship, and adoption

Employers and dates of employment

Education and military records

Names and phone numbers of religious contacts

Financial Records •

Sources of income and assets (pension from your employer, IRAs, 401(k)s, interest, etc.)

Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid statements/ information

Insurance information (life, health, long-term care, home, car) with policy numbers and agents’ names and phone numbers

Names of your banks and account numbers (checking, savings, credit union)

Memberships in groups and awards received

Names and phone numbers of close friends, relatives, doctors, lawyers, and financial advisors

Investment income (stocks, bonds, property) and stockbrokers’ names and phone numbers

Copy of most recent income tax return

Health insurance card(s) and benefits documentation

Medications taken regularly (be sure to update this regularly)

Liabilities, including property tax — what is owed, to whom, and when payments are due

Mortgages and debts — how and when they are paid

Location of living will/advance directive

Deeds for any properties owned

Health care proxy

Vehicle titles and registrations

Health care power of attorney

Credit and debit card names and account numbers

Last will & testament

Location of safe deposit box and key March 2022 WNY Family 35

THE SANDWICH GENERATION continued... tient.” He actually looked forward to his aide coming every day, and she developed a warm relationship with him. My mother, on the other hand, was a “hard case.” There were days at work when I would receive a long distance phone call from the home health care agency saying that my mother had purposely locked the aide out of the house and was screaming at her to go away; or my mother would call and tell me to fire the home health care agency because the aide had scratched her bedroom furniture when she vacuumed. This was not someone with dementia; it was my strong-willed mother who found it terribly difficult to accept the reality of her situation. Needless to say, these were not fun years. You may not ever find yourself in this position — hopefully, your parents will be active and relatively healthy to a ripe, old age, only to die suddenly and unexpectedly, but peacefully, in their

sleep. While that’s a shock to loved ones, in my opinion, it’s a blessing to all, including the departed who did not have to suffer years of illness and indignities. I believe that knowledge is power, and the realm of eldercare is no different. If you suspect that one or both of your parents is beginning to decline in any way, don’t be complacent. Have a discussion with your parents about whether they have made any plans about how they will provide for themselves as they age. This can understandably be a very touchy subject. Few of us like to face our own mortality and certainly don’t want to give up any of our independence. Available finances are also an important part of this discussion. I remember the words, but not the name, of an eldercare expert who said, “Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.” Gather your siblings, if you have them, and begin to work together to formulate alternatives for the help your

parent(s) may need. If you wait for a crisis to occur — such as a fall causing broken bones — your options will be much more limited when they may need to be chosen under pressure. The additional articles in this special section will address many other areas of concern that can arise as your parents age. By educating yourself, or perhaps sharing this copy of WNY Family with your parents, you can get a head start on helping them age well and happily! You may also gain some important insights into how you, yourself, can plan ahead for your own later years. Michele Miller is the founder, editor, and publisher of WNY Family. Her own children are now 42 and 39, and she is the grandmother of two. After 38 years of publishing WNY Family, she’s had to face reality and admit that she is among the “Young Old” category of senior citizens!!

WNY PaiN rEliEF & iNtEgrativE WEllNEss cENtEr


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36 WNY Family March 2022

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Burdens, Blessings, & Benevolence


— by Susan Lojacono

his is the third and last installment about being a hesitant caregiver. My little mom died at 94 years young last July on a warm but rainy day. Although that demon Alzheimer’s turned her life into “the long goodbye,” she was always grateful and content. She ate her scrambled eggs, drank her strawberry Ensure, and took her meds. Over the summer, we had a parade of family and friends visit, and she was always happy to see everyone, though now it was now from her bed. In December of 2020, it became clear that I was out of my depth. With a modest salary from a state program, I had become her full-time caregiver, but she was barely able to make it to the bathroom, slept all the time, and ate very little. Her physician’s assistant, who had been coming to the house, arranged for a Hospice assessment. The parade of Hospice staff first came fully suited with their pandemic protective gear, and eventually just masked, which is now the new regular extension of all of our wardrobes. Soon we had weekly nurse visits, and a home health aide who came three days a week. Best of all, a music therapist came complete with guitar. She researched Spanish tunes and serenaded Mom like an angel. No more talk from Mom; just smiles and cooperation. However, on the days I took care of her needs, I was not as quick, nimble, and efficient cleaning and changing my mother. She also began to hallucinate and Hospice, always one step ahead, gave her meds to mitigate this. I want to acknowledge one obvious and deeply moving observation. Every aide from Hospice that came through my door was a special kind of person. Sure, there was a staff shortage because of the pandemic. Sure, they were jug-

gling their personal lives. Sure, they had their share of patients… that were dying. Such benevolence — I will never forget. My brother, to his credit, drove the four hours up and back from Pittsburgh many times. Toward the end, he’d only get a quick smile as she was sleeping round the clock. The last time he was here before Mom died, we stood holding her hands on either side of her bed and she said, “hijos,” which means “my children” in Spanish. We had a classy send-off for my mother — a beautiful Catholic service at the church in which my brother was married, my nieces were christened, and my dad, her husband, was eulogized five years earlier. My brother and I shared stories, and I found myself to be calm and present. I knew I had done my level best for my mom. Afterward, more than 50 friends and relatives came to my home and stayed all afternoon. The entire day there was a monsoon rain. The pall bearers, an interesting combination of my mother’s “fans,” were soaking wet from the start. I adored the intimacy of it, especially with all those who cared about her around me. My next chapter started four months later. I am working at a place I have always wanted to work, and intend to seize and embrace adventure just like my little mommy. She was a force. At the end, she said the following several times… “I will love you forever.” And, indeed, I will. It has been a pleasure to share this journey with you all and I hope it will help if you find yourself in my shoes someday. Susan Lojacono lives in Buffalo and is a former WNY Family staffer. You will find the earlier installments of her eldercare journey online in our March 2019 issue and our March 2020 issue (

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38 WNY Family March 2022

PALEO PLAY continued... the toys with metal spoons and butter knives. They could also experiment with melting the ice by pouring small amounts of warm water over the ice.

