Nollaig Shona Duit

Nollaig Shona Duit

I wrote this blog some years ago when I first started blogging.  I enjoyed sharing my story with my followers, so it is only appropriate that I roll it out again.  After all it is DECEMBER and we can officially talk about CHRISTMAS.  I hope you enjoy my story about my traditions at Christmas.


Yes, it’s that time of year.  I love it.  Once December comes most of the DJ’s on the radio stations start playing  the old Christmas favorites like Fairy Tale in New York, Driving home for Christmas and such like.  My granddaughters asked for Christmas FM to be put on in the car the other day and had a sing along.   Once I hear these songs, it’s official – Christmas has begun.  Sometimes I get out my Christmas CD’s and put them on repeat.  The tune ‘Walking in the air’ from the ‘Snowman’  send chills down my back every time I hear it.


Preparations are under way; the ingredients are bought for the pudding and the cake.  There is something nostalgic about mixing the pudding and before putting it into the bowls to steam, THE WISH.  Yes, I can still remember as a kid this tradition and the smell of the pudding mix and the all important WISH.  Three stirs with the wooden spoon and if you were the last to stir, you got to lick the spoon …yum.   And the smell of the ham cooking on Christmas Eve is a lovely comforting smell in a way.  When it is done you just have to have a small taste with a slice of fresh bread.  There is nothing nicer than coming down the stairs as a kid on Christmas morning and the smell of a turkey roasting in the oven. 


Christmas is all about seeing. smelling, tasting, listening and touch.  All the senses are given a treat this month.  Another memory as a kid was coming back from a visit to the grandparents or a shopping trip in early December and wishing to be the one to spot the first house with the Christmas tree up.  It would be just getting dark and the curtains in the front room ‘the good room’ would still be open to show off the tree all lit up.   

Christmas shopping has started,  the party season has begun, and the tree will be put up soon.  I enjoy trimming the tree.  I always put on Christmas music and then walk to the local shops to pick out a real tree.  I love the smell of a real Christmas tree in the house.  For years when the kids were small we would all go and carry it back together, now they are making their own memories with their families.  


My favorite part of Christmas is just before midnight on Christmas Eve, having finished preparations for the big day ahead when I sit down with carols playing softly in the background, only the tree lights are on, a glass of wine, my ham sandwich and the smell of cooking in the air.  If you could bottle this and sell it, the magic of Christmas could be with you whenever you need it.

There has been a change in the Christmas morning traditions over the years as I left the family home and started my own family of three children.  Some of the traditions are consistent such as meeting up with my siblings and their families after Mass at my parents home to exchange gifts, have a few nibbles and wish each other well.  The grandchildren have increased over the years and they all love to throw the gift wrapping paper in a pile in the middle of the room as soon as they receive a gift.  Now there are great-grandchildren enjoying the fun.  The pile gets higher and higher and when all the presents have been given among the family all the kids jump into the paper for a photo.  There have been some great ones over the years, some very young babies lying among Christmas wrapping paper with their cousins.  Before the clean up, there is the Christmas kiss under the tree.  Nanny and Granddad, now Great Nanny and Great Granddad also kissed a long time ago one Christmas morning and this has been the case ever since.  Another photo for the memories.  Everyone goes their own way after that with some of the family staying for dinner with my parents.


It does not matter who goes to dinner on Christmas day.  We have taken turns over the years; I was the lucky one for a number of years as my children were the first grandchildren, my siblings now take it in turns to join Mam and Dad at their dinner table.  On St. Stephens Day we all, yes all of us again to back to our parent’s house late in the afternoon.  This is considered the highlight of the Christmas by all of the grandchildren and now great-grandchildren look forward to it also.  We all tuck into a great feast on tables that are joined together so nobody is left out.  Stories are told, jokes are shared and then when dessert is finished the younger children put on their show.  They have been practicing for the week before and it is lovely to see.  The old sing-song follows after that and we all do a turn.  It gets way past the young children’s bedtime and soon everyone must go to their own homes.

