Touch Points – A Spark of Light with Dana

Hello Friends,

I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I am trying to approach each day with a grateful heart. Did you know that social science research outlines how giving thanks and practicing gratitude can benefit us? Gratitude can increase our sense of balance and calm, enhance optimism, help us cope with stress, and improve our physical well-being. It is incredible that simple, appreciative thoughts can make a huge impact!

Sometimes, feeling a sense of gratitude is easy, and in more challenging times, like now, we may need to search for this optimistic outlook. However, all of us have something to be thankful for.  So, let’s get inspired, and start living life with a grateful heart. This “Touch Points” focuses on the importance of cultivating gratitude, how gratitude has the ability to make us happier and healthier, and a variety of ways to incorporate this practice into our lives.  For my friends caring for a loved-one with memory loss, most of the suggestions can be easily adapted. I hope you will find ways to personalize the techniques and make them work for your family. This is not one size fits all, so read the suggestions below and see what resonates. Commit to one or two techniques, and notice how your outlooks feels lighter and brighter!

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.  If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” -Oprah Winfrey

     1.Ways to Cultivate the Habit of Grateful Thinking

  • Start by paying attention and being mindful of your daily blessings. Be aware of little things each day that you are grateful for. There are simple things that might come to mind, so challenge yourself to find one new appreciation each day. There is nothing too small to be grateful for. For example, I was grateful that we had oatmeal and brown sugar in the house; that is exactly what I wanted to eat!
    • Make the practice of gratitude social– Try to think about another person and why you are grateful. What has that person said or done to enrich your life or make it easier? Then, if you are able, share these warm feelings with the person.  You might talk about your appreciation during a meal, Facetime call, phone call or a letter. This moment can facilitate a beautiful, loving connection.
    • Find gratitude even during the challenging times. I think a pandemic certainly counts as a challenge! Don’t you?! So, even now, try to be aware of what you are grateful for. Daily, I am grateful for snuggles from my tiny, old dog, Maggie. What are you grateful for?
    • Keep a daily gratitude journal or list– Get in the habit of expressing your gratitude daily. In the morning when you wake up, or before you go to bed, write a list of five things you are grateful for. Try this with your loved-one. Once you have a few entries, enjoy spending moments reading them again. I guarantee you will smile.
    • Say grace after meals.- In Judaism, we say “Birkat Hamazon” to give thanks to G-d for our food and for the nourishment. Let us also give thanks to the people making our meals. We are all blessed to have a full belly. AMEN!

If your belly is full, then find a way to help people that are not as fortunate.  Show your gratitude through tzedukah or charity. Many people in Milwaukee are “food insecure” and do not have enough to eat.  The Milwaukee Jewish Pantry, is a Jewish response to hunger in our city. Click here to learn more and to donate to this worthy cause. https://www.jccmilwaukee.org/programs/community/jewish-community-pantry/

    • Take a gratitude stroll– Go for a walk and notice all the things you are grateful for. It is healthy for us to get out of the house, even for a little while. If you can, bundle up and take a walk, and if it’s too difficult, then sit outside. Use all your senses. Feel the sun on your face, feel the wind in your hair, and hear the leaves rustling. What a glorious experience; savor this moment.
    • Try a gratitude breathing exercise– Before we start, think of one or two things you are grateful for and keep them in your mind. Get comfortable in a chair with arms and close your eyes. Put your hand on your heart, and be mindful of the moment. As you breathe in through your nose, think about a moment in your life you are deeply grateful for or something you cherish. Hold it for a few seconds, breathe it in, and feel it. Then breathe out through your mouth. Try this a few times and feel the grace in this moment. (Only do the exercise two times so you don’t feel light-headed.)

“There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.” (-Ralph H. Blum)

     2. Try “Grateful” Brain Health Exercises-

Regular mental fitness can help your cognition. Have fun with these inspirational exercises. Complete by yourself, and then share with a loved-one. Notice how your happiness grows with a grateful perspective.

  • List people in your life you are grateful for, and why? Write what you like about them.
  • Name your favorite experience this past year, and describe why it was so memorable.
  • Describe a favorite smell that always makes you smile. What about a sound, sight, or sensation? For me, my favorite smell is chicken soup. Even though I am vegetarian, I still love the smell of chicken soup. It reminds me of my Yiddishe Grandma Mildred’s giant pot of simmering chicken soup, and family gatherings. It feels like a warm hug, unconditional love and my beautiful, large family. (Picture the movie- My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but everyone is Jewish, eating chicken soup. That’s my family. 😊)
  • Describe something weird or random that brings you joy. (This is my favorite question! I can’t wait to hear what you said!)

“Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.” -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

     3. Watch the Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s “Museum Moment”-

In 1790, George Washington wrote a letter to the congregation of Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island. In this letter, he indicates that Jews and all members of minority religions will be able to practice freely in the new United States. This Museum Moment explores the history of Washington’s letter and its importance to American Jews.  In thinking about gratitude at this time of Thanksgiving, consider the way in which Jewish identity and American identity are connected. Learn more – watch this 26 minute video:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XgVSf31HPk

     4. Be Safe- Get a COVID-19 Vaccine Today!-  In the Spirit of Gratitude, I am SO Grateful for the Covid-19 Vaccine!

The COVID-19 Vaccine and the COVID-19 booster shots are available. I strongly urge you to get a Covid-19 vaccine. Are you and everyone you love vaccinated?  If not, please get vaccinated today!  Do it for yourself, your family, and your community.

  • Click here to find a vaccine near you: https://www.vaccines.gov/   Many locations offer same day and walk-in appointments.
  • Who is eligible for a Covid-19 Vaccine booster shot? https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html
  • In-home vaccinations are available!  Simply call (414) 286-6800 to schedule. Do you have difficulty leaving your home, live in Milwaukee County, and have trouble accessing the support needed to get the COVID-19 Vaccine? No problem! Call for an appointment.
  • Do you have questions or feel hesitant?  There are many ways to find the answers you need. Call and speak to an expert or click on the websites below. Have your questions answered and then make an appointment today.
  1. Click here for more information from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/
  2. Check out The City of Milwaukee Health Department website:  https://city.milwaukee.gov/CovidVax
  3. Call the State Hotline:  1-844-684-1064

“If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.” -Rabbi Harold Kushner

I would love to hear what you enjoyed, and what practices you are incorporating into your life. Have you felt more optimism and light?  Gratitude is a powerful tool that allows our hearts to link to others in love and in peace. Thank you for adding beauty and meaning in my world. I am grateful for each of you.

As always, if you have a question about memory loss, our programs, community resources or caregiving- I am here for you, and happy to help. Please do not hesitate to contact me. You can find me here: DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org

Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,

Dana

  • November 16, 2021

Touch Points – A Spark of Light with Dana

 

Hello Friends,

I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.

Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) are built-in markers to help us pause and reflect. This year, Yom Kippur begins at sunset on September 15 and ends at sundown on September 16.  During this time, we turn inward. We push ourselves to look back over the past year, ask for forgiveness and open ourselves up to the possibilities in the year to come. For many of us, each year there is a similarity to the approach; we are guided by our teachings. Still, we each are moved by different things. What helps you move toward goodness and peace? My “neshamah” (the Jewish notion of the soul) is sparked when I dig a little deeper to find the symbolism and meaning behind our customs, or I enhance reflection with beautiful music or other meaningful words.  This intentional combination pushes my heart and soul in the right direction as I strive “to do better and be better.”

