Galentine’s Day: The Valentine’s Day Alternative

February is the season of love and appreciation, so why not celebrate your friendships this season with Galentine’s Day and Palentine’s Day! This holiday can be a celebrated compliment to Valentine’s Day, or it can act as a replacement for singles and those who are just tired of the over-commercialized push to purchase trinkets and crowded, expensive dinners.

What is Galentine’s/Palentine’s Day?

Galentine’s and Palentine’s Day are like Valentine’s Day, except instead of celebrating love with your significant other, you spend the day enjoying and appreciating the bond you have with your closest and best friends. We can all probably agree that we don’t celebrate our friends enough for all that they do, so why not switch up the script and make the most out of all your relationships this year?


Originating from a 2010 episode of the popular television show, Parks and Recreation, Galentine’s Day was created as an annual event to celebrate friendships on the day before Valentine’s Day. What began as a fictional event soon gained traction with real-life women and has only risen in popularity since. Many businesses like Target and Sprinkles Cupcakes have jumped on the bandwagon and offered “Galentine’s Day” specials or acknowledged the micro-holiday though promotional materials. The celebration of Palentine’s Day has since been created as a male alternative. This holiday recognizes how important friendships are to our everyday lives and embraces the non-romantic celebration of love, loyalty and support.

Whether you’re a Valentine’s Day lover or hater, there’s never a bad time to show your love and appreciation. Take this opportunity and celebrate your relationships on your own terms with these 6 Galentine’s & Palentine’s Day celebration tips!

6 Ways to Celebrate Galentine’s & Palentine’s Day

Host a Bruncheon

In honor of the Galentine’s/Palentine’s Day founder Leslie Knope, treat your friends to a delicious meal to show them you care. This easy-to-follow Spinach Mushroom Feta Frittata recipe from Love Grows Wild is sure to woo any brunch lover!

“Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.” – Leslie Knope

Have a Movie Night

Nothing pulls at your heart strings like a good movie about friendship. Gather all your gals and pals to watch and discuss one of these classic films. Check out some of our favorite movies about friendship:

Make a Craft Together 

Spend some time together while expressing your creativity. Sit down with your friend to paint and decorate a picture frame using a variety of materials. When finished, place a photo of you and your friend inside to remind yourself to be appreciative of your relationship daily.

Vintage Photo Frame

Share the Love

Send someone you care about a handwritten letter to show you are thinking of them. Everyone enjoys receiving mail, especially if it’s a personal sentiment from someone they love. Send them flowers from a local floral delivery service to further the surprise.

Sip on a Sweet Treat

These sweet Cupid Floats only require three ingredients and will satisfy any sweet tooth. For something a little stronger, mix in an ounce of UV Cake Vodka with your cherry 7-up.



  • vanilla ice cream
  • cherry soda, such as Cherry 7-Up
  • red licorice


  1. Add a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream to a drinking cup or mug.
  2. Fill the cup with cherry soda.
  3. Cut the ends off of 1 strand of red licorice, then place into the cup to use as a straw.
  4. Drink and enjoy!


Play a Friendly Game

Put a friendly twist on the popular Newlywed game and challenge your friends to see who knows the other best. Newlywed Game Rules (Friends Edition)

“Directions: Divide people up into couples, but not husband-wife —  friend-friend pairs. Each pair writes a list of questions to ask the others: What’s your favorite breakfast cereal? What would your ideal vacation entail? Would you rather be beautiful or rich? Each team asks the other couples the list of questions, and one member of each couple writes down what they think their partner would say. Then, go around the circle and compare answers, awarding points for matches.

Tip: Not sure if an answer is a match? Take a vote.”

No matter what you choose to celebrate this season, always remember to show those you care about how important they are to you.

18 Resolutions for 2018

The New Year is here! Are you ready to get down to the business of becoming your best self? It is a great time to set goals for the coming year and make improvements that will positively impact your life. Only as we watch time pass do we learn the value of a moment. Making the most of your time can seem daunting, but your starting with smart goals is key to success.

The most important thing to remember about resolutions is that they need to be achievable. If you feel defeated on day two, you’ll have a hard time keeping it up for 363 more days, no matter how noble the goal. No step forward is too small and you’ll feel great when your little victories begin to add up to big things.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out some ideas specifically for seniors below.

Start here to make 2017 YOUR year!

  1. Get heart healthy
  2. Get out and about more
  3. Embrace new technology
  4. Explore the world, or just your corner of it
  5. Create something beautiful
  6. Learn about your heritage and leave a legacy
  7. Try yoga
  8. Try a new healthy recipe
  9. Volunteer
  10. Tell someone you love that they matter
  11. Give your brain a workout
  12. Stay on your feet
  13. Pinch your pennies
  14. Take better care of your bladder
  15. Drink more water
  16. Join social media
  17. Exercise often
  18. Read more

Tomorrow can be better if you start today! Happy New Year from Midwest Health. We are honored to be on this journey with you.

