Around the Island

Richard’s Almanac: Christmas brings hope to beat COVID

From what I’ve seen, people are more ready than ever to get into the Christmas spirit as 2020 wanes. And I am one of them.

I never started putting up holiday decorations this early, but decided, “What the heck, I need to put a spark in these dreary times.”

So I bought my undecorated wreaths, attached the red ribbons I save from year to year and hung them on all the windows on the front of my house. It was painstaking, but I loved it. And I am very pleased with the result. I was a bit nervous about going up the ladder to attach them, but I made it O.K. It was worth it.

I can forget about COVID as I enjoy the look and scent of the wreaths.

And speaking of COVID, with the vaccine almost here, a recent AARP email listed the anticipated side effects of the vaccine. From what author Rachel Naria says, there might be injection site pain, fatigue, muscle aches and pains, joint pain and headache.

These were seen in the short-term effects of the trials. Seniors are also warned not to stop safety monitoring and also to be diligent about getting the second shot.

From what I’ve read and heard, these shots should be ready for New Yorkers very soon.

So let’s think positively as we gear up for the holidays. Hanukkah starts Friday and Kwanzaa is on December 26.

The holiday season also is a time when alcoholic beverages are more common. Seniors have to be vigilant about alcohol consumption because the aging body handles it differently than the younger one. Older people are generally on medications that also might not react well with alcohol.

I guess that abstinence is probably the best course for seniors to take to avoid any side effects.

Meanwhile, I heard from Sara Mundy at the Senior Center that December is still full of virtual activities. Seated Zumba Gold  will continue on Tuesdays and seated functional fitness will be on Thursdays. Music trivia and light movement continues on Mondays.

Members of the Silver Circle should call for information about their Wednesday activities. The number for the Senior Center is 631-749-1059. The Center will be closed on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

On another subject, another e-mail from AARP that I think worth sharing is called “7 Aches and Pains Never to Ignore.”

They are:

• Pain with a loss of function that could be a broken bone

• Eye pain out of nowhere

• Chest pain triggered by exertion

• A bad, bad headache

* Severe abdominal pain

• Calf pain after surgery

• Pain from a minor wound

These all should be brought to the attention of your health care professional.

Senior Center Director Laurie Fanelli passed on to me a copy of the November “Harvard Women’s Health Watch” that had some interesting facts about coffee from the New England Journal of Medicine.

I found it interesting because I have always been told to cut back on my coffee use but after reading this, I don’t know.

Findings include that coffee won’t harm your heart, and it may even help it. Also that coffee contains lots of healthy plant chemicals and vitamins and minerals. Filtered coffee is better than unfiltered, because unfiltered brews contain cafestol, which can raise bad cholesterol levels.

The report also says that coffee is not associated with a high risk of cancer.

Additionally, what you add to coffee may or may not be great. Watch the sugar, syrup and heavy cream.