Thankful and Thoughtful….

With Thanksgiving behind us and the holiday of miracles,Chanuka, before us, there is much to think about.  As we sat around our Thanksgiving table(we now have our festive turkey dinner on the Friday night Sabbath), we all mentioned something for which we are most thankful…The “small” things of just being with family, good friends in a warm environment; being able to live, raise our families in our own country where we are conscious of so many miracles each day…to name a few…

For me, especially after being at the birth of our newest grandson almost a month ago, just life itself is such a miracle…I have written before about my own miracle of birth at the end of the 6th month, weighing just 1 pound and 12 ounces(750 gram)…Yishai, our new grandson weighing 4.04 kilo(more than 8 pounds) had a bit of a hard time entering the world….having the privilege of being with my daughter during the birth, I saw once again the true miracle of having a healthy baby…..

As a retired Savta(grandma) who lives close to this beautiful baby and his big sis, I get to take the 3 year old to and from gan(kindergarten) most days…Along the way she stops to observe fallen colorful leaves to crunch, pretty winter flowers, airplanes flying above, talks about her friends and activities, etc….What a wonderful feeling to have her remind me of all of those fun things…walking with a grandparent to whom you can tell and talk about SO much….

Therefore, today’s “tip” for us grandparents…our role of just listening to our grandchildren for whom we are so thankful  is HUGE…no matter their age or stage, our “ear” is great to be near! Miracles of life are with us each day, so appreciate them in every way!

Debbie Dan

Geriatric Consultant for Elderly Parents, Adult Children & Olim

Guidance about Living Options, & Community Resources

A Helping Hand with Debbie Dan

Israeli Cell: 052-391-9328

American Phone 347-448-4177

Email: debbiedan1@gmail.com 

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“After the Holidays(Acharei Hachagim)”-Back to Routine????

The word “routine” brings to mind a sameness of everyday activities that gives us a relaxing feeling since we more or less know what to expect…However in my case, as a very active senior citizen every day is different since there is no real routine…I wake up each morning having to jog my brain into remembering which day it is and what I am doing…a day to rush and get out early to make wonderful shiurim(classes), or able to rest a bit longer to go volunteer in our local Golden Age Club where 3 days a week such wonderful exercise is offered ranging from “Paula”, Yoga and Bone Density exercise…together with interesting classes and wonderful social group.

This month is also Senior Citizen’s Month when there are special discounted activities offered all over Israel. Although we have had a bit of rain here this is the season to see many seniors groups on various “tiyulim”(trips).  During this month I myself offer to give a session on “Dealing With Aging Parents”…based on my personal and professional experience.(I will be speaking here in Betel for our “Time Bank” group on Nov. 20th at 8p.m. at our Matnas).

To sum up…the after the busy holiday period…when we think we look forward to going back to “routine” does not exist for us busy seniors when everyday brings something new….as I write this I am awaiting the birth of a new grandchild…all should go well-“B’shaa Tova”!!! Happy, Healthy Senior Citizens’ Month and “Back to Routine” to all…..

Debbie Dan

Geriatric Consultant for Elderly Parents, Adult Children & Olim

Guidance about Living Options, & Community Resources

A Helping Hand with Debbie Dan

Israeli Cell: 052-391-9328

American Phone 347-448-4177

Email: debbiedan1@gmail.com 

Everything is for the Best….

Memories……As we are approaching the “High Holidays,”we are looking back upon the ups and downs of the past year….While we have been having heat wave weather here in Israel, America has suffered from hurricanes, much displacement, damage and despair..

There has been a lot of “new” during the past year….new homes, jobs, friends becoming grandparents for the first time, family celebrations…looking forward to more “news” in the coming year…

This past weekend was my 50 year high school reunion of George Washington High School in Danville, Va.  As many of my former classmates most of whom I have not seen in 50 years, were partying and remembering our “class of ’67” I could not help but reminisce about other events of 50 years ago….

Our graduation was in June on a Friday night…since it was our Sabbath, I did not go…instead I spent that Sabbath with good, close friends in Richmond. It must have been right after or even  during the 6 Day War when we were praying for Israel and felt euphoric when they won the war….I just happened to have a Shabbat guest for lunch this week who told of his experience of volunteering to help Israel, his first time there, at this crucial time….

Although I was very disappointed that this 50 year reunion was at such an inconvenient time for those of us in Israel to attend, everything is for the best since right after the Holidays,we are expecting  new family “additions” which I would not have wanted to miss! In seeing some of the pictures, I have not yet recognized anyone…so that maybe it would not be such a good feeling to see how everyone has “aged”! No matter what, we are all “young” at heart….

My “tip” of the day is to keep active and gay to drive those “doldrums” away!