For many of us, this year will be different. Some individuals may be comfortable attending in-person synagogue-based services (with a mask please), while others prefer a home-based holiday. Whatever you choose is perfectly okay; we can find contemplation and spiritual renewal in either location. Do not allow the physical distance to become a barrier to your introspection.   Reflect and connect with yourself, friends and loved ones, and G-d.  I hope this Touch Points will remind you of the beautiful symbolism behind our traditions, and provide additional ways to augment the holiday with musical links and inspiration.  With a little thought and intention, this time will be sacred and special.

CUSTOMS AND A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING DURING YOM KIPPUR:

  1. Teshuvah– This is one of the central aspects of the Holidays. Teshuvah literally means to return.

Honestly look back over the past year and assess your actions. Find the courage to accept your faults and transgressions, and strive to be better in the coming year.  This can be a transformative journey. Rabbi Sara Sapadin says, “Teshuvah is not about concealing our imperfections, it is about facing them.” Interestingly, there is a Teshuva “formula.” In order to change or “turn back” to your best self, follow these steps: recognize the wrong or error, take responsibility for your action/behavior, feel and express regret, apologize and ask for forgiveness (this could be to yourself, other people, or G-d), and plan on how you will improve and change the behavior in the future. Author Estelle Frankel says, “Through Teshuva we always have the power and freedom to begin anew so that our past need not determine our future.”

One way I enhance my intention when reflecting is by listening to inspiring music. The prayer Avinu Malkeinu is recited on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This is an extremely powerful prayer. Click below to hear Barbra Streisand sing this undeniably gorgeous Avinu Malkeinu (4 minutes).  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YONAP39jVE&app=desktop

“Nobody’s perfect.  We make mistakes. We say wrong things. We do wrong things. We fall. We get up. We learn. We grow. We move on. We live.” -unknown

2. Forgiveness   Rabbi Leah Berkowitz discusses the blessing of a genuine apology- both given and received. What makes a good apology? Rabbi Berkowitz states, “It is important to find the right words to tell people we have hurt, that we are sorry.” Be kind to yourself and to each other- offer amends and accept forgiveness. A sincere apology is a sign of strength. I hope we can all find insight to let go of anger and resentment, and find peace. Only then, we will stand in the light.

“Forgiveness is the best form of love. It takes a strong person to say sorry and an even stronger person to forgive.” -unknown

3. Remember Those we Have Lost– The Yizkor liturgy on Yom Kippur gives us time to reflect and remember our loved ones that are departed. Thinking of their admired qualities and reflecting on their lives brings a sense of closeness and connection. It also elevates our own perspective and meaning for the High Holidays. In my family, following services, we often share the warm memories of a loved one that has passed away. Even though my eyes fill with tears, my heart fills with so much love and gratitude to have had them in my life. May their memories continue to be a blessing.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” -Winnie the Pooh

4. Shofar The Shofar is a musical instrument made of a ram’s horn. Traditionally, the shofar is blown throughout the Hebrew month of Elul and during the High Holidays. Rabbi Ilana Schachter says that “Blowing the shofar can shake us from complacency, and can wake us up from a spiritual slumber. The sound of the shofar reminds us of important spiritual work we have yet to do.” I pray the sound of the shofar awakens us personally, and as a society. Let us acknowledge where we fell short, and how we will do more in the coming year to promote love, kindness and compassion. Amen!

5. Prayer- Our synagogues are doing everything possible to stay close and reach us during this atypical time. Each synagogue has its own plan for health and safety. What is your plan for Yom Kippur? If it’s your practice, you might choose a synagogue that offers services virtually. A variety of Milwaukee synagogues offer High Holiday Zoom links.

G-d hears our voices everywhere. If you aren’t able or comfortable praying in person or virtually, find your own way to speak to G-d. Share your mind and heart. Personally, there have been a few years I have been unable to attend services. Instead, I took out our prayer book and read the entire service at home by myself; I focused on pieces that had the most meaning to me. The stillness and the silence in our home added to my kavanah, or intention.  This challenging year may be an wonderful opportunity to reach a new direction of the heart.

  • Consider expanding your prayers this year. Pray for the doctors, nurses, and essential workers that provide care and services to help us all. We cannot forget or underestimate how difficult their jobs are. Pray to keep them safe, bring them comfort and send them additional strength to do their good work.
  • Let us all send heartfelt “Mi Shebeirach” prayers (healing prayers) for those that are sick with Covid or to those that have lost people from this pandemic. Covid-19 is felt all over the world, and many people need our prayers.
  • Click here for Debbie Friedman’s “Mi Shebeirach– A Prayer for Healing”-  Debbie Friedman – Mi Shebeirach (2001) – Bing video

 

“…As You maintain harmony in the heavens, give peace to us, the whole Jewish People, and to all who dwell on earth. Amen.”
Mahzor Lev Shalem

 6. Be Safe- Please Get a COVID-19 Vaccine Today!-  The FDA granted full approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine. I strongly urge you to get a Covid-19 vaccine! The Covid virus has mutated, becoming stronger with the very contagious Delta Variant.  Are you and everyone you love vaccinated?  If not, please get vaccinated today!  Do it for yourself, your family, and your community. Information below:

  • Click here to find a vaccine near you: https://www.vaccines.gov/   Many locations offer same day and walk-in appointments.
  • In-home vaccinations are available!  Simply call (414) 286-6800 to schedule. Do you have difficulty leaving your home, live in Milwaukee County, and have trouble accessing the support needed to get the COVID-19 Vaccine? No problem! Appointments are usually scheduled on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays between 9am-2pm.  Please share this important number with those that need it.
  • Do you have questions or feel hesitant?  There are many ways to find the answers you need. Call and speak to an expert or click on the websites below. Have your questions answered and then make an appointment today.
    1. Click here for more information from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/
    2. Check out The City of Milwaukee Health Department website:  https://city.milwaukee.gov/CovidVax
    3. Call the State Hotline:  1-844-684-1064.

Wishing everyone a meaningful Yom Kippur. May you be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life for a good year.

As always, if you have a question, I am here for you, and happy to help. You can find me here: DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org

Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,

Dana

  • September 13, 2021

Touch Points – A Spark of Light with Dana

Hello Friends,

I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.

We are in the Hebrew month of Elul; this is a special time of preparation leading up to the Jewish High Holidays. During this month, we begin a thoughtful inner dialogue to help us reflect, repent and prepare for Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). Throughout this period, we carefully examine our patterns, looking for cracked or damaged areas that may need healing. In addition, Elul provides a unique opportunity to look at any challenges and dreams.  What did we do well? How can we improve and make the coming year better?

This has been a challenging year!  Find the time and the space to reflect and prepare for the High Holidays. Use the ideas (below) to help guide your intention, prepare mentally, and heal spiritually. I hope the month of Elul brings you many opportunities for spiritual growth and loving connections.