Paleo Sensory Bin

A sensory bin is a great way for younger children to learn and explore through hands-on play. Sensory bins are super easy to create and might even give a tired parent a break as it can keep kids occupied for quite a while. Supplies needed: A container — something with enough space for kids to get both hands into and sift through rice or sand and find objects. Suggestions: a large bowl, a plastic storage container, a sandbox, a sand table, etc. Dry beans, rice, or sand Items for kids to find such as small and large plastic dinosaur toys, small rocks, shells, plastic eggs, play moss. A variety of sizes, shapes and textures is best for this type of hands-on play. Instructions: Fill the container halfway with sand, dry beans, or rice. Add in toys and other objects. Allow kids to dig in and play!

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Erupting Volcano

No Jurassic-era play activity would be complete without a volcano! This one is made of clay and the eruption is created with a vinegar/baking soda reaction. Supplies needed: Air dry clay, about one pound Small glass candle holder; these small glass cups used for votives can often be found at Dollar stores. Tempera or acrylic paint. One color for the volcano, such as brown, plus red, yellow and orange to represent lava flow. Baking soda Vinegar Baking dish — disposable aluminum baking dishes work well for this project. Red liquid food color Instructions: Build your volcano inside the baking dish so that you don’t have to move it later. Place the glass votive holder in the center of your baking dish and then mold the clay around the glass votive holder in a mountain shape, leaving the center open. Paint with acrylic paints if desired. Allow to dry — this clay is thick so it will probably take 2-3 days. I recommend painting the clay right after molding because it saves a step! To erupt the volcano: Add 1/4 cup baking soda to the glass cup inside the volcano. Add a few drops of red food color to ½ cup vinegar and mix. Pour a little of the colored vinegar into the glass cup and watch it erupt! When the fizzing dies down, add more vinegar. This amount is enough for 4 or 5 eruptions. Save your volcano to use again later! Any of these activities will keep kids busy — and learning — whether winter or summer!

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word-formulation process. Georgie is one of our two cats. In daycare news, Violet recently moved up a class. She advanced from the infant room to the waddler room just across the hall. It’s nothing momentous really, just a reminder that she’s getting a little older every day. She’s still with all her friends she started with, just in a room of walking toddlers. And she still gets to see all her favorite teachers. It’s upsetting to think that she will never be this small again.

Taking A Moment to Reflect


ach month when I try to come up with a new idea to write about, I tend to think back on something interesting that might have stood out to me. It could be something new Violet’s doing, a milestone she recently conquered; first steps, first words. Or it could simply be a power outage or a road trip that I want to talk about. But whatever it may be, I do my best to carefully orchestrate each paragraph, making sure to get every detail in there. And with how fast Violet’s growing, not to mention how busy we are, I usually don’t have a problem coming up with something new. Well, this month, I admittedly felt a little stumped. I thought hard and looked back, and I have to say nothing significant stood out. It’s been a quiet couple of months here at the De Fino household. And that’s not a bad thing either. With life more on the relaxed side these days, I’d thought I would give everyone a general update. It’s been a little over two months since we’ve moved into our new house and so far, it’s going pretty good. In the beginning, we felt a little out of place as first-time homeowners, but today, we’re settling in nicely. We started to put our own touch on things to help make it feel more like home. A new paint job for each room, new rug, change the sconces and outlet covers. Mostly minor cosmetic changes for now, but they really make all the difference. And Violet is really happy here, too. She especially loves our 40 WNY Family March 2022

one long hallway where she discovered her new favorite game. Hide-n-seek. We play just about every night before her bedtime to keep her entertained (including us) and to tire her out. She’ll chase us up and down the hall, carefully peeking around corners to see if we followed her back; her laugh echoing in the hallway the entire time. For an updated motor skills report, I’m proud to say that at 18 months old, Violet is currently up to seven coherent words: Up, Mama, Dada, Hi, Bye and All Done. All done is used when she’s finished eating and she’s pretty good about letting us know when she’s actually done. Hi and Bye are obvious, as well as Mama and Dada, although depending on what day it is, sometimes everyone in the house including the cats and dog could either be Mama or Dada. And of course, there’s Up. She loves this word most of all because she knows we cannot and will not resist picking her up anytime she commands it. I’ve tried and it’s a heartbreaker. Up to go over the baby gate; Up to get in and out of her highchair, and sometimes Up just for a quick hug. Grandma and Hi Georgie are next in line in her

The last thing I haven’t mentioned yet is Violet’s new gymnastics class. As soon as Violet was old enough, Andrea signed her up at this fantastic gym not too far from us called Rolly Pollies. They have all sorts of different classes for kids broken down by age group and Violet can’t get enough of it. There’s a bounce house, trampoline, foam pit, balance beams and even a mini roller coaster that she and many of the other kids are obsessed with. Violet can run around on her own (with us three steps behind), jump, climb and scream, all while interacting with kids her age. She’s learning independence and growing her socialization skills while having the time of her life. When her gymnastics classes end, we’re thinking about swimming classes next. We want to keep her as socially involved and active as possible. For being quiet around here, I guess there’s been more happening than I realized. So, on the days when things are actually quiet, I’ll be sure to soak those up the most. They usually seem to go by the fastest. Richard De Fino, a freelance writer by night, first became a father at age 34. After losing his first-born son Louis, at birth, he was determined to keep his memory alive the best way he knew how; through words. Now, with the birth of his daughter Violet, he plans on continuing to share his fatherhood journey each month with WNY Family readers.