Fun Gift Ideas For Hard-To-Shop-For Seniors

It’s not Christmas without presents! Even outside of tradition, gift giving is a way to tell the people in your life how much they mean to you. It’s a way to tell them you love them, listen to them, and want to make them happy. But, giving gifts can be a challenge too. Especially when shopping for a senior who feels like they already have everything they need or lives in a small apartment.

For the Game Lover

New York Times Cover Page Puzzle – $50-65

Our lives are sprinkled with dates we hold dear from the day your parents met to the day their first grandchild was born. The New York Times has made it easy to commemorate these special days in a fun way with a customizable jigsaw puzzle. Cover pages are available from 1851 until the present. So the only question left is, which day will you choose?

Grandparent and Grandchild Activity Set – $38

This creative game is designed for intergenerational fun with little ones. They’ll play together, imagine together, and explore the world!

 For Lovers of Culture

Blue Spider’s Attic Book Box – $14/month

Each month, Blue Spider’s Attic delivers two gently used books to your door. Perfect for literature lovers, this subscription service is wonderfully convenient and environmentally conscious.

Roku Streaming Player – $25

More entertainment than you can imagine is packed into this tiny TV streaming player. We picked the Roku version because of its ease of use and speed. From classic movies to the news, you can find it all on demand using your Roku.

For the Thoughtful Writer

Letters to My Grandchild: Write Now. Read Later. Treasure Forever – $11

Everyone loves letters, especially when they’re from someone you love! Pair this set of unique and fun stationary with a book of stamps for easy mailing.

Easy Autobiography Journal – $14

Designed to help each person tell their unique story, these journals are a beautiful gift for any parent or grandparent.

For a Foodie

Spice Blend Set – $30

Take a trip with your taste buds and enjoy four spices from far-flung regions. All four of these seasonings are salt-free and flavor packed!

Universal Yums Snack Box – $14/month

Try snacks from around the world each month with this subscription box. Filled with sweet and savory treats, this box will take you places you’ve never been before!

For Keeping Warm and Cozy

Comfy But Grippy Slippers – $26

Give the gift of toasty toes! These fuzzy, comfortable slippers have a great tread for sturdy stepping.

Heated Throw Blanket – $40

A fluffy, fuzzy throw is a great gift to keep your loved one cozy and warm, but why not take it to the next level? This heated blanket will be like a warm hug all winter long.

For Animal LoversCompanion Pet – $100

Seniors who miss having pets will love having a friend to care for and talk to. Designed specifically for seniors, the Joy for All Pets line from Hasbro makes pet ownership easy.


Help an animal in need and sponsor a pet at your local animal shelter. Designate your donation to help offset adoption costs and help find a dog or cat their forever home.


6 Not-So-Sinful Sweets to Share this Season

Christmas is coming! This holiday season there will be frost outside and frosting inside. It’s hard to avoid icing overload with sugar cookies and candy canes around every corner. For seniors watching their weight or dealing with diabetes, staying fit and healthy it is a balancing act. Trying to abstain from sweets all together can lead to unchecked binging when cravings come calling. Navigating a winter wonderland full of baked goods made with love is a master class in moderation.

Far too often moderation eludes us. Studies show that holiday weight gain is real. Beginning around Thanksgiving, waistlines begin to expand and most people will gain about a pound and half by the time New Year’s Day rolls around. While it may not seem like much, chances are you won’t say goodbye to the extra weight until Easter.

Avoid the pain of the gain and arm yourself with these shareable recipes that make satisfying your sweet tooth a little less sinful.

Double Berry Pie Squares


This recipe benefits from fresh berries and is sugar substitute-friendly, making it a healthier choice. The striking red will put you in the holiday spirit as you enjoy the cool balance of sweet and tart.

Serves: 9
Calories Per Serving: 103




Orange Dark Chocolate Blossoms


Citrus and chocolate marry perfectly in this delicious recipe. The crunch of the cookie and cream of dark chocolate make this a winning duo.

Serves: 40
Calories Per Serving: 82





Chocolate Peppermint Cookies


Low-sugar, chocolate, and peppermint – what could be better? These delicious soft cookies are best served warm with a glass of milk.

Serves: 38
Calories Per Serving: 70




Coconut Peanut Butter Bites


This no-bake recipe can’t go wrong. Mixing coconut and peanut butter makes each healthy bite feel decadent. Try adding a little nutmeg for a holiday spin.