“And above all, remember that the meaning of life is to build a life as if it were a work of art.” -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel)

IDEAS TO ENHANCE THOUGHTFUL PREPARATION:

1.Getting Started and Setting Intention  A self-inventory is not always easy. So, before you begin to ask yourself questions, focus on quieting your mind. Strive for a peaceful openheartedness. Find the best time and space to encourage introspection. Be very intentional. Use these simple steps to set your intention:

  • Find a Peaceful Physical Space and a Calming Time- Where do you feel balanced and have a sense of shalom (peace)? Everyone is different. Perhaps this is a room in your home or a backyard space? Perhaps, nature promotes healing and wholeness.  If so, a lovely garden, a spot near Lake Michigan or even a park bench may bring you tranquility. What time of day are you at your best? Are you more alert in the morning or at night? Some people feel calm and refreshed in the morning. Personally, I love the stillness in the evening; the quiet night brings me peace and focus. Find your best time of day.
  • Quiet Your Mind and Body, Then Find Your Intention- Try deep breathing to induce relaxation. Quieting your body and mind can help you feel balanced before you begin. Close your eyes. Take in a breath. Let it fill your lungs deeply. Hold the breath, and in this moment, set your intention toward inward reflection. Let out your breath. Unwind, feel your body relaxing. Breathe deeply and let your mind go.
  • Aligned Your Physical and Mental State- Now that you are focused and calm, you may feel more committed and open to the process of introspection.

“When you set an intention, the universe conspires to give you the inspiration to make it happen.” -Trish McKinnley

2. Asking Yourself Questions to Encourage Healthy Reflection Imagine each of us has our own Book of Life; it is filled with all our words and actions. Rabbi Jessica Barolsky (and others) uses this concept. She suggests the High Holidays is a time to pause and look back at our own Book of Life. Rabbi Barolsky asks, “What would you find in your divine notebook?” It is up to us to fill it with the good, rather than the bad. Ask yourself questions to encourage self-reflection and hope. Pick questions that speak to your soul. Here are a few to get you started:

  • During the Past Year, What Would Your Proudest Moments Be?- Perhaps your words or deeds made a difference in someone’s life. Who did you touch in a loving or a meaningful way? What have you done that fills your heart with joy and blessings?
  • What Would You Want to Change?- What habit would you like to break? What do you want to work on during the next year? Begin practicing habits that will make you proud next year (when you look back).
  • Do You Need to Say You Are Sorry?- Think about all the relationships you have. Who do you need to connect with- a partner, spouse, parent, child, or friend? Reach out and seek forgiveness to anyone you have hurt. It is never too late to apologize.
  • What Are You Grateful For?- Blessings and gratitude come in many forms and bring love and peace.  What are the simple pleasures that make you smile? What revitalizes you? Have you noticed daily blessings? Perhaps there have been larger, more monumental, ones?
  • What More Can You do in the Coming Year to Help Tikkun Olam– Repairing the World?- We each have an obligation to continue to mend our imperfect world.  Find a cause that matters to you, and work to bring in more kindness and love. Imagine if we all made a small contribution- how enormous the outcome would be!  Let’s all do our part. Wake up each morning, find a way to be grateful, and use energy helping others.

If you see what needs to be repaired and how to repair it, then you have found a piece of the world that G-d has left for you to complete. But if you only see what is wrong and what is ugly in the world, then it is you yourself that needs repair.”

Menachem Mendel Schneerson

3. Using Traditions and Ideas for Inspiration-  “Rosh Hashanah does not burst in upon us.” (-Arthur Waskow) We can use this time to make ourselves ready. Be fully engaged and present throughout the month of Elul; enhance your experience.

3. Try a Little Brain Health-  Regular mental fitness exercise can boost memory, focus, and mental skills. Give your brain a daily workout!

Try this Elul brain health exercise. Draw an outline of your family home. Describe each room. Add details about colors, scents, and what you feel and hear in your home. What blessings and memories fill your rooms? Recall these details during your reflection.

4. Check out a “Museum Moment”-  Ellie Gettinger, Education Director at Jewish Museum Milwaukee, sat down with Rabbi Moishe Steigmann to discuss how to approach the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. In thinking about this time of reflection, how do you plan on preparing for a new year? Click here for this (14 minute) video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8KF8lzGOBg

5. Find a COVID-19 Vaccine-  I strongly urge you to get a Covid-19 vaccine! The Covid virus has mutated, becoming stronger with the very contagious Delta Variant.  Are you and everyone you love vaccinated?  If not, please get vaccinated today!  Do it for yourself, your family, and your community. Click here to find a vaccine near you: https://www.vaccines.gov/   Many locations offer same day and walk-in appointments. Do you have additional questions? Click here for more information from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/

Set a goal so big you can’t achieve it until you grow into the person who can.”unknown

We have been through many challenges this year- in our world, in our community and in our families.  Certainly, there is no shortage of events and feelings to process! So, use this month to prepare, reflect and find additional meaning.  I hope the enclosed creative questions and ideas enhance your experience. Reflect on the past year and set goals and positive intentions for the year to come; recommit to the people, issues and connections that matter most.

As always, if you have a question related to aging, memory loss or caregiving, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I am here for you, and happy to help. You can find me here: DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org

Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,

Dana

  • August 23, 2021

Touch Points- A Spark of Light with Dana

Hello Friends,

I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.

Summertime in Milwaukee is THE BEST; our city has it all! …beautiful Lake Michigan, lovely parks, art, music, and exciting places to explore!  As a person that is ‘fully vaccinated,’ I am beginning to spend (face-to-face) time with people I love and venturing out.  That little ‘jab’ (shot) has made a monumental difference in my life. Although I continue to be careful and safe, getting immunized has provided a new sense of safety.  In fact, just last night, tears of joy ran down my face as I hugged dear friends for the first time in almost a year and half. My world has opened up as I am able to safely spend time with those I love and begin to partake in additional activities. I feel happiness and gratitude to be fully vaccinated and to experience these pleasures!

I want YOU to feel this too!  Have you received your Covid-19 vaccine yet? Getting a vaccine has never been easier.

Let’s make the most of this precious Milwaukee summertime!  Get your vaccine, and then safely take advantage of our beautiful town!   I hand-picked fun attractions and local gems for you; all the activities below can be easily adapted for loved ones with memory loss, or enjoyed as intergenerational activities. Additionally, many of these happenings don’t cost a dime!  With 19 clickable links and one delightful virtual invitation, you have gazillions of things to do! All you have to do is choose your favorite entertainment.

In addition, with Father’s Day just around the corner, use the ideas below as inspiration for your celebration!  On that note, I would like to give a shout-out to my two favorite Dads, my Father Howie, and my husband, Adam. I am blessed beyond measure to have these special men in my life. I love you lots!  Happy Father’s Day everyone; enjoy the day and the season!

“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.” -James Dent

Fun Milwaukee Summertime Ideas:

1.Spend Time Near the Water This is the season of outdoor fun, and our beautiful waters are a great city perk.  Spend a day, a few hours, or take a drive and enjoy the view from the car. Anyway you choose, you are sure to have a pleasurable outing. Summer is in the air and Milwaukee’s beautiful Lakefront (or other water source) is calling your name!

  • Discover a little Lakefront fun! Check out Bradford Beach or McKinley Marina- Sit on the beach, swim, watch a volleyball game, or just dip your toes in the water.  Whatever you do, Bradford Beach is sure to offer good people-watching and a lake breeze. Don’t forget to wear your hippest shades and bring/buy a cool drink.  Then, marvel at the McKinley Marina boats and the spectacular panoramic view!
  • Collect sunsets- Hit the Lake at sunset! Bring a snack, take in a cleansing breath, and savor the view. Breathtaking! How many sunsets will you see this summer?
  • Put on your walking shoes. Take a stroll or a bike ride along the Lakefront. Check out Lakeshore State Park: http://friendslsp.org/  Rent a paddle boat and cruise the lagoon on Veteran’s Park, right on Lincoln Memorial Drive. Click here for a map of the area: https://county.milwaukee.gov/files/county/parks-department/Park-Maps/Veterans1.pdf
  • Milwaukee Pierhead Lighthouse- Not only is this a fun afternoon excursion, this is another great photo opportunity! Snap a few pictures and feel like a model. Cindy Crawford eat your heart out!
  • The Milwaukee Riverwalk- Enjoy this fun two-mile walk downtown that is peppered with shops and restaurants. Along the way, stop and pose for a kitschy picture with The Bronze Fonz. “Aayyyyy!” Located on Wells Street, N Riverwalk Way.
  • There is no shortage of gorgeous water views in our city! Also, try the Menomonee River, the Milwaukee River or the Kinnickinnic River! Wander the Riverwalk or be adventurous in a kayak!