Family Movie Options: In Theaters and Streaming Online Tiger Rising


Rating PG

Overall B-

Violence B

Sex A

Profanity A

Alcohol/Drugs A

Grieving the loss of his mother, Rob discovers a tiger in the woods near the Florida motel where he lives. He shows the tiger to his friend, Sistine, and the children start thinking of ways to free the giant cat. This is a mixed bag of a movie: empathetic to the emotional worlds of children but presenting a troubling villain whose manipulation of the children is chilling. This is a movie that should be followed by parent/child discussions. Photo ©The Avenue

The Wolf and the Lion


Rating PG

Overall C

Violence B-

Sex A-

Profanity B+

Alcohol/Drugs A

Alma unexpectedly becomes foster mother to two animal babies after a tiger cub falls from the sky and a wolf mother leaves a cub in her cabin. Full of cute animals and dramatic shots of the Canadian wilderness, this film delivers a strong message about animal conservation. Unfortunately, it also has cardboard characters, a tedious script, and a predictable plot. The animals are charming, but the humans are simply dull. Photo © Blue Fox Entertainment

The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild














In the latest instalment of the Ice Age franchise, possum brothers Crash and Eddie stumble back into the Lost World. There they meet up with their old friend, Buck, and unite their efforts in stopping a dangerous foe. Hardcore fans of the franchise might enjoy this film, but since it has a juvenile story, boring characters, and shallow messages, it’s unlikely to thrill adults. It will entertain children, which is no surprise, since it has the vibe of an overlong Saturday morning kids’ program. Photo ©Disney+

Home Team














Suspended from the NFL due to a scandal, Coach Sean Payton returns to his hometown in Texas to reconnect with his son. When he learns that his son’s football team is on a losing streak, he becomes its coach. This clichéd movie meticulously follows the beats of every underdog sports film ever made. That’s not necessarily a bad thing: viewers will get what they expect. The acting is good, the production values are decent and the movie has some heart. Photo ©Disney+

The King’s Daughter














Convinced that he is France’s greatest king, Louis XIV is trying to to cheat death and reign forever. His doctor suggests killing a mermaid and seizing its life force as a way to become immortal. All goes swimmingly until the king’s illegitimate daughter befriends the mermaid and opposes his scheme. This is a spectacularly silly film with cheesy acting and a ludicrous plot. It’s also a lot of fun and is safe for fairy tale fans in the tweens and up. Photo ©Gravitas Ventures Detailed reviews available at March 2022 WNY Family 41

realistic and less stressful schedule. Share your own experiences with an issue they’re facing. “Share how you successfully managed the issue,” says Dr. Chinwe Williams, a professional counselor, and “then allow your teen to explore his or her own thoughts and feelings related to what you’ve shared.”

Be A Role Model

If your teens are going to learn from your experiences, you need to be a role model. “The best way to help your teen manage their stress levels,” says pediatrician Dr. Stacy Leatherwood Cannon, “is to model healthy coping strategies yourself” or, as Ms. Teixeira neatly sums it up, “practice what you preach.”

Stress Busters:

Helping Teens Manage Stress


eing a seen and heard by TWEENS & TEENS teen is you.” stressful. — by Tanni Haas, Ph.D. Clinical psycholoTeens are expected gist Dr. David Lowenstein agrees that to do well in school and to fit in with parents should do whatever they can to friends. On top of everything else, there’s create a stress-free haven at home notthe awkwardness of developing physiing, “When your teen feels accepted and cally on a daily, weekly, and monthly bapeaceful at home, he or she will be better sis. The good news is that there’s much prepared to tackle the outside world.” parents can do to help ease their stress. Promote Here’s what the experts suggest:

Create A Stress-Free Home Environment

Parents often think that because teens gravitate toward their friends, they no longer play an important role in their lives. Nothing could be further from the truth. Parents are very important to teens, and especially when it comes to helping them manage stress. To really be there for your teens, make sure that your interactions are calm and inviting. “The goal,” says sociologist Dr. Christine Carter, author of The New Adolescence and other parenting books, “is for them to feel 42 WNY Family March 2022


Marthe Teixeira, a life and wellness coach, says that it’s important not to “jump to conclusions or give advice right away” when you help your teens deal with stress. Instead, help them reflect on how they can manage stress on their own. Teach them how to break down a complex situation into smaller, more manageable parts. For example, if they’re stressed about a huge school project, have them estimate how long the project will take to complete, and then ask them to spread the work over a number of days to create a more

Encourage Physical Activity

Encourage your teens to engage in lots of physical activity. “Physical activity,” says clinical psychologist Dr. Erlanger Turner, “is one of the most effective stress busters.” He especially recommends activities that they can do together with others. “Whether teens are into team sports, or prefer kayaking or rollerblading with a friend or two,” Dr. Turner says, “they’re more likely to have fun — and keep at it — if they do it with friends.”

… And Lots of Sleep

Physical activity is bound to make your teens exhausted. Life coach Pamela Willsey says that “a good night’s sleep is one of the best stress-reducing remedies that exist.” Experts agree that the best ways to ensure that teens get the recommended 8 to 10 hours of sleep at night is to have them keep a consistent sleep schedule, limit afternoon naps, and turn off all electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime. The so-called blue light that electronic devices emit sends a signal to their brains that suppresses the production of melatonin and prevents them from feeling tired.

Tanni Haas, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Communication Arts, Sciences & Disorders at the City University of New York – Brooklyn College.

6 Signs of Healthy



Dads’ Resource Center offers ways to tell if people are coparenting in a healthy manner

oughly 23% of children in the country live in a home with just one of their parents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This is a percentage that continues to increase, despite how damaging it can be to the child if healthy coparenting doesn’t take place. While some parents feel they can’t stay together, it is imperative that they make healthy coparenting a priority, to help minimize the stress and negative outcomes when parents fall short of healthy coparenting. The good news is that there are ways to engage in healthy coparenting. “All of the research and statistics overwhelmingly demonstrate that children need both parents fully engaged in their upbringing and lives,” explains Dr. Joel N. Myers, founder of Dads’ Resource Center. “Our culture desperately needs to reset in a way that reemphasizes fatherhood. It is a disservice to our mothers and fathers, and most importantly to our children, when fathers are kept out of the equation.” One way that people can improve their healthy coparenting skills is to practice mindfulness. Those who practice mindfulness are more focused on the here and now, instead of being caught up in the emotions of what happened before. They are also less reactive and tend to have less stress. A study

published in the August 2021 issue of the journal Family Process looked at how mindfulness impacts coparenting. Their research showed that increasing mindfulness can promote meaningful change within the family system and can lead to improvements in coparenting and parent-child interactions. Here are 6 signs of healthy coparenting: • Kids come first. The most important part of coparenting is that both parents agree that the child comes first. The relationship that the parents have at that point is to ensure that they do their best for their child. A healthy sign of coparenting is seeing both parents attend an event for the child, where they are near each other, being kind, and the child doesn’t feel stress as a result. • Parents agree. While parents may not agree on everything, coparents need to agree on the major issues. These include that healthy coparenting is a must, and include issues such as discipline and health. If both parents are on the same page about major issues, it will go a long way toward avoiding controversy, and will help the child know their boundaries. • Flexibility is allowed. Having set schedules is nice and can help with predictability, but there needs to be room for things that weren’t planned. Whether