A Happy, Healthy New Year to y’all,

Debbie Dan

Geriatric Consultant for Elderly Parents, Adult Children & Olim

Guidance about Living Options, & Community Resources

A Helping Hand with Debbie Dan

Israeli Cell: 052-391-9328

American Phone 347-448-4177

Email: debbiedan1@gmail.com

 

Floods, Funerals, Firsts…..

This sure was a week of “F’s”….The third and biggest Houston Hurricane in the past years which left much destruction, death, and despair.  My daughter’s in-laws having gone through this twice before in recent years knew that they were definitely in the flood zone, so along with their cute little dog, they went to a hotel.  However, their son with 3 children including twin babies thinking that they would be safe on the second floor, had to be evacuated by boat…

While in the midst of my wonderful “shiurim”{classes} Sunday morning, I got the shocking news of 2 funerals from the Efrat community, one of whom was a distant cousin…one was a popular Rav who had been in a coma for several years; the other relatively young and sudden leaving a young wife, children and parents…I went to that very sad, emotional funeral, filled with family, friends, community members from many walks of life…In fact, a reunion of those we had not seen in many a year…May Hashem give them the strength they need to carry on…..

Today is the first official day of school in Israel…As we see our little grandchildren excitingly get ready for this big day…buying new backpacks, clothes, shoes, supplies, there is such a feeling of pride and hope for the future.  Us parents and grandparents have been looking forward to our “freedom” from babysitting, having noise and commotion around the house, and happy to get back to our usual routine!

May this new month, new time of year be the start of many new hopes, dreams come true, with much Health, Happiness, Hope…..

 

 

Summer Fun with Seniors and Grandchildren

For the first time since it’s inception I participated in “Yom Shlishi Im Shlaikes” which literally means “Tuesdays With Suspenders” which is a senior discount day….I went with a friend to see the movie “Wonder Woman” for just 10 shekel(movies are usually 29 shekel here); I am not a fan of violent movies but it was a proud feeling to see the now Israeli international star Gal Gadot…

Another fun day was going to the Israel Museum which is free for children during the month of August. The theme of “Cats and Dogs” mesmerized the kids with all kinds of activities ranging from looking into a screen, talking to your dog for 10 seconds while your face changes into that of a dog or cat(although one granddaughter had nightmares that night that her mom’s face changed!); a challenging escape room was good for the 12 year old while younger ones did arts and crafts, computers, a little show, etc…(I should mention that the entrance is free for kids and half price for seniors but inside extras cost 15 shekel a child)

One of the main roles of us “savtas” in the summer is having a “savta camp” Since there are no day camps for kids during some weeks of August when parents still have to work, many an exhausted grandparent can be seen having their own “camps”….not being used to just a different noise level in the house is a bit nerve wracking…Here in Betel besides a wonderful pool and park we also have a “pinat chai”(little zoo) which entertains all ages. Our 12 year old grandson loved helping his grandpa and uncles at the famous Herby’s Bake Shop which is right across from the pool which us gals enjoyed…when it was the guys time to swim he was more than ready to jump in.

Today I am about to make a dream come true while reminiscing about a wonderful childhood experience that I loved…the circus came to town once a year in Danville, Va. with all kinds of rides and one of my favorites was the carousel…it has been my dream to take a grandchild to the carousel at the First Station which we are about to do today….

Tip of the Day:  If life sometimes seems boring or a little too quiet, Have some grandchildren around to “riot”…then you’ll appreciate that quiet!

Debbie Dan

Geriatric Consultant for Elderly Parents, Adult Children & Olim

Guidance about Living Options, & Community Resources

A Helping Hand with Debbie Dan

Israeli Cell: 052-391-9328

American Phone 347-448-4177

Email: debbiedan1@gmail.com 

WHAT A WORLD-WIND BIRTHDAY WEEK

Whew! Today I am a bit tired but VERY happy…It all started a week ago when Herby and I celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary by going up North to the Canaan Spa Hotel near Tsvat which I found out later does not allow children…it was so nice, calm with music, healthy food and a wonderful get-away…We are lucky to celebrate both Hebrew and English birthdays so that between my Hebrew one(25th of Sivan), Monday and the June 22nd English one it was a world-wind week of reunions with friends and family, a granddaughter’s dance recital which reminded me of my dance days(I took ballet for 11 years along with some toe and modern dance), went to wonderful classes culminating last night with the Melabev Sunset Walk(thank you to the many sponsors who helped this organization which helps Alzheimer’s victims and their families) at which I along with our wonderful guide who also had the same birthday date got a delicious surprise cake made by the best baker, Herby!

Nearing the end of another decade can be a bit scary…but in reflecting on life, I am so very thankful to still have the energy to continue to be so active in swimming 3 times a week which I love, helping with grandchildren, volunteering, attending wonderful classes, doing a bit of work-geriatric counseling…I do make an effort to take care of myself health-wise, be preventative and positive….