“Everyone should believe in something. I believe I should go to the beach.” -unknown

2. “Lions and Tigers and Bears… Oh my!”- Visit your favorite animals at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Our Zoo is home to over 3,000 animals! I have enjoyed this wholesome fun as a child, as a teen and even as an adult! Spend a few hours, or stay the entire day. This is a favorite for kids of all ages!

  • Click here to plan your Zoo visit: http://www.milwaukeezoo.org/
  • Did you know a new hippo habitat was completed last year? This is home to the Zoo’s two hippopotamus- a 40 year-old male, Happy, and a 52-year-old female, Patti.  Oy vey, Patti and I are the same age! Who knew?!? Click here to watch Happy swimming in the underwater viewing tank (41 second video).  http://www.milwaukeezoo.org/news/2021/hippohaven.php

Mazel Tov! Three new babies were recently born at the Zoo. The new babies include a bushbaby, a prehensile tailed porcupine and a Japanese macaque born on Monkey Island. Click here to read more about our newest additions, and see Mohol galago baby, Grogu, and mom making a special appearance. https://www.cbs58.com/news/the-milwaukee-county-zoo-welcomes-three-new-babies

3. Parks-  Did you know that we have over 150 parks?! After looking at this website you will be amazed at all the options! We have something for everyone! For example, there are:  scenic trails, golf courses, beer gardens, beaches and nature trails. Click here for the website and to look for just the perfect choice.  https://county.milwaukee.gov/EN/Parks  If it is harder to get out right now, no worries! On this website, click on “Nature Areas” and appreciate the beauty from home.  Since there are so many park options, I have highlighted a few.

  • Milwaukee’s Oak Leak Trail– This trail winds it’s way throughout the city and is a great way to enjoy greenery without leaving town. Click here to pick an area to start: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/wisconsin/oakleaf-trail-grant-park
  • You cannot go wrong at Lake Park. This Milwaukee gem has it all- winding paths, meadow-like areas, surprising vistas, and a view of the Lake. Before your visit, click here for more information. https://lakeparkfriends.org/visit/
  • Visit Doctors Park in the Fox Point/Bayside area. I have loved this park my entire life! This park has beautiful picnic areas, a great play area for your children/grandchildren, and a spectacular path to Lake Michigan’s beach. Spend a few hours there, and feel like you went on vacation.  For more info: https://www.doctorsparkfriends.org/

“I was made for sunny days.” -Unknown

4. The Famers Markets-  Honestly, shopping and roaming around a good Farmers Market is one of my top five things to do. I love it! Famers Markets are a true joy for the senses! Enjoy the fresh smells, feel the warm summer breeze and take in the bright colors and shapes!  To keep everyone safe, markets have Covid precautions in place. In addition, “a growing number of farmers markets across Milwaukee accept federal nutrition benefits such as SNAP, WIC, and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers.” So enjoy an open-air fresh market, support our local farmers, and eat healthier food! Click here for more information and to find your favorite location (or try a new one each week).   https://onmilwaukee.com/articles/farmers-markets-guide

5. Explore These Novel Ideas:

  • Milwaukee Public Market -This two-story market offers unique vendors and many delicious treats. Wander through the market and pick out lunch. For example, there is a variety of fish, chocolate, coffee and cheese. Just give it a try- you will not be disappointed! Click here to browse or for more information: https://milwaukeepublicmarket.org/
  • The Milky Way Drive-In- Want a little nostalgia? The Milky Way Drive-In is an outdoor movie theater at Ballpark Commons in Franklin, Wisconsin. This is the Milwaukee area’s first new drive-in theater in decades! Click here for more information and schedule: https://www.milkywaydrivein.com/home
  • Visit the Milwaukee Art Museum-  This striking building, designed by Sanitago Calatrava, will impress. The Milwaukee Art Museum is a jewel in our city! Make a point to visit at noon when the iconic “wings” on the Calatrava building “flap,” or walk into the main atrium and enjoy the breathtaking view from inside. Click here for more information and times: https://mam.org/   You can also click here to enjoy virtual tours and interesting videos:  https://mam.org/athome/
  • Outdoor Concerts- Almost any night of the summer, you can find a free outdoor concert. There are diverse locations and music. Pick your favorites and give a few a try.  This is an especially lovely treat on a warm summer night.  https://www.visitmilwaukee.org/articles/events/summer-music/

6. Stay a Little Closer to Home- Some of my favorite memories are in the backyard! If getting out is a little difficult these days, make summer memories closer to home. Why not try a summer potluck? Have friends/family bring something to share. Click here for crowd pleasing ideas: https://www.kosher.com/lifestyle/crowd-pleasing-recipes-for-easy-summer-entertaining-876 Make it even simpler, and serve finger foods like cheese and crackers, hummus and veggies and fresh fruit. Or, better still, feel the sunshine on your face as you eat a popsicle together. It doesn’t have to be complicated; it is the time together that matters.

“Collect moments not things.” -unknown

7. Try A Little Brain Health-  Regular mental fitness exercise can help your cognition. Print out these handouts and have fun keeping your brain fit. Enjoy the two attached exercises.

  • Using the letters of the alphabet, list all the words associated with outdoor activities.
  • Try a summer word search. Find and circle all the hidden words on the grid. The remaining letters spell a message about summer.

8. Check out a “Summer Camp Museum Moment”-   Ellie Gettinger, Education Director at the Jewish Museum Milwaukee discusses summer camp. Summer camp is a formative time for kids of all backgrounds. Every summer, children from all over the country flood into Wisconsin for summer camps, providing connection to lakes and forests throughout the state. Check out this ‘Museum Moment’ to learn more about the history of Jewish summer camps in our state. Did you go to a summer camp? How did getting outside (be it in nature or a different routine) impact who you are?  Click here: https://youtu.be/mKnZ3YYnnrg

9. Looking for a Special Event? -You Are Invited to “Life Through Art and Film: Project Hue”   Please join us for an uplifting and innovative event that highlights the lives of people we serve in Ovation Adult Day Services. “Life Through Art and Film: Project Hue” is scheduled virtually on Thursday, June 24th from 3-4PM. Sit back and enjoy life stories through paintings and short videos. There will be a live Q&A following the event. By attending, you help the honorees celebrate their lives. The invitation and Zoom link are below. Simply click on the Zoom link to join this inspiring program!

 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85750658469?pwd=Y2licjdhVWpQR1dsZ3drQWFKbGlBQT09

“Hello summer, I have been waiting for you.” Unknown

I hope these ideas elevate your Father’s Day celebration and summertime fun!  Get your vaccine, and safely enjoy the many fabulous activities Milwaukee has to offer. As always, if you have a question related to aging, memory loss or caregiving, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I am here for you, and happy to help. You can find me here: DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org

Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,

Dana

  • June 24, 2021

Touch Points- A Spark of Light with Dana

Hello Friends,

I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.