it’s a party or extended family visit from out of town, having some flexibility is healthy for the children. It shows that people compromise and will work together. • Respect is shown. Healthy coparenting means being nice to one another in front of the child. They hear and see what is going on and they learn how to treat others by what their parents do. If parents treat each other with respect, that will teach the child to treat others with respect as well. • Kids get time. Both parents need to have time with the child. Far too often, one parent will try to get the majority of the time, leaving the other parent with very little. While this may feel like success, because it’s punishing the other parent, it’s really not. It’s the child that is being punished and will suffer. • Communication is key. Healthy coparenting requires an open line of communication. Parents need to communicate about things that are going on, and kids need to have constant access to both parents, just as they would if everyone lived under the same roof. “Parenting is a two-person job,” added Dads’ Resource Center Executive Director Jeff Steiner. “Even in a separated family, both parents should view the other parent as an equal partner in the upbringing of their children. More than anything else, children want and need both of their parents actively engaged throughout their childhood to have the best chance to be successful in life.” Dads’ Resource Center was started by Dr. Myers, a father of eight, and the founder and CEO of AccuWeather. The mission is to help combat the issues associated with children growing up without their fathers in the home. At its heart, the center is a child advocacy organization that aims to ensure that each child has the appropriate involvement and contributions from both parents. The group helps get information regarding the issues out to the public and work with fathers to help make improvements. To get more information, visit March 2022 WNY Family 43


Ability Inspire Advocate

What is Spina Bifida?

Special Needs Potential Thri

Growth Strategies Meningocele (sounds like: ma-nin-jo-seal)

Source: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention


pina bifida is a condition that affects the spine and is usually apparent at birth. It is a type of neural tube defect (NTD).

Types of Spina Bifida

Spina bifida can happen anywhere along the spine if the neural tube does not close all the way. When the neural tube doesn’t close all the way, the backbone that protects the spinal cord doesn’t form and close as it should. This often results in damage to the spinal cord and nerves.


Spina bifida might cause physical and intellectual disabilities that range from mild to severe. The severity depends on: 

The size and location of the opening in the spine.

Whether part of the spinal cord and nerves are affected.

The three most common types of spina bifida are: (sounds like: my-low-ma-nin-jo-seal) When people talk about spina bifida, most often they are referring to myelomeningocele. Myelomeningocele is the most serious type of spina bifida. With this condition, a sac of fluid comes through an opening in the baby’s back. Part of the spinal cord and nerves are in this sac and are damaged. This type of spina bifida causes moderate to severe disabilities, such as problems affecting how the person goes to the bathroom, loss of feeling in the person’s legs or feet, and not being able to move the legs.

Another type of spina bifida is meningocele. With meningocele a sac of fluid comes through an opening in the baby’s back. But, the spinal cord is not in this sac. There is usually little or no nerve damage. This type of spina bifida can cause minor disabilities. Spina Bifida Occulta (sounds like: o-cult-tuh) Spina bifida occulta is the mildest type of spina bifida. It is sometimes called “hidden” spina bifida. With it, there is a small gap in the spine, but no opening or sac on the back. The spinal cord and the nerves usually are normal. Many times, spina bifida occulta is not discovered until late childhood or adulthood. This type of spina bifida usually does not cause any disabilities.


Spina bifida can be diagnosed during pregnancy or after the baby is born. Spina bifida occulta might not be diagnosed until late childhood or adulthood, or might never be diagnosed. During Pregnancy During pregnancy there are screening tests (prenatal tests) to check for spina bifida and other birth defects. Talk with your doctor about any questions or concerns you have about this prenatal testing. 

44 WNY Family March 2022

AFP Test – AFP stands for alpha-fetoprotein, a protein the unborn baby produces. This is a simple blood test that measures how much AFP has passed into the mother’s bloodstream from the baby. A high level of AFP might mean that the baby has

spina bifida. An AFP test might be part of a test called the “triple screen” that looks for neural tube defects and other issues. 

Ultrasound – An ultrasound is a type of picture of the baby. In some cases, the doctor can see if the baby has spina bifida or find other reasons that there might be a high level of AFP. Frequently, spina bifida can be seen with this test.

Amniocentesis – For this test, the doctor takes a small sample of the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby in the womb. Higher than average levels of AFP in the fluid might mean that the baby has spina bifida.

If you are pregnant or could get pregnant, use the following tips to help prevent your baby from having spina bifida: 

Take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day. If you have already had a pregnancy affected by spina bifida, you may need to take a higher dose of folic acid before pregnancy and during early pregnancy. Talk to your doctor to discuss what’s best for you.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and dietary or herbal supplements you are taking.

If you have a medical condition ― such as diabetes or obesity ― be sure it is under control before you become pregnant.

Avoid overheating your body, as might happen if you use a hot tub or sauna.

Treat any fever you have right away with Tylenol® (or store brand acetaminophen).

After the Baby Is Born In some cases, spina bifida might not be diagnosed until after the baby is born. Sometimes there is a hairy patch of skin or a dimple on the baby’s back that is first seen after the baby is born. A doctor can use an image scan, such as an, X-ray, MRI, or CT, to get a clearer view of the baby’s spine and the bones in the back. Sometimes spina bifida is not diagnosed until after the baby is born because the mother did not receive prenatal care or an ultrasound did not show clear pictures of the affected part of the spine.

Remember! Spina bifida happens in the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman knows she’s pregnant. Although folic acid is not a guarantee that a woman will have a healthy pregnancy, taking folic acid can help reduce a woman’s risk of having a pregnancy affected by spina bifida. Because half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, it is important that all women who can become pregnant take 400 mcg of folic acid daily.

Living with Spina Bifida

Spina bifida can range from mild to severe. Some people may have little to no disability. Other people may be limited in the way they move or function. Some people may even be paralyzed or unable to walk or move parts of their body. Even so, with the right care, most people affected by spina bifida lead full, productive lives.