Memories are made at this time of year and even those as young as 5,6, 7 and 8 are beginning to recognize family traditions at Christmas time.  This Christmas morning will be a quiet one when we wake up as  no one else will be running down the stairs to see what is under the tree for them except just the two of us.  Another stage in life and a new memory and a new tradition will be born no doubt.  This is a special time for family and may there be many many more to come.


DigiNannaDublin’s First Event

DigiNannaDublin’s First Event

Yesterday Wednesday 28th September 2016 saw DigiNannaDublin host their 1st event.  It was for Positive Ageing Week with Age Action Ireland and was held in Hobart’s Cafe in Ranelagh, Dublin 6.  DigiNanna Dublin chatted with some great characters over coffee and a scone. 


We met the owners Karen and Deborah who are two very hard-working ladies who are always smiling.  The description on their Twitter page @hobartscafe  is  – We serve traditional breakfast all day and Healthy Lunch specials. In Ranelagh we open 7 days a week from 8-4. Everything is home-cooked, served with a smile! 

Liz from Antica Venezia Restaurant in Ranelagh  joined us for coffee and told us of the history of their restaurant.  The description on their Twitter page @AnticaVeneziaD6  is – Antica Venezia established in 1997 and is still run by its founders. We preserve the tradition of excellence in Italian Food and in service.

A number of regulars called into the cafe for their ‘usual’ but other new customers responded to the Facebook posts and Twitter tweets.  This demonstrated the power of social media exchange and interaction of DigiNannaDublin.  

Saoirse from @elderhomeshare   called in as she was in the area distributing leaflets about Elder Homeshare which is a resource for sourcing & vetting tenants for older home-owners with a room to rent creating positive cross generational living.

We also chatted to Grace who is a breath of fresh air.  She is a retired lady who now works tirelessly at making Ranelagh look beautiful with boxes flowing over with flowers.  She is also involved in the Tidy Towns and was delighted with the work that has been done in Ranelagh.  She is also involved in the local Arts Centre.  

Caroline who is a local artist chatted to us about her work and Drew who also works at the Arts Centre called in for a coffee and a chat.  Paddy and Catherine were reminiscing about how they met 53 years ago in Ranelagh and John told a story about how he came shopping in Ranelagh on the back of his mothers bike.

Positive Ageing week has many events this week in Ireland and hopefully you have or will be able to partake in one in your area.  Even though this week is marked for Positive Ageing every day should be celebrated in this way.  






12 Summer Safety Tips for the Elderly

12 Summer Safety Tips for the Elderly

The summertime is a time of fun and relaxation for most people. But for seniors, the heat and sun can be dangerous if the proper precautions aren’t taken. Here are some great tips that the elderly, as well as their caregivers, can use to make sure they have a fun, safe summer.