There is a good reason why moms hold a special place in our hearts. Mom’s love unconditionally, help keep us healthy, teach us lessons/values, support and sustain us emotionally, lift us up when we need it most, and are (forever) our number one fan! Although Mother’s Day is not a Jewish holiday, the Torah tells us to honor our mothers at all times.  A mother’s commitment and devotion are, often, the foundation of the family. This Sunday is Mother’s Day, the day we honor and celebrate our mothers/step-mothers/foster mothers/grandmothers/bubbes.

In my last Touch Points I talked about celebrating Earth Day every day. Now, with Mother’s Day around the corner, my message is similar; every day should be a day we celebrate and show appreciation for our mothers. If you are lucky, like me, to have a wonderful mom, it is difficult to adequately find the words to say thank you for the countless blessings she provides.  Thank you Mom- I love you more than words can say! In addition, many of us are also blessed with other types of motherly love.  Blessings overflow when you add the love of grandmothers, a mothers-in-law, and cherished aunts. (I am biased, but I have the best!)  Being surrounded by motherly devotion, passion and commitment, is a recipe for unparalleled love and guidance. One might even call it winning the “Motherly Trifecta!”  So, this Sunday, find a way to celebrate and honor your mother, and also remember and honor her every day.

“Who needs superheroes when I have Mom?” -unknown

Celebrating Mothers:

1. Did you Know we Have a Jewish Mother’s Day? On our Jewish calendar, the 11th of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan commemorates the passing of our matriarch Rachel. This is a lesser known holiday, and is thought of a Jewish Mother’s Day (of sorts). Click here to read this interesting article from Rabbi Judy Chessin. She discusses the holiday and why Rachel was chosen as the “quintessential Jewish mother.” https://daytonjewishobserver.org/2011/06/celebrate-mothers-day-the-jewish-way/

 

2. Remember Special Motherly Memories and Feelings- Mental imagery and visualization are powerful tools that can improve mood and support positive mental health. So, since moms often bring us many blessings and joy, let’s pause for a moment and remember a cherished motherly memory that brings you happiness. Breathe deeply and close your eyes. Think of the beautiful motherly love that surrounded you in any way. Even if that person/or people are no longer alive and not here with us physically, visualize them in your mind, and picture them surrounding you with glittering love. Fill your heart with their glowing presence; feel their deep love. Motherly love and positive images can be healing and boost positivity.

3. Motherly Wisdom-  A mom has a way of saying things- often imparting wisdom (when you want it, and sometimes when you don’t) through idioms and expressions. Below are a list of what Rabbi Avis Miller calls “ Momilies,” and my own Mom’s “Momilies” follow. What “Momilies” did you hear growing up? I bet you have your own! Think of them and smile.

  • You get more flies with honey than with vinegar.
  • Never go out of the house without lipstick. You never know whom you’ll meet.
  • When you praise yourself, it stinks;  when relatives praise you, it limps; when strangers praise you it sounds great.
  • You can’t put your head on their shoulders.
  • If you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all.
  • Tomorrow, tomorrow just not today—that’s what all the lazy folks say.
  • Too much is unhealthy.
  • What will people think?!
  • It’s either feast or famine.

These are a few of my Mom Arlene’s favorite “Momilies.” I have learned from them, take them to heart and repeat them to myself and to my children. My Mom has been and continues to be a wonderful teacher, guiding force, listener and friend.

  • “There is always light at the end of the tunnel.”- I am SO grateful for this Momilie! Even in the darkness, look toward the light and keep hope in your heart. This has helped propel me through difficult times, and is a wonderful lesson for life.
  • “It’s never greener on the other side.” My Mom took this one step in the Jewish direction and kind of “Yiddish-ized” it by saying, “You don’t want what ‘Yenim’ has.” …I have often wondered- who the heck is Yenim anyway?!? Is this even a name? Well, Yenim or no Yenim… this is another wonderful lesson: remain happy with what you have.

4. Mothers Teach, By Showing- A wanted to share a sweet story about my wonderful Mother-in-law, Judy. Many moons ago when my husband, Adam, and I were dating, I met his parents for the first time. It was a big deal; his parents flew in from Arizona and met us in Chicago, where Adam was living. During the visit, they wanted to buy Adam a gift, so we went shopping on busy Michigan Avenue. While browsing around the Crate and Barrel store,  I accidently walked backwards into an enormous, four-foot, cone-shaped display of 50+ glasses. Yes, you guessed it!  The glasses promptly toppled to the ground with an enormous crash!  I stood in the store, frozen and horrified, and turned about 50 shades of red. However, at that very moment, in the bustling store, my wonderful mother-in-law-to-be screamed, “MAZEL TOV!” She told me that as long as I wasn’t hurt, all was okay- “because only the display glasses were broken, not me.”  Twenty four years later, we still laugh about this ridiculous, sweet memory. I will never forget this important lesson, her kindness, humor and warmth. Through their actions, moms show us what is really important. Thank you Mom!

“Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a Mother.” -unknown

5. Get into the Mood with a Mother’s Day Movie or a Movie Marathon!-  Trying to find a good Mother’s Day flick to watch? Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Lady Bird– (2017 movie) Laurie Metcalf received a Best Supporting Actress Nomination for her performance as the Mother.
  • Brave– (2012 movie) Much time is devoted to the mother- daughter relationship in this delightful movie. Click here for the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEHWDA_6e3M
  • Mamma Mia– (2008 musical) There is a strong mother-daughter bond in this uplifting and fun musical. If you like the music of ABBA (I do! I do!), then you will enjoy this movie. Click here for the official trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCVpJ8x1Tnc
  • Soul Food– (1997) Sisters gather on Sundays at Mother Joe’s.
  • Little Women– (multiple versions made) The 1994 movie adaptation, is my favorite. Susan Sarandon plays the matriarch. Click here for the tailor:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWn4h2YLxGA
  • The Joy Luck Club– (1993) Based on the best selling novel by Amy Tan.

6. Try A Little Motherly Brain Health-  Here are a few exercises to try. Try them by yourself, or see how many you can come up with together. How did you do?

  • To celebrate mothers, name 20 of history’s greatest moms, and what made them great.
  • Make a list of all the famous mothers you can think of.
  • Want a challenge? How many of Hollywood’s famous mother and daughter actresses can you list? Extra points if any mothers and daughters were in the same film.


7.  Watch a Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s “Conversation Starter”:  Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s Education Director, Ellie Gettinger, had a conversation with Ellen Bravo about her organization, Family Values at Work, which has been working to create a paid sick leave for families. Ellen talks about her experience trying to balance work and children, and the challenges that working families face today. Women, both as mothers and daughters, face the brunt of maintaining Shalom Bayit (household peace) in times of sickness. Have you ever experienced this? What do families and mothers, especially, need to ensure that they are supported? Click here to watch this important conversation: https://youtu.be/YY8EsMQ4LAU

“All of us are guided by the most powerful of all the angles- our mother.” unknown

I am sending love and my warmest wishes to all. I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day, and I hope you feel loved and appreciated every day.  As always, if you have a question related to aging, memory loss or caregiving, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I am here for you, and happy to help. You can find me here: DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org

Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,

Dana

  • May 10, 2021

Touch Points- A Spark of Light with Dana

Hello Friends,

I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.

Earth Day’s official celebration was on April 22, but what if we disregarded this date?  Why choose one particular day each year? Instead, let’s think about the earth every day of the year!  After all, isn’t every day, a day to celebrate and care for our beautiful world??!!