My tip of this time of year is to face life with cheer-Be thankful for what we can still do-only the positive do view!

Debbie Dan

Geriatric Consultant for Elderly Parents, Adult Children & Olim

Guidance about Living Options, & Community Resources

A Helping Hand with Debbie Dan

Israeli Cell: 052-391-9328

American Phone 347-448-4177

Email: debbiedan1@gmail.com 

Pensioner’s Pesach(Passover) Preparations…..

Why is this year different from all other years?  Most of our children are going to their in-laws for Seder…it was just one of our kid’s turns to come to us; he had just gotten married last year and went to his wife’s family when everyone else came to us. He did not want to be alone with us “old foggies” so that this year, he is again going to the other side so that next year we will all be together. Meanwhile, this year we are going to our daughter’s in Even Shmuel. In my opinion Seders are for the children and I am so happy to be with our lively 4 grandchildren there! Husband Herby is more than happy to hand over the Seder leading to our wonderful son-in-law who will surely keep it moving right along so that we will end earlier than usual wee hours!

Having a husband who loves his profession has meant that even though the “chometz” bakery is winding down to closing during the holiday, he is excited to try and bake all kinds of exotic Pesach recipes at home. For the first time ever, we are getting our kitchen ready a week earlier than usual so that he will have days to bake and even sell some of his goodies….that means I will be cooking dishes on top letting him have the oven…

Meanwhile, I am enjoying organizing the house and cleaning so thoroughly which happens at this once a year time-throwing/giving away what is not needed; appreciate the help of students for much of the really hard work(windows, ovens, etc)..Even though we are told that Pesach cleaning is not “spring cleaning”…how many of you really do such cleaning at any other time?

Wishing y’all a very Chag Kasher V’samaach(A happy, healthy Pesach to all)….

Chanuka….a time for Memories and Miracles….

debbiedan1blog

As we approach this “Holiday of Lights” it is a time to bring light into our lives by thinking of all of the miracles that have befallen us…last night I heard a very emotional miracle story of a woman who woke up from a clinical death experience, after being in a coma for several weeks….she spoke of how song, prayer and love surrounding her surely helped this miracle to happen; family, friends and acquaintances from years gone by were constantly at her side encouraging her. These miracles are so worth sharing that I must again share my own especially at this time of year…

I was born at the end of the 6th month weighing just 1 pound and 12 ounces.  My mother had had several miscarriages before me and one after. Later it was found out she she placenta previa which today can be treated. However, more than half…

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Fires, Flames, Funerals, Finality…Future…

What a truly “bitter” month the Hebrew month of “Mar Cheshvan” was….Exactly 2 weeks ago, as I was preparing a Thanksgiving dinner…while fires were flaring in so many parts of our small country…I got a call with such sad news that my daughter who was due to give birth in a few weeks, felt no movement of the baby, flew to the clinic in her area where she was told that unfortunately there was no heart beat and that she would have to have a still birth…Many “angels” directed her toward Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, experts and sensitive in this area; to someone who had started a support group after it happened to her 11 years ago, who dropped everything and came Thursday evening to meet with them and explain what to expect…I dropped everything, cancelled guests and went down to be with their 4 children while they were away for the 4 days. My husband brought down the Thanksgiving food that luckily I had prepared the day before for Shabbat. Their wonderful new community where they had just moved in the summer pitched in with help with children and meals for 2 weeks. I was comfortable being able to come and go to my various obligations as I knew that they had such a strong support system. In fact, I had gone back up to Jerusalem to participate in a panel at AACI on “Optimal Aging”(My topic was “Aging in Place”), leaving early the next morning to go back down South to help some more…

And then…another “blow”….my neighbor, good friend Fern, who had just turned 66 passed away after such a fast decline from a melanoma cancer that had spread so rapidly.  It was such a shock to our whole community as she had been the model of “health”…our exercise teacher, the sport teacher at the local high school, herself on a very healthy diet…Again feeling that I could leave my daughter and family in helpful hands, I flew back to Betel for the funeral and to help at the shiva house…

Having just returned again from my daughter’s home I am today again preparing a Thanksgiving Shabbat meal with my other children here…I feel that we must get together and appreciate each other as often as possible, live every day to the fullest and again to quote my friend, Fern, Z”l(May her memory be a blessing), ” Show gratitude, say thank-you, appreciate what we are given, be positive”…she was a true inspiration in her life and dying days…As I gave a talk on “Aging in Place”…although she was not “aged” I must take my hat off to her family who provided a “home hospice” set up to make her final days more comfortable…

Although we may be sad about past challenges in life, we must look ahead to the future, be thankful, positive and just do whatever we can with and for family and close friends to keep going “up”….