Serves: 40
Calories Per Serving: 77



Cinnamon Spiced Nuts


Spiced nuts are a Christmas tradition. The sweet and crunchy treat is a great source of protein. This recipe uses agave nectar instead of sugar to sweeten the nuts making it diabetic-friendly.

Serves: 8
Calories Per Serving: 190



Berry Phyllo Tarts


Adorably bite-sized, this parfait is the perfect finish for any holiday meal. Guilt-free and delicious, treat yourself to two or three of these beauties.

Servings: 15
Calories Per Serving: 39


Deck the Halls – The Surprising Importance of Getting Festive

‘Tis the season to grab some tinsel and bring a little sparkle to your home. The smell of pine and sugar cookies, the crackle of a log on the fire, the soft sound of White Christmas playing in the background – can’t you just picture it? As you put up the tree and hang vintage ornaments, you’ll be transported back to fond memories of yesteryear. But wait, that’s not all! There are other benefits to making your home festive and fun.

Make it Merry!

Holiday decorations will completely transform the atmosphere of your home and boost the spirits of everyone who sees them. Create a space that feels cheerful and fun to improve your mood through winter.  You’ll be surprised how a few lights here and there will brighten and transform your outlook.

‘Tis What Season?

Seniors affected by dementia can use changes in seasonal decor to help orient themselves in time. Seeing festive lights, Christmas trees and garland can quickly and discreetly remind seniors of the season. It allows them to avoid any potential outward signs confusion and maintain their dignity. Giving seniors struggling with memory this tool can ease anxiety and uncertainty. As the family gathers, it can allow them to feel assured, relaxed, and empower them to participate in the festivities more fully.

All Through the Years

Decorating is a great way to build a family tradition that will be treasured for generations to come. Getting the old ornaments out is great excuse to get together at grandma’s house, drink some eggnog or cocoa, get a little nostalgic, and dream about the future. Decorate together using family heirlooms or make new ones. Create handprint ornaments with your little ones and hang them on the tree. Make a paper garland together as you count down until the big day or create a festive piece of art that will remind you just how sweet these moments are.

More than anything, this season is about spending time with the people you love and spreading holiday cheer is a great way to do it. So get out the garland and get ready to deck the halls! No matter what holiday you celebrate this season, decorating will make a big difference in the life your loved ones.

ThanksGiving Back – Charities that Benefit Seniors

In this season of Thanksgiving, we reflect on the blessings we’ve enjoyed in the past year and consider all of the little things we are grateful for in our lives. It is the perfect time to think about how we might pass along and share those blessings. Giving back to others by donating time or making a financial contribution can be incredibly impactful, rewarding, and empowering.

There are many worthy causes that support seniors in need. Winter can be particularly difficult for seniors that may struggle to stay warm, eat nutritiously, and afford health services. Now is the perfect time to find your next favorite charity.

Causes to Care About

If you want to pass a blessing along to a senior in need, start here. This selection of charities work directly with or advocate for seniors. Many have local chapters that work within your own neighborhood.

Meals on Wheels operates in virtually every community in America to address senior hunger and isolation.

Feeding America is a hunger relief organization with a nationwide network of food banks feeding the hungry.

Catholic Charities dispenses love and hope to neighbors in need throughout the community including food, clothing, and housing.

United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community. Many local organizations offer an Adopt-a-Family program during the holidays to support seniors and families in need.

AARP Foundation helps struggling seniors with four issues: housing, hunger, income, and isolation.

Help Find a Cure

While these charities benefit people of all ages, many seniors are affected by the issues they address.

The American Heart Association strives to reduce death caused by heart disease and stroke as well as supports education and research about cardiovascular conditions.

The Alzheimer’s Association provides information on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia symptoms, diagnosis, stages, treatment, care and support resources.

Geriatric Mental Health Foundation was established by the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry to raise awareness of psychiatric and mental health issues facing seniors.

Cancer Care offers support to cope with stress, treatment and family issues related to a cancer diagnosis.

Arthritis Foundation dedicated to the prevention, control, and cure of arthritis in the United States.

Caregiver Action Network supports family caregivers through education, information, referral services, and advocacy.

Hospice Foundation of America serves to provide education on end-of-life care, advance care planning, grief, bereavement, death and dying through public information resources and professional education.

Check Out Your Charity

To make sure that your donation will be put to good use, check your chosen charity’s rating on Charity Navigator. The website helps to give you an idea of how much of your donation will directly benefit people in need.

4 Fabulous Crafts to Usher in Autumn

Fall is officially here! The cooler weather brings us the feeling of crisp autumn winds, the smell of pumpkin pie and the sound of leaves crunching underfoot. The senses are alive in the season and we’ve picked four fall crafts to please the eye and bring a festive feeling to your home.