Earth Day began in 1970, and is now a global event celebrated in more than 193 countries!  This worldwide happening was established to demonstrate support for environmental protection. All people want to breathe clean air, eat food from healthy soil, drink safe water and live in a healthy climate.  “Protecting our planet is not just a scientific or political issue. It is a religious, spiritual imperative. We find this truth embodied in three core Jewish values.” (Reformjudaism.org)  In the article, “Judaism and Earth Day: Three Things to Remember,” Rabbi Evan Moffic explains three core values. “The first is captured in the phrase l’dor v’dor: the imperative that we pass our earth from “generation to generation.” “The second critical value is bal tashchit. In Hebrew that means, “do not destroy.” “The final critical value is shomrei adamah, which means “guardians of the earth.” Click here to read the entire article:  https://reformjudaism.org/beliefs-practices/social-justice-reform-judaism/judaism-and-earth-day-three-things-remember

Many of us want to do more and care for our planet, but don’t know where, or how to start. Here is the good news… You don’t have to be an environmental scientist to make a difference! In fact, each of us has the power to make a meaningful change. Today we will learn more about the simple, sometimes ordinary, ways we can each protect Mother Earth and celebrate Earth Day, every day!

As always, I am thinking about our friends caring for someone with memory loss. Some of the ideas listed below may interest your loved one.  Encourage his/her participation- making modifications based on abilities. By involving your loved one, you may create a meaningful moment that improves his/her emotional well-being.

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” -Jane Goodall

Ways to Celebrate Earth Day, Every Day:

1. Educate Yourself Learning is the key to understanding what we can do to protect the environment and this glorious world! Read and understand the importance of our natural resources. Then, see what you can do to help. Once you understand more, please share the information with others that are interested. There are many websites to look at. Here are a variety to get you started:

“It is our collective and individual responsibility…

to preserve and tend to the world in which we all live.” -Dalai Lama

2. Ten Easy, Environmentally Friendly Ideas!- What habits or behaviors can we tweak slightly to make a difference? If we each do our tiny part, then collectively, we can make a massive change!  Read the easy (and very doable) ideas below, get inspired, and make Earth Day, every day. It’s simpler than you think!

    • Put a Recycling Plan in Place –Are you already recycling? Terrific! Perhaps you still have a few questions about what goes where and what is accepted. If you live in Ovation Communities and have questions, we are always happy to help! -Just ask. If you live in the Milwaukee community, take a look at your local areas to see what is accepted. Here is the website for Milwaukee County recycling. Please check your suburb or village for specific information.
      Click here for City of Milwaukee recycling information:  https://city.milwaukee.gov/recycle/What-Can-I-Recycle
    • Bring Your Own Shopping Bag- Plastic bags can harm wildlife, clog recycling machines and sit in a landfill or ocean for years! Instead, use a reusable bag. There are even cute, or funky options! -Look stylish and help the environment! If you are good with a needle and thread, try repurposing an old piece of clothing/cloth and turn it into a bag. Who knew you were so savvy?! For a variety of tutorials/directions about making your own bags from kitchen towels, t-shirts, sweaters or pillowcases, (and many other ideas!) click here:  https://www.organicauthority.com/live-grow/15-ideas-for-making-repurposed-reusable-grocery-bags  Make a point to have a reusable shopping bag in your car, and/or fold a small bag and put in your purse. Always be prepared!
    • Reuse and Repurpose- Recycling still has a carbon footprint, so try to reduce waste and reuse items when possible.  A few personal anecdotes…  As the youngest female cousin on both sides of my family, growing up I received tons of hand-me-down clothes from my older cousins. When a batch of new items arrived, I couldn’t wait to sort through them and find my new favorites. To me, it felt like Chanukah!  In addition, as a college student and young adult, I repurposed end tables and bookshelves previously used. By painting them, they turned into lovely pieces that were perfect for my needs. So, next time you are done wearing a gently worn sweater, or are done using a table, please do not throw them out. Instead, consider giving them to a relative, friend or donating to a local charity. Chances are, these items still have value.
    • Buy a Reusable Bottle- Is there anything more convenient than free water from your own tap? Please start using your reusable water bottle or invest in a new glass bottle. This will help reduce the plastic burden on landfills, oceans, and streams. Reusable bottles are good for the environment; and so easy to fill!
    • Use Energy Efficient LED Lightbulbs- Energy efficient lightbulbs reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These bulbs last longer, save money, time (replacing the bulbs) and energy.
    • Turn Off the Light When you Leave the Room- Also, open your drapes and use natural light when you are able!
    • Pay Your Bills Online- While I realize that not everyone is tech-savvy enough to do this, you might give it a try. It’s greener, saves money and time.
    • Use Scrap Paper- This seems like an easy choice. Flip over the paper you just used, and use the other side.
    • Fix Leaky Faucets- Boy that drip, drip, dripping is annoying… isn’t it? …Well, it’s also not good for the environment or your pocketbook either!
    • Repurpose Leftover Jars- Often, when our college-age son, Herschey, comes home, we send him back to his apartment with leftovers (made with love). I clean old containers (in the dishwasher first!) and reuse them for this purpose. They are perfect.  I have also used old mason jars or jelly jars to hold buttons, pens and pencils and grow plants. The possibilities are endless! Have fun! For example, here are 22 creative and decorative uses for mason jars: https://www.tidbitsandtwine.com/22-creative-decorative-uses-for-mason-jars/

“We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” (-Native American Proverb)

 

3. Get Inspired With These Activity Ideas:

    • Watch Jane Goodall’s short film called Mother Earth. We are so fortunate to learn from this remarkable woman. Please watch this important 6 minute video. Click here: https://youtu.be/48mxaQtbUdU
    • Watch this 1.5 minute video called Nature is Speaking. Actress, Julia Roberts narrates this powerful and moving piece. Click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmVLcj-XKnM

“The earth has music for those who listen.” (-Shakespeare)

    • Plant a Tree- Planting a tree will add health and wellness to our earth. “As trees grow, they help climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air and storing carbon in the trees and soil, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. Trees provide many benefits to us, every day. They offer cooling shade, block cold winter winds, attract birds and wildlife, purify our air, prevent soil erosion, clean our water, and add grace and beauty to our homes and communities.” (-arborday.org)
    • Get in Touch with Nature- Take a walk outside and soak up the healing energy in our natural world. Stroll through one of our beautiful parks or walk along Lake Michigan. As your walk, be mindful and appreciative of the beauty that surrounds you.

Our trees are our lungs, the rivers our circulation, the air our breath and the earth our body.” (Deepak Chopra)

    • Stargaze- At night, sit outside an marvel at our beautiful night sky. Enjoy a sense of wonder as you look up toward the heavens. Make your stargazing experience unforgettable: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/nightskies/stargaze.htm
    • Enjoy an Outside Farmers Market- As the weather warms, put on a mask on and shop outside. Buying food locally and fresh is fun, delicious and nourishes the body. Enjoy fresh fruits and veggies. In addition, family farmers need our support, and buying locally helps the environment. The food is transported shorter distances and, generally, the growing methods minimize the impact of the earth. Farmers markets are one of my favorite pastimes; they honestly make me happy!  Plan your next trip with the Shepherd Express’ 2021 Farmers Market Guide:  https://shepherdexpress.com/food/eat-drink/2021-farmers-market-guide/ I would love to hear which markets are your favorites!