  1. Stay Hydrated
    Seniors are more susceptible to dehydration than younger people because they lose their ability to conserve water as they age. They also can become less aware of their thirst and have difficulty adjusting to temperature changes. Remember to drink water often, and be sure to pack some for those long summer drives.Dr. William Greenough, of Johns Hopkins Geriatric Centre, says that caregivers should make sure seniors are drinking sweat replacement products (that contain salt and potassium) to replace water they lose during the summer.
  2. Talk to Your Doctor
    Check with your medical team to make sure any medications you are on won’t be affected by higher temperatures — especially if you don’t have air conditioning in your home. Some medications are less effective if stored at temperatures higher than room temperature (approximately 78 degrees Fahrenheit), and the last thing anyone wants is for a preventable medical condition to become aggravated due to high temperatures.
  3. Keep Your Cool
    Even small increases in temperature can shorten the life expectancy for seniors who are coping with chronic medical conditions. Shopping malls, movie theaters and libraries provide welcome, cool spaces if a senior’s own home isn’t air conditioned. They also afford a great opportunity to get out of the house and get some exercise, without the exhaustion of the heat. Contact your local Area Agency on Ageing to inquire if there are any programs to assist seniors with fewer resources to get air conditioners. “Seniors are much more vulnerable to the harmful effects of heat, as their bodies do not adjust as well to sudden changes in temperature,” shares Dr. Lubna Javed of Health Care Partners Medical Group. “Some chronic medical conditions and prescription medications can impair the body’s ability to react efficiently to rising temperature.”
  4. Stay in Touch
    High temperatures can be life-threatening, so communication plays an important role in ensuring the safety of the elderly. For seniors, you should let friends and family know if you’ll be spending an extended period of time outdoors, even if you’re only gardening.  “Caregivers should check on the health and welfare of their loved ones at least twice a day,” suggests Dr. Javed.
  5. Meet Your Neighbours
    Get in touch with those who live in your neighbourhood and learn a bit about them and their schedules. If you are elderly, see if a younger neighbour — perhaps even one of their kids — can come by and check on you occasionally to make sure everything is all right. The extra company and friendship that can result is a bonus!
  6. Know Who to Call
    Prepare a list of emergency phone numbers and place them in an easy to access area. This way, the right people can be called to help quickly preventing any further issues or preventing medical problems from getting worse.
  7. Wear the Right Stuff
    Everyone, including seniors, should dress for the weather. When it’s warm out, some people find natural fabrics (such as cotton) to be cooler than synthetic fibres. Stock your summer wardrobe with light-coloured and loose-fitting clothes to help feel cooler and more comfortable.
  8. Protect Your Eyes
    Vision loss can be common among the elderly, and too much exposure to the sun can irritate eyes and cause further damage. Wearing sunglasses can protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and preserve your vision.
  9. Know the Risks of Hyperthermia
    During the summer, be particularly cautious about abnormally high body temperatures — a condition known as Hyperthermia. Heat stroke is an advanced form of Hyperthermia that can be life-threatening. Make sure to know the warning signs and get medical attention immediately if you or anyone you know is experiencing these symptoms:”Elderly individuals have a harder time knowing when they are dehydrated and their bodies have more difficulty regulating their temperatures,” says Dr. Ronan Factora of the Cleveland Clinic says. “As a result, they are more prone to heat stroke.”  If you (or an elderly loved one) start to feel any of these symptoms, ask for medical help and then get out of the heat, lie down and place ice packs on your body.

    • Body temperature greater than 104 degrees
    • A change in behaviour, such as acting confused, agitated or grouchy
    • Dry, flushed skin
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Headache
    • Heavy breathing or a rapid pulse
    • Not sweating, even if it’s hot out
    • Fainting
  10. Rub on Sunscreen and Wear Hats
    Everyone, young and old, should wear sunscreen when outdoors. The elderly especially need the extra sun protection to help keep them healthy. Caregivers, family and friends can help by gently reminding loved ones about applying sunscreen and helping to put it on when necessary. Hats are also a great idea, especially for those with light coloured hair and those with only distant memories of a full head of hair.
  11. Apply Bug Spray
    The elderly is particularly prone to West Nile Virus and encephalitis, Dr. Factora notes. If you live in areas where there are a lot of mosquitoes and where West Nile Virus is present, and if you spend a lot of time outdoors (particularly at night), use mosquito repellent to help reduce the risk of getting bit by a mosquito carrying this virus.
  12. Exercise Smart
    If you enjoy outdoor activities such as walking or gardening, make sure to wear the proper clothing and protective gear. It is also important to keep track of time. Do not stay out for long periods and make sure to drink even more water than usual when exercising. Also consider getting outdoor exercise earlier in the morning or later in the evening when the sun is not at its peak.

If you follow these tips, there’s no reason you can’t have an enjoyable and fun-filled summer — no matter how old you are.