Not all people born with spina bifida have the same needs, so treatment will be different for each person. Some people have problems that are more serious than others. People with myelomeningocele and meningocele will need more treatments than people with spina bifida occulta. To learn more about treatments, visit ncbddd/spinabifida/treatment.html.

Causes and Prevention

We do not know all of the causes of spina bifida. The role that genetics and the environment play in causing spina bifida needs to be studied further. However, we do know that there are ways for women to reduce the risk of having a baby with spina bifida both before and during her pregnancy.

We’re here to help.

Comprehensive services for children and adults with autism. Support for your family.

· Evaluations · Early Autism Program (Preschool) · Summit Academy (Ages 3-21) · Respite Programs · Pediatric Feeding Clinic

· Recreation & Leisure Programs · Vocational & Employment Services · Adult Programs · Behavioral Health Clinic · Parent Training

We are WNY’s largest provider of evidence-based programs and services for autism. Our programs use Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) methodology – identified by hundreds of scientific studies as the most effective method to teach individuals with autism. Our goal is to help your child lead the most independent and fulfilling life possible.

Call 716-629-3400 | Visit March 2022 WNY Family 45



August 1st - August 5th

9am - 3pm Daily

H June 27-30 H August 22-25

Grassroots/ Elite Training Camp Ages 5-15 Grassroots/ Elite Training Camp Ages 5-15


ter Regisay! Tod

Visit for more information and to register! Stay tuned for our basketball and soccer camp dates!

BUFFALO’S GRASSROOTS SOCCER CLUB ALL CAMPS WILL TAKE PLACE AT: Point of the Meadow Field at Delaware Park Register online @

Discover Camp Dufeld! WWW.CAMPDUFFIELD.NET

11740 Worden Road, Delavan, NY 14042


2022 Summer Camps Chipmunks/First Timers July 10-13 or July 17-20

Register Now!


Weekly Sessions Beginning July 4th, 2022

Grades 1-2 Cost: $220

Bring your favorite parent/guardian (included in the cost) to experience your first sleep away camp experience!

Raccoons Grades 3-5 July 10-16 or July 17-23 Cost $320

Swim, play games, cook s’mores, hike, sing around the campfire while exploring God’s beautiful woods surrounding Camp Duffield!


Grades 6-8 July 10-16 or July 17-23 Cost $320

Ballet Mini Intensives ~ Ages 7+


Make friends, experience splash hikes, swim, play games, star gaze, enjoy evening campfires at Camp Duffield.

Night Owls July 24-30

Grades 9-12 Cost $320

A teen’s dream schedule- stay up late and sleep in late! Enjoy all that camp has to offer during the day and when the sun sets, enjoy an evening of team building, games, and campfires!

Challenge Camp

July 3-10

Cost $520

This is a special camp session that provides a unique camping vacation for adults with developmental disabilities. CAMP DUFFIELD IS OPEN FOR RENTALS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. CALL FOR MORE INFORMATION.

*Camp Duffield is a faith based, non denominational Christian camp.*

46 WNY Family March 2022

Storybook Dance Camp ~ Ages 3-6

August 8-12 and 15-19 (One or Both Weeks) Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Levels (Two years prior training required)

Musical Theatre Camps ~ Ages 7+ August 8-12 and 15-19

Contact us now for more information

Phone: 716-204-8192

5353 Main Street, Williamsville, NY.

Email: Web:

Summer Literacy Tutoring

Individual Reading & Writing Tutoring


Award Winning Academy of Theatre Arts 2022 Summer Programs at the ATA Theatre


Turn your next school break into something special! As part of our NEW Break Camps, you’ll spend your week off acting, singing, and dancing your way into a new show, culminating with a live performance onstage!

Broadway Babies ($150)

August 15th-19th - 9:00-12:00pm - Ages 2-4

Students work on public speaking and confidence on stage through dramatic play and story telling. At the end of the week students put on a dramatic reading of a story book!

Broadway at ATA $450

July 11th - 22nd - 9:00-4:00pm - Ages 12 & up

You don’t want to miss this fun and exciting program here at ATA! This camp, strictly for older theatre performers, will consist of intensive voice, theatre and dance workshops. We also put a focus on public speaking, team building and problem solving during this camp; skills the students can use throughout their lives! Students will learn what it takes to put on a musical not only on stage but off stage as well. Students will audition and be cast in the full musical production of “SpongeBob The Musical”!

Onstage at ATA $450

July 25th - August 5th - 9:00-4:00pm - Ages 9 & up

This camp, for middle school students, will consist of voice, theatre and dance workshops. We also put a focus on public speaking, team building and problem solving! Throughout the two weeks students will create their own musical as a team from the set, costumes, and musical numbers. Then they will audition and be cast in the full musical production of “Tarzan”

Catch a Rising Star $225

4 different week options available - 9:00-3:00pm - Ages 5-9

This popular one-week camp will allow you to be part of a fun-filled production of “Disney’s Jungle Book Kids.”. Join us for a week of singing, dancing and making new friends! In just one short week, students will learn lines, musical numbers and important team building skills, public speaking and being comfortable stepping out of their comfort zone!

Summer on the Silver Screen $300

August 1st - 12th - 3:00-7:00pm - Ages 9 & up

Our “Summer on the Silver Screen” camp takes students behind the scenes of their very own film! During this two-week intensive campers will learn the basics of screenwriting, cinematography, and film editing, all while starring in their own movie scenes on the big screen.

Behind the Scenes SUMMER WORKSHOP $175

August 15th-19th - 9:00-1:00pm - Ages 7 & up

Learn about the magic that happens onstage long before the curtain goes up! In this one week intensive summer camp, students will learn the art of backstage production design. From creating props to designing sets to learning the ins and outs of sound and light production, campers learn new skills daily over the course of this exciting camp workshop.

