Preparing for the holiday season in Northeast Georgia

From Elberton to Athens to Covington . . .

The Northeast Georgia Area Agency on Aging  serves a 12-county region in Northeast Georgia, including the Granite Capital of the World (Elberton in Elbert County), the home of the Georgia Bulldogs (Athens in Clarke County), and our own film-ready town (Covington in Newton County – do you recognize scenes from Sweet Home Alabama or the Vampire Diaries?).

Each of our senior centers has its own unique personality, too! Examples of activities offered include Zumba, ceramics, gospel choir, Bridge, Bingo, quilting club, walking club, senior yoga, and more! Our older adults enjoy a variety of weekly activities and special events, such as grocery shopping day, outings to Mayfield Dairy or Gibbs Gardens, and tailgating cookouts or Varsity Hamburgers and Hotdogs. Our wonderful senior center directors give of their time, creativity, and resources to provide enriching experiences for all of the older adults in our region.  

We currently offer the Living Well Chronic Disease Self-Management Program, A Matter of Balance falls prevention program, and Powerful Tools for Caregivers in our region. These evidence-based programs help our older adults manage chronic conditions or feel empowered when caring for a loved one with chronic conditions.

We also provide a monthly newsletter to our senior centers and several community partners with articles about pertinent nutrition, physical activity, lifestyle management, and medication management topics – as well as a simple but yummy recipe! You’ll find sample articles from our November newsletter below focusing on preparing for the holiday season.

For more information about wellness programs in the Northeast Georgia area, visit www.negahealthmatters.org or call Whitney Bignell at (706) 542-4067.

Too Busy to Exercise

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are upon us yet again (and aren’t we excited?)! Here are some ideas to help you fit in activity during this busy season.

Stepping It Up

You don’t need a treadmill or track to get in more aerobic activity. Walk around the perimeter of the mall or grocery store once before you start shopping to get in extra steps.

Going for the Stretch

Sitting in the car or standing in lines can lead to stiffness. Do shoulder rolls, look side-to-side for neck stretches, and bend your knees to stretch your Achilles tendon and calf muscles to stay limber while you wait.

Strength in Cooking

Before opening cans while preparing dinner, do a few bicep curls to strengthen your arms, or do a few squats while waiting on a timer.

Care for the Caregiver

Being the caregiver for a loved one or family member with a chronic or debilitating condition can take its toll on you physically and especially emotionally. Infusing joy back into your life can help you better deal with the stress of care giving.

 Here are some tips:

  1. Create a joyful journal and add joyous, funny memories or things you notice throughout your day that make you happy.
  2. Celebrate the little things and treat yourself well. Take time out to pamper yourself.
  3. Eat well. When you are always putting others first, you may rush through your meals, skip meals, or not eat nutritiously. Make time for healthy eating and self-care, which will make you a better caregiver in the long run.
  4. Exercise when you can. This will boost your mood and energy. Even a slow walk outside can have benefits physically and emotionally.
  5. Surround yourself with happy and supportive people.
  6. Talk joyfully around the person you are caring for. Recall happy or funny memories with them, even if they don’t respond. It helps to remind you that your life consists of more than care giving.
  7. Cultivate gratitude. Research has shown that gratitude is associated with greater happiness. Your life may be full of uncertainties and difficult emotions, but finding things to be thankful for can help improve your mood.

Slow Cooker Garlic Parmesan Chicken and Potatoes (Serves 8)

With the holiday season upon us, it’s nice to have at least a few “set it and forget it” recipes up our sleeves for busy shopping and decorating days. This delicious Slow Cooker Garlic Parmesan Chicken and Potatoes is perfect for cooler evenings – and you’ll probably have enough for leftovers the next day! (Recipe courtesy of delish.com)

Ingredients

  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 lbs. baby red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Season chicken with basil, oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, skin-side down, and sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side; drain excess fat and set chicken aside.
  3. Place potatoes into a 6-qt slow cooker. Stir in olive oil, garlic, and thyme; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add chicken to the slow cooker in an even layer.
  4. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours, or until the chicken is completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165° F.
  5. Serve immediately, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and garnished with parsley, if desired.

1 thought on “Preparing for the holiday season in Northeast Georgia

Leave a Comment