 

4. Try A Little Earth Day Brain Health-  Print out the attached brain health worksheet, complete, and then check your answers with the attached key. The letters of the words are tossed and wrenched out of their proper positions. Can you reconstruct the original word out of the jumble?

 

5. Watch a “Museum Moment”:  Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s Curator, Molly Dubin interviews artists from the New York-based Jewish Art Salon about their work inspired by trees. How does nature inspire you? Click here to watch this interesting 15 minute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWQMKwaNAYU&list=PLl-OCNr_mRXQ7DNfR6PSo4K0qdmYGmlz4&index=94&t=3s

 I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that I can do.” (-Jana Stanfield)

 

Our tiny, every day efforts can make a huge impact on our world. Let’s commit to Tikkun Olam– repairing our world; there is always something more we can do! What change or modification will you make to help save the planet? Pick one or two ideas from the list above.

As always, if you have a question related to aging, memory loss or caregiving, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I am here for you, and happy to help. You can find me here: DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org

Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,

Dana

  • April 29, 2021

Touch Points – A Spark of Light with Dana

Hello Friends,

I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.

Of course, we have all heard of spring cleaning, but what if we expanded this idea and focused on a mental spring cleaning? This year has been full of challenges and extreme stress.  We have been through it all- anxiety, sadness, grief, and chaos.  What has helped you remain resilient? What messages did you send yourself during the rocky patches? We each have the unique ability to direct our own paths. In fact, the messages we send ourselves can influence us individually, can impact our relationships and can even change the way we interact with our world!  Our words and thoughts matter; positive messages have the power to bring comfort, peace and even help us heal.

What are affirmations? Simply put, positive affirmations are positive phrases, statements or beliefs used to challenge negative thoughts. “Generally, they are used to manifest goals, dreams or experiences we desire.” (Dr. Tchiki Davis, Ph.D.) While there are no “hard rules” about the practice of using affirmations, if used regularly, they can help us modify a negative personal narrative (or belief) about ourself- shifting our mind toward the positive.  Today, I will focus on how positive self-talk and affirmations are powerful tools that can bring clarity, increase self-confidence and foster an optimistic attitude.

How do I start? First, identify your trouble spot(s). Then, look below for a wide variety of options to fit your concern, or create your own positive affirmation that is meaningful to you. Choose a statement or phrase that resonates with you and encourages positive, happy feelings and thoughts. Then, repeat the thought in your mind. It’s easy! Positive affirmations are more likely to make an impact if you follow these tips: use the present (verb) tense, say the affirmation out loud (when possible), choose an affirmation that is meaningful to you, create a feeling when you say the affirmation, add a visual image to your thought to make it clearer, say the affirmation regularly, and be kind to yourself. I hope affirmations and positive self-talk will help you stay hopeful, grateful and calm. If you have never tried affirmations, I strongly encourage you to give them a whirl. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the power of your inner voice.

“You will never speak to anyone more than you speak to yourself in your head. Be kind to yourself.”Unknown

 

Mental Spring Cleaning- How Positive Self-Talk Can Help You Find Acceptance, Balance and Optimism:

1.Start Your Day With a Positive Message- Begin your day with a positive inner dialogue. If you find that the morning hours are harder, be very intentional with the first messages you send yourself. Switch to a positive, light tone. You have the power to change your perspective! To get you going in the morning, try saying these affirmations or other ideas:

    • “I open my eyes to the light around me.”
    • “The sunshine fills me with energy and joy.”
    • Recite the beautiful Modeh Ani morning prayer upon waking. During the prayer, we thank G-d for  “returning my soul to me.” Start your day in profound gratitude for the gift of life.  Approach the day with love and appreciation.
    • “I choose to be happy.”
    • Listen carefully to the birds outside and marvel at the beauty right outside our door. What else is waiting for you to enjoy today?

“Your mind is a garden. Your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers, or you can grow weeds.” (-Unknown)

2. Positive Self-Talk Can Motivate and Boost Your Confidence- Hearing words of encouragement can motivate, boost confidence and support resilience. Thinking the words is helpful, but if you are able to say the words out loud, they may provide even more weight. (Of course, speaking aloud is not always possible.) Here are a few positive motivating messages for different situations:

    • “Today is going to be incredible.”
    • “I am one step closer to my goals.” This is a favorite and can work in a variety of situations! For example, if you are trying to lose weight, it can help motivate you to stay on track (even if you have lost a pound!), or use this phrase if you are “chunking up” a big project into smaller, more manageable tasks. This is a great strategy for school, work or anything that seems daunting. Slowly, continue your progress toward whatever your goal may be; remind yourself of improvement with this positive phrase.
    • “I am worthy of my dreams.”
    • “Opportunity is everywhere.”

3. End Your Day With a Positive Affirmation-  Help your subconscious mind drift off to sleep with these positive bed time affirmations. If your current thoughts make sleep difficult, turn them off, and replace them with these messages. Let your body find peace and a rest with these thoughts:

    • “I let go of my worry and what I cannot control.”
    • “I am calm and peaceful.”
    • “I breathe deeply and I am filled with content.”
    • “I am thankful for today and everything I have.”
    • “I am safe and healthy.”
    • “I give myself permission to relax.”
    • “Tomorrow is full of new possibilities.”

4. Positive Statements and Affirmations Can Decrease Stress and Help us Cope- Practicing good habits and positive words are helpful reminders for positive living. You can say these affirmations when you are having a harder day, if you aren’t feeling well, or need a little pick-me-up. Try these:

    • “I leave my worries behind.”
    • “I am peaceful.”
    • “I let go of my stress and tension.”
    • “I am resilient.”
    • “My body is strong and healthy.”
    • “I can take things one step at a time.”
    • “This is tough, but so am I.”
    • “I will stay strong, and things will get better.”
    • “I haven’t figured this out…yet.” – I love the power of the word “yet.” A tiny word, with a mighty message that is powerful for any age. Adding the word “yet” to anything you haven’t mastered or are intimidated by, will boost your confidence and give you motivation to complete the task. For children, this is part of the “Growth Mindset” curriculum, but as I said, it is great for any age.

5. Asking for Help is a Sign of Strength: Everyone experiences emotions of sadness, joy, fear and loneliness.  Sometimes, self-talk is not enough; these feelings may be especially overwhelming or difficult to cope with. That’s okay. In fact, Jewish texts speak to this and remind us that we have a responsibility to care for our mental health. Asking for help from a trusted friend or a mental health professional may help you find relief. You are not alone; there are resources and supports available. Asking for help, sharing your problems and showing your vulnerability is a sign of strength. If you need resources or would like to speak to a trained counselor, it would be my pleasure to help you find a good fit.

If you are in crisis now, please get help immediately by:

    • Calling 911
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish
    • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522

You ask for help. Not because you are weak. But because you want to remain strong.”Les Brown

 

6. Try Brain Health-  Print out the attached brain health exercises and enjoy a little positivity!

    • Try the attached worksheet called “I Look Forward to…” Completing this exercise will enhance your joy as you recall simple daily, weekly, monthly and yearly events that you appreciate.
    • Try the worksheet attached entitled “ Intentional Actions to Choose Happiness” and watch your blessings increase!