4231 Transit Road, Williamsville, NY 14221

To Register or for more information call 716-810-0551 or Visit March 2022 WNY Family 47

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Section Advertising Space Reservation Deadlines: April 2022 .....March 10 May 2022 ........... April 8 June 2022 .........May 10 July 2022 ......... June 10

For More Information Call 836-3486 ext. 104

48 WNY Family March 2022

HORSE CAMP at Skibbereen Farm June through August • 9am-1pm

• Learn basic riding skills • Safety rules around horses • Horse care • Saddlery • Basic first aid

Cost: $350/Session

Registration Form Online

Skibbereen Farm

5142 Bussendorfer Road • Orchard Park, NY 14127 • 648-1908

four seasons Camp @ 9 mile island 1 Orbit Drive Nine Mile Island • Amherst

• Swimming • Hiking • Arts & Crafts • In-house visitors • Great Outdoor Fun and much more! Call 0 CHILDCARE CENTER & PRESCHOOL ENROEALLRLY 4 1639 N. French Rd., Getzville, NY 14068 SPECI MENT 568-11 AL S


CENTER STAGE DANCE STUDIO - Certified member of Dance Educators of America -

Dance Workshop Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced Levels

Coming this July and August! Details will be announced soon. Call to save your spot! Multiple Class Discounts


llet, Jazz, Tap, Ba ro, Hip Hop, Ac on ti na Combi 3-5, Class – Ages Me. & y m and Mom

5 Studios –

Cleaned & Disinfected All CDC & Social Distancing Regulations Apply

4837 Union Rd., Cheektowaga (Near Cleveland Dr.)

★ 634-3395 ★

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P LU S … our Facebook and Twitter feeds

offer DIFFERENT info than our print publication or even our online event calendar. Be sure you’ve got access to all the latest family fun events, parent tips, and news relevant to moms and dads by liking and following us today! 50 WNY Family March 2022

DEAR TEACHER – by Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts

Helping all parents make their children’s educational experience as successful as possible


How to Help a Poor Speller

uestion: My second grader just doesn’t do well on spelling tests. He has never been a good speller, and he is only a fair reader. What are some things that can be done to improve his spelling? — Poor Speller Answer: Some people think that the spelling of English words is crazy and unpredictable and use that as an excuse for children being poor spellers. They are wrong. The spelling of about 50 percent of all English words is based on sound-letter correspondence, and another close to 40 percent are almost predictable except for one sound. Admittedly, this leaves the spelling of about 10 percent of all words to be memorized (sight words). When children first begin to spell words, they do not yet have the sounds of individual letters down pat. So, they use just a few letters to spell a word. This early spelling common with 5- and 6-year-old children is called inventive spelling. However, encouraging students to use this way of spelling beyond the beginning of first grade is not considered a good approach to learning to spell. Children learn to spell first by understanding that words are made up of separate speech sounds and that these sounds are represented by letters. Then they move onto noticing patterns in words they spell (cat, bat, mat). The next step is learning about syllables, prefixes, suffixes, word endings and basic spelling rules. Poor spellers are often poor readers as they have not mastered the connection between letters

and sounds. You should be able to help your child become a better speller and at the same time a better reader because the two require much of the same skills. A chat with his teacher is needed to pinpoint exactly what is holding him back from being a better speller. The teacher can give your child a diagnostic spelling test that will let you both see what consonant and vowel sounds and word spellings he needs to know. If the teacher suspects that the problem is dyslexia, more specialized help will be needed. Once you know where your child needs help, begin to teach him a few consonant letters that he cannot sound out. The teacher can provide you with worksheets, or you can find worksheets and workbooks online and in stores with these sounds to use with him. Once he has mastered these sounds, work with him on predictably spelled words that use these sounds and ones he knows. Hopefully, you will be able to use some words on the weekly spelling list. Move slowly, only teaching new consonants when earlier ones have been mastered. Once all the consonants have been mastered, go on to working with syllables and then a few basic spelling rules. At this point he should be a much-improved speller. While teaching the consonant sounds, introduce a few sight words. He can trace them and then write them to learn these often difficult to spell words.

Handling Frustration with Homework Question: At times, my seventh grader totally loses her cool when frustrated with a difficult homework assignment. Telling her to calm down just doesn’t work. What should I do? — Frustrated, Too Answer: Trying to calm a child when she is in the middle of a meltdown does not work. She is just too worked up to listen. She should walk away from working on the assignment to calm herself. When the child begins to calm down, you can be empathetic, expressing that you know how frustrated she must feel and also offer to help. Or hopefully, once the child is over the meltdown, she may just tackle what has frustrated her on her own. To avoid future homework assignment meltdowns, you need to sit down with your child and show her how she can probably learn how to do a difficult assignment. The first thing to have her do is to consult her textbook (this works best for math and English) to look at similar work to what she is being asked to do. Also, studying class notes is another way to find examples of the work that she is attempting to do. At times, she can find online help by searching for similar work. There are tutorials on a wide range of subjects so she should be fairly specific in her search. If the above approaches do not work, you could do some teaching so she understands the assignment. You should never do the work for her. If you are unable to help her, have her move on to work she can do. The next day when the homework is discussed, she should get the answers she needs. Or she can request special help from the teacher. Should meltdowns continue to occur on a regular basis, it is time to consult her teacher to see what special help your daughter may need to handle her homework. Parents should send questions and comments to dearteacher@dearteacher. com and to learn more about helping their children succeed in school visit the dearteacher website. March 2022 WNY Family 51

s s e n l l e W Choices Gentle and Caring Dentistry for Children & Youth Ages 1-21

Pediatric Dentistry 160 Elmwood Ave. • Buffalo, NY


Accepting: Fidelis & Healthplex

1660 Hopkins Rd. • Getzville, NY



UBMD Pediatrics physicians issue guidance, urging parents to vaccinate their children against COVID-19 “Don’t wait to vaccinate,” warn pediatricians and specialists amid rising hospitalizations in the wake of the Omicron variant.