Top 5 Ways to Celebrate Grandparents Day

Each year, the Sunday after Labor Day brings us one of Midwest Health’s favorite annual celebrations – Grandparents Day! On this special day, we get to celebrate the love, encouragement, and wisdom that grandparents offer.

So in honor of one of our favorite holidays, we’re counting down the top 5 ways to celebrate grandparents day!

5. Show ‘Em That You Know ‘Em

Give your grandparent something that shows them exactly how well you know them. Their favorite classic TV show on DVD, a beautiful bouquet of their favorite flowers, or a new fishing lure to catch their favorite fish. When you send a gift that shows you listen and care, you can’t go wrong.

4. Create A Scrapbook

Gather your favorite family photos and create a scrapbook for your grandparents. Whether you create a traditional scrapbook, professional photo book using an online tool like Shutterfly or a digital album on Facebook, your grandparent is sure to love reliving their favorite family memories.

3. Cook Up a Legacy

Grandma’s famous brownies. Grandpa’s homemade noodles. The taste and smell of that legendary family recipe can transport you back to your favorite childhood memory while you make a new memory with the newest generation. Create your delicious dish with the grandparents of honor or deliver it to them and enjoy!

2. Tell Their Story

Get out your crayons and construction paper and tell your favorite story about grandma or grandpa. Start with 4-5 sheets of paper and fold them in half. Staple the pages together at the center fold to create a booklet. Maybe you want to tell the story of when grandma took the grandkids to the park or perhaps you will tell the story of how grandma and grandpa met. Write a sentence or two on each page and have the children draw pictures to illustrate the story.

1. Go Visit!

If you can, go visit your grandparents. Let them wrap you in a hug, pinch your cheek and ask you all the questions that grandparents are famous for asking. If you can’t see them in the flesh, call them on a video chat service like Skype or Facetime. There is nothing in the world they will love more than seeing your smiling face. They will feel truly blessed and you will feel the unconditional love of a grandparent.


Worthy of Note: A Lifetime of Service

Many Americans have served, in some way, to support and uphold the values and freedoms of our great country. Not every hero has a blockbuster story, but each is in their own way, remarkable.

John Bruce Jr. is a name you may not be familiar with, but one worthy of note nonetheless. In 2011, at age 94 and with nearly 70 years of service at the time of his retirement, Mr. Bruce became the oldest and longest-serving employee of the United States Army.

Photo Credit: US Army

Enlisted Service

Mr. Bruce started his service to our country in 1942 after graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles. Spurred to action by the events at Pearl Harbor, he joined the United States Army. Mr. Bruce was stationed in the South Pacific. He served as a member of the Army Signal Corps working as an intercept operator. He approached his role with dedication and quickly earned a promotion to sergeant, leading a squad of radio corpsman.

In 1946, Mr. Bruce was honorably discharged from the Army, but his service to his country was far from over.

Civilian Service

After leaving the active duty, Mr. Bruce had considered moving back to his childhood home of California, but fate had other plans. With help from his uncle and the promise of a temporary job, Mr. Bruce headed to Michigan. There to pick him up at the train station was an acquaintance of his uncle’s, a woman named Jean. Little did he know at the time that Jean would later become his wife, the promised job would not be temporary, and Michigan would become his home from then on.

Mr. Bruce was hired as a civilian intern by Detroit’s Ordnance and Tank Command (later named Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, TACOM), a division of the Army dedicated to research, development, procurement, and maintenance of Army weapon systems. Starting from the bottom, Mr. Bruce showed an unrivaled enthusiasm and dedication for whatever job needed to be done. He was promoted quickly and became a Division Chief, in charge of 250 employees, at age 38. By the time of his retirement, 56 years later, he held the title of Support Equipment Product Support Integration Development Associate Director. A long title, fitting a long and distinguished career.

Advice for Everyday Americans

In his 69 years of service, Mr. Bruce learned a thing or two. At his retirement in 2011, he shared some wisdom for those seeking to have a career like his. “Make sure you enjoy what you do and give the very best you can. Don’t try to force things,” he advised.

He also recommends being fully committing yourself to the task at hand and embracing change saying, “I’d like to leave you with a few lessons I’ve learned over the years, and that is, you only get out of a position what you put into it. And maybe the good old times were good in their time, but we can never do things the same way today as we did back then. Too much has changed, and for the better sometimes.”

Mr. Bruce exemplified the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless-service, honor, integrity and personal courage. Mr. Bruce passed away in 2016 but the lessons of hard work, dedication, and lifelong learning live on in the many co-workers he mentored who have moved on to careers in the department of defense. To them, and to us, he is a hero.

A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom.

– Bob Dylan