7.Watch a Museum Moment:  Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s Education Director, Ellie Gettinger interviews  Jay Hyland, Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s Archives Director, as they discuss ways you can research your family history using the Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s resources. What do you know about your genealogical history? Learning more about your family history might uncover new stories, and provide beneficial historical information. Click here to watch this 13 minute video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIfHG8iNJdM

 Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.” –unknown

I hope this Touch Points provides a new understanding about our ability to influence our feelings and perspective.  Through our thoughts, we each have the power to increase our joy and optimism. Please let me know what affirmations were helpful. I would sincerely love to hear. As always, if you have a question related to aging, memory loss or caregiving, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I am here for you, and happy to help. You can find me here: DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org

Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,

Dana

  • April 29, 2021

Touch Points – A Spark of Light with Dana

Hello Friends,

I hope you and your family are well. I am thinking of you and sending my positive thoughts and prayers. We are missing everyone, and hope to bridge the distance through this electronic connection.

Are you feeling restless? Truth be told, I have a little shpilkes myself! (That’s Yiddish, for “ants in your pants.”) Not to worry, I am here to help!  Today we will harness our inner creativity, and find ways to bring this beautiful world into our lives.  Without leaving our sofas, we are going to creatively travel from home! Get ready to enjoy some of the most beautiful and intriguing areas in the world.  I encourage you to click on every website, learn about new spots and visualize yourself in that local. Like me, I know you have a little wanderlust!

So, I say, “BE GONE SHPILKES!”  Because…
It’s bad manners to keep a vacation waiting.” (-unknown)

 Plenty to See and to Enjoy:

1.We are off to Paris first! I absolutely love an unplanned travel day- strolling around and taking in the sights. So, put on your favorite walking shoes, and let’s meander through the Parisian streets. We will find our way to a boulangerie (French bakery) for a strong cup of coffee and mouthwatering bread.  We need our sustenance, of course, before we see the Eiffel Tower!  Have you ever visited? Head to the top and marvel at the amazing view! (Move your curser around the image to see different sights!)   https://artsandculture.google.com/streetview/tour-eiffel/sAHt5Gv4YGH84Q?hl=en&sv_lng=2.294697006132574&sv_lat=48.85816565109427&sv_h=180&sv_p=0&sv_pid=Pe03wIAND2

“I don’t know where I am going, but I am on my way.” (-Voltaire)

 

2. Next stop is one of the undisputed marvels of nature.  We are going “Down Under” to the Great Barrier Reef!  Put on your snorkel gear and we will get close to the unique marine animals and plants in this incredible spot. Enjoy National Geography’s fascinating video on Coral Reefs. (4 minutes) Click here:  https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=great+barrier+reef+images&&view=detail&mid=C527DC955694C0C422A1C527DC955694C0C422A1&&FORM=VDRVRV

“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” (-Dalai Lama)

 

3. Our next excursion is magnificent! Have you been to Victoria Falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe? I have not had the pleasure, and can’t wait to go! This is one of the earth’s largest waterfalls- reaching 355 feet in height and spanning across an entire mile! Victoria Falls is one of the World’s Seven Natural Wonders. Click here to watch a 2 minute video about Victoria Falls and the canyons below. https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Victoria+Falls+National+Park&&view=detail&mid=9451962C553ACAD934519451962C553ACAD93451&&FORM=VRDGAR&ru=%2Fvideos%2Fsearch%3Fq%3DVictoria%2BFalls%2BNational%2BPark%26FORM%3DRESTAB

“There is no time to be bored in a world as beautiful as this.” (-familyoffduty.com)

 

4. Next jaunt is a little closer to home. Let’s check out Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.  Choose your favorite way to take in this amazing national treasure by hiking, rafting or having coffee with a ranger on the rim! There are countless breathtaking views to enjoy. Click here:  https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/photosmultimedia/virtualtour.htm

 

5. I have always wanted to go to the Amalfi Coast in Italy.  While we enjoy a delicious dinner, we will overlook the cliffside town and deep blue sea. I am having a giant portion of pasta because I have read that “vacation calories don’t count!”  (I realize this is wishful thinking, but since it’s a pretend plate of pasta, I am okay!) Click here for things to do in this magical area: https://www.fodors.com/world/europe/italy/amalfi-coast/experiences/news/ultimate-things-to-do-along-the-amalfi-coast

“I wish travel therapy was covered by my health insurance.” (-Anonymous)

 

6. All this travel has made me exhausted, so I am ready to kick back and enjoy a lovely island paradise! Grab your favorite umbrella drink and let’s relax in Bora Bora!  Not sure what to drink? Click here for 22 non-alcoholic summer drinks: https://www.delish.com/food/g2164/non-alcoholic-drinks/  Bora Bora is a gorgeous green slice of heaven located in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. Of course, we will stay in the most luxurious overwater bungalow- complete with incredible views of the turquoise lagoon.  Click here to see a picture of our stunning accommodations: https://travelintense.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/borabora_overwaterbungalow.jpg

“I wanna go to Bora Bora but I am Poora Poora” (-thehollapinos.com)

 

7. Let’s head back home and be a tourist in our home town. The Jewish Museum Milwaukee is hosting a book talk with Bader Philanthropies, Inc. for their new book about Helen Daniels Bader. The author, and Helen’s son and niece will be addressing her life and legacy, with a focus on her introduction and interest to Alzheimer’s and Dementia work. Helen was a social worker at the Jewish Home, inspired to serve by Nita Corre and subsequently developed the vision for, and provided substantial funding for, the creation of Ovation Communities Helen Bader Center- maintained and nurtured by the continuing support of Bader Philanthropies. The book talk will take place on Wednesday, March 10th at 12noon- 1:00PM. The link will also be available on Jewish Museum Milwaukee’s YouTube channel and Facebook page after the fact. For more information and to RSVP, click here: https://jewishmuseummilwaukee.org/events/virtual-book-talk-an-independent-spirit/

8. We need a little music to go with this travel!  Pick your favorite tune to accompany your trip. Here are a few fun travel choices to put you in the mood. Do you have a different favorite travel song? I would love to hear.

    • Listen to “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin. This song will make you smile, and is the perfect way to get into the mood. Click here for his official video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-diB65scQU
    • Enjoy Willie Nelson’s famous song, “On the Road Again.” Here is a 1982 version with Glen Campbell and Willie Nelson. Click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0egacrZcBA
    • Everyone loves John Denver’s song “Leaving, On a Jet Plane. This song always works! Click here for the audio of his “Greatest Hits” version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9sf7C7D3nk
    • Listen to “Summertime, Summertime” by the Jamies when you are longing for the warm, lazy days of summer. This song never gets old! Enjoy this audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TK_z73tVbgU
    • “I’ve Been Everywhere” by Johnny Cash is the perfect song for those people have done a lot of traveling!  This link has a video storyboard with lyrics.  Make sure you sing out loud. I did, and I have been singing ever since! Click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ov4epAJRPMw

9. Try travel themed brain health-  Here are three different brain health exercises. Complete one each day!

    • Write a list of all the places you have traveled and your most memorable moment. Use your senses to recall the details; do a visual tour in your mind.
    • Print out the attached brain health worksheet. Fifty famous throughfares, areas or landmarks are listed. See how many of these famous cities you can identify.
    • Print out the attached blank USA map and fill in the states. If that was a breeze, then try to add the state capitals. How did you do?

“Because when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing.” (-Dr. Seuss)

Thank you for traveling with me today. I loved it! It is always wonderful to “get away.” As always, if you have a question related to aging, memory loss or caregiving, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I am here for you, and happy to help. You can find me here: DRubin-Winkelman@ovation.org

Thinking of you and sending all my positive energy and love,

Dana

  • April 29, 2021