hysicians at UBMD Pediatrics and affiliated practices are urging parents to get their children 5 and older fully vaccinated against COVID-19. To increase childhood vaccination rates in Western New York, the physicians at UBMD Pediatrics have issued vaccine guidance for parents during a local and national surge of COVID-19 hospital admissions for children with underlying health conditions. Vaccinations are particularly important for children with known health conditions, including those with chronic diseases. Especially at risk are those with: • Chronic lung disease: Including asthma requiring daily prescription therapy, cystic fibrosis, reduced lung function • Type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus • Sickle cell disease • Children with immunodeficiency (primary immune deficiencies or children receiving prolonged use of immune-weakening medications such as corticosteroids, biologics, immunomodulators, or cancer chemotherapy within 90 days) • Cancer • History of bone marrow or organ transplantation • Overweight or obese • Known diagnosis of hypertension • Cardiovascular disease • Chronic kidney disease • Neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome) or other conditions that confer medical complexity (e.g., genetic or metabolic syndromes and severe congenital anomalies) • Any new criteria identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as to be a risk factor for severe COVID-19 for pediatric patients “Vaccinations are particularly important for children with known comorbidities, including those that compromise their immune systems,” said Steven Lipshultz, MD, president of UBMD Pediatrics. “We strongly encourage all patients, particularly those with chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes as well as transplant recipients to receive the COVID-19 vaccine series.” As professors and researchers at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, many physicians at UBMD Pediatrics are studying COVID-19 and are able to prove the most up-to-date guidance.

Why now?

• Children with underlying health conditions are at a greater risk for complications from COVID-19. • With the Omicron variant’s increased level of spread, more children are getting COVID-19 and being admitted to hospitals for severe disease. • Our providers want to reduce the chance that your child will have a severe illness and hospitalization from a COVID infection, including from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). • Currently, only ~25% of children 5-11-years old in the United States have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. • Your child may get the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including flu vaccine, at the same time. 52 WNY Family March 2022

“We’ve seen a range of symptoms among children, from very mild to serious illness, even requiring hospitalization,” said Lipshultz, who is also the A. Conger Goodyear professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Jacobs School. “That’s why we recommend the vaccine for children ages 5 years and older to protect them.”

The risks of COVID-19 for children:

• Children can get very sick from COVID-19. • Children can suffer short- and longterm health complications and spread COVID-19 to others. • Vaccinations are particularly important for children with known comorbidities, including those that compromise their immune systems, particularly those with chronic disease such as asthma and diabetes. • Developing Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome of Children (MIS-C), which is a condition that can develop twoto-three weeks after onset of a COVID-19 infection. MIS-C causes severe inflammation to organs throughout the body; the inflammation can lead to organ damage and even death.

About the vaccine:

• In clinical trials, vaccination was more than 90% effective in preventing COVID- 19 and MIS-C in children ages 5 years and older. • The vaccine does not contain a live virus, but prompts a response from the body. This allows the body to form the needed immune response to protect against the COVID-19 virus when a person comes in contact with it. • The COVID-19 vaccine has been studied carefully in children. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, CDC, and the expert panel that works with them, have reviewed the data from clinical trials. They all agree that vaccination for children ages 5 years and older is safe and effective. The FDA decided to delay the COVID-19 vaccine decision about those under 5 years old until April.

At the UBMD Pediatrics’ Conventus location, age-range specific doses are available to patients and their family members. For families who are cared for by UBMD Pediatrics specialty providers, please contact your provider’s office to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine or schedule a vaccination appointment at our Conventus office (UBMD Pediatrics, Conventus Medical Office Building, 1001 Main Street, 4th Floor Buffalo, NY 14203). Providers of UBMD Pediatrics are also delivering vaccinations to patients 5 years and older at Kaleida Health’s Niagara Street Pediatrics and Broadway Pediatrics offices, as well as to our pediatric cancer patients in the Cancer and Blood Disorders program, a joint program among UBMD Pediatrics, Oishei Children’s Hospital and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Side effects:

Your child may have some side effects that are a response to the vaccine. Some common side effects are: pain, redness, or swelling on the arm; tiredness; headache; muscle pain, chills, or fever; nausea. Some children will have no side effects; severe allergic reactions are rare. Most of the time, the only things your child might need after vaccination is rest, a non- aspirin pain reliever, and a cool wash-

cloth at the injection site. After vaccination, you can create or use your account to enter your child’s information in v-safe (, which is an easy-to-use smartphone-based tool to report to the CDC how your child is feeling after vaccination and can remind you when the second dose is due. If your child experiences a severe allergic reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, providers of UBMD Pediatrics and Oishei Children’s Hospital are ready to respond. The safety of COVID-19 vaccine continues to be monitored. This includes the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis in children and adolescents 5 years and older. UBMD Pediatrics is one of 18 practice plans within UBMD Physicians’ Group, the single largest medical group in Western New York. They provide premier primary and specialty health care to infants, children, adolescents, and young adults throughout WNY and beyond. Their doctors make up the academic teaching faculty within the Department of Pediatrics at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo and are also the physicians at Oishei Children’s Hospital. For more info, please visit

STRESS got you STUCK? We can help! TREATING CHILDREN, ADULTS, COUPLES FOR: Depression • Anxiety • Trauma Panic Attacks • Worry and Stress Low Self-Esteem • ADHD 7345 Transit Road East Amherst, NY


Where to get vaccinated: • • •

Local pediatrician offices Local pharmacies Erie County Dept. of Health locations UBMD Pediatrics is also offering COVID-19 vaccines to patients and family members. “While we’re urging our patients and the community to get vaccinated as soon as possible anywhere they can, we’re also offering vaccines to all UBMD Pediatric patients and families that come in for appointments to at our Buffalo office,” said Lipshultz.

March 2022 WNY Family 53



ost parents would agree — there is nothing as important as the health of our children. While keeping our children healthy during the winter months is challenging — wash your hands, wear your hat, don’t share that cup — we can instill healthy habits year round. Proper rest, exercise, and a nutritious diet are the building blocks for personal health. We’ve all seen the news stories that say Americans exercise less, eat too much, eat unhealthy processed foods, and overbook our schedules. To offer helpful resources, there is a website called Healthy Children. The site is the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) parenting website. It has helpful tips and ideas from growth and development to first aid to healthy eating. They also have a variety of simple recipes, including nutritional data. You can also sign up for a free email newsletter. For more information, visit If you have any questions about our column, e-mail Kathy at For further information about food allergies, contact FARE www., or call 1-800-929-4040. Kathy Lundquist is a Western New York parent whose son, now an adult, was born with severe food allergies. Over the last two decades, she has worked tirelessly, in a variety of capacities, to increase community awareness about food allergies.


Blender Applesauce Free of: DAIRY, EGGS, SOY, PEANUTS, TREE NUTS, FISH, SHELLFISH, WHEAT, GLUTEN, VEGAN Yield: 2 servings Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 0 minutes 2 apples (cored, peeled and chopped) 2 Tablespoons lemon juice 2 teaspoons sugar or agave nectar 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional) Peel and core the apples; cut them into small pieces. Put the apple pieces and lemon juice into a blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture into two small bowls and stir in the sugar and cinnamon. 54 WNY Family March 2022

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes 1 green, yellow, orange or red bell pepper, washed 1 bunch of celery, washed 1 carrot, washed and peeled Favorite salad dressing Cut the pepper in half (from side to side). Clean out the seeds from the inside. Now you have two pieces. One will be your pepper-shaped bowl. Cut the other half of the pepper into skinny slices. Cut the carrot into skinny sticks about 4” long. Cut celery into skinny sticks so each one is about 4” long. Put a little salad dressing in the bottom of your pepper bowl. Put celery sticks, carrot sticks, and pepper slices into the pepper bowl. Now you’ve got a portable veggie treat!

Yield: 12 servings Prep Time:10 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes 1 cup flour* (can be wheat free flour) 1 cup rolled oats 1/2 cup vegan margarine, softened 1/3 cup light brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/8 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup strawberry jam (or any other favorite jam or preserves) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix everything together except the strawberry jam. Measure out 2 cups of this mixture. Leave the rest in the bowl, and set it aside. Take the 2 cups of the mixture and press it into the bottom of a square (8”x 8”) pan coated with shortening or nonstick spray. You can use your hands or a spoon. Make sure you cover the entire bottom of the pan. Spread the strawberry jam on top of the mixture in the pan. Spread it evenly all over. Take the mixture that was left in the bowl, and spread it over the strawberry jam. Press it down lightly. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes. Cut into 12 squares.



— by Barbara Blackburn

halimar, a Pakistani-Indian restaurant, also hosts Chinese and American cuisines. Once Namaste, this restaurant features the former chef and his staff cooking food perfumed with spices, reminding me of my favorite perfume of the same name. White tablecloths contrast with the paper napkins. Yes, there is seating for kids along with a special kids’ menu, although not featuring a complimentary drink.

Shalimar BBQ & Grill

224 Plaza Dr. Williamsville, NY 14221



These delights include the following: Chicken Nuggets ($5.99/$9.99), Fried Rice Egg/Chicken/Veggie ($8.00), Happy Meal - 4 pieces with fries ($5.99), Chicken Fritters, Mild with fries ($5.99), Stir Fried Thin Noodles with Chicken/Veggies ($8.00/$10.00), Deal Kids Burger + Chicken Nuggets + Crispy potatoes + Juice/Soft Drink - Serves 2 ($15.00), Crispy Potatoes ($3.00) and Potato Wedges ($5.00)

Dad’s Shrimp Tandoori ($14.99), with no other side but the extra rice he ordered, was subtly hot and spicy. Maybe an exchange of one of the other rice dishes would have made this an even better choice. My divided plate of vegetarian delights, called Shalimar Medley Plate, was a garden of comforting healthy carbs. This might appeal to a kid, certainly to my one set of grandkids raised to be partial vegetarians. There was naan, that special Indian bread beloved by all ages, keeping company with a fritter of mashed delights, in a triangular form. Also, there was another fritter in the form of a patty with a different filling, and some more chickpea fritters, very crisped to look blackened. We loved the combo of samosa and pakora. (A samosa is a fried or baked pastry with a savory filling, including ingredients such as spiced potatoes, onions, peas, chicken and/ or other meats. It may take different forms, including triangular, cone, or half-moon shapes, depending on the region. Pakora is a spiced fritter originating from the Indian subcontinent. It consists of items, often vegetables such as potatoes and onions, coated in seasoned gram flour batter and

deep fried.)

The main courses had been preceded by a plate of cantaloupe, grapes, and nuts — a welcoming touch, both to the palate and the time we waited for the main delights. For my drink I chose the Lahori Nimbo Pani ($3.99), lemonade with a special Shalimar recipe. Since I have a difficult time hearing accents when spoken under a mask, I was not always sure of what our charming host-server said. I looked up menu items in my revered Food Lovers’ Companion.

er Ic e B u m p t a Ca rs

bumpegr bumpin


BIRTHDAY PARTIES | PUBLIC SKATING LEARN TO SKATE See the public skate schedule online at

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Originally, we wanted to order a few items that weren’t available at the time. (I have a knack for ordering items on the menu but not available when I order them.) The Lamb Kabob Roll ($8.99) will have to be postponed to another time when I can enjoy this hand-held item. I understand from the best of authorities that the Soup is spectacular. I was considering the Spanish Soup ($9.99) but found out that it was really Spinach Soup (the misnomer was the result of a printing error!). The Thai Clear Soup ($9.99) sounds delicious. So many categories challenge choosers here. The Vegetarian Specials come in both half and full sizes, $12.99 to $30.99. Those who don’t want to take the Pakistani or Indian road will find many choices in the Fried Chicken & Fish, and Burger section. Chinese dishes, including Szechuan Noodles and Rice, share the same spicy touch.

Birthdays Are Celebrated Year Round...

If you’re wondering what the most expensive item on the menu is, it’s the Whole Lamb Roast for $700.

Advertise Your Party Goods or Services in any Month of the Year in Our

Always consider the Sweets/Desserts. They’re not your usual choices. Of the variety offered, the Rice Pudding Kheer ($6.99) should always please. Who can resist a very vanilla, milky rice dish, topped with pistachios and almonds? Shalimar is certainly a house of unique tastes. Barbara teaches flavorful and fun culinary classes for Williamsville Community Education.

“Let’s Party” Section Call

836-3486 Ext. 104 For More Information. March 2022 WNY Family 55

DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF, JUST NAIL THE BIG STUFF. What’s another teeny, tiny stain? You’ve got more important things to think about—like making sure your kids are buckled correctly in the right seat for their age and size.

Check at

56 WNY Family March 2022