Caregiving Around the Clock

By Brenda Bongiorno, Sacramento County  |  2019-11-29

A family caregiver is anyone who helps take care of a family member or friend without any professional training. These caregivers want their loved ones to have the best care possible – at the doctor’s office, at the hospital and at home. MPG file photo

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - This season is all about being thankful, so it is only fitting that November is National Family Caregivers Month. Sacramento County Senior and Adult Services and the Caregiver Action Network would like to recognize, honor and thank those who provide care for someone who is aging, disabled or chronically ill. This year’s theme is #BeCareCurious about your loved one’s care to ensure they are happy and healthy. This theme is also an important reminder to be thoughtful of the caregivers and their personal health as this responsibility can be physically and psychologically stressful. 

A family caregiver is anyone who helps take care of a family member or friend without any professional training. These caregivers want their loved ones to have the best care possible – at the doctor’s office, at the hospital and at home.  

“Family caregivers are instrumental to our society,” said Ruth MacKenzie, Senior and Adult Services Division Manager for the Department of Child, Family and Adult Services. “They fill a gap in our medical system and National Family Caregiver Month is a great way to highlight everything caregivers do for their loved ones. This month, or anytime, thank a family caregiver, show your appreciation as often as you can and step in to assist when possible.”

Senior and Adult Services encourages family caregivers across the country to explore #BeCareCurious, ask questions, explore options and share in the care decisions that affect the health and well-being of their loved ones.

5 things to #BeCareCurious About

Your Loved One’s Goals
You know your loved one better, and spend more time with them, than anyone else. Talk to them about what their goals are for treatment and their care in general. It can be hard to talk about goals when facing a disease, but these talks help make sure your loved ones are getting the care they want.

Treatment Options
Is your loved one responding well to treatment? If not, ask your doctor if there are other options. New treatments are available every day. Whether it’s a different dose, a new medication or a new procedure, speak up and ask your doctor if there are options you and your loved one should consider.

The internet is a great research tool, but it can also be full of conflicting, and even dangerous, advice – so don’t stop there! Be curious about that article you just read. Is it from a reliable source? Talk to friends, family and doctors to ask as many questions as possible to learn about your loved one’s condition.

The Care Plan
If your loved one is in the hospital, be sure to ask what happens next. Will they need home care after being discharged? Are there new medications or procedures you will need to manage at home? Will you be trained on what to do and how to do it? A lot of care happens at home and you need to be prepared to provide that care.

Don’t be shy about asking questions about insurance coverage. Is your parents’ Medicare plan the best option or should you change plans during open enrollment? Was a medication switched for a medical reason, or because your insurance no longer covered it? If coverage was denied, what can you do to change their minds?

If you or someone you know is a family caretaker, it is important to check-in with that person regularly as they have taken on a very stressful role. Senior and Adult Services suggests offering to provide “respite,” so the caregiver can have a chance to rest and recharge. offers helpful self-care tips for the caregiver. 

“If family caretakers aren’t able to take the time needed for self-care, they may experience a health scare themselves,” said MacKenzie. “Caregiver burnout can be associated with serious health issues including depression. Families and communities need to develop sustainable care plans that do not just rely on a single individual.”

Families can look for respite care by asking friends and family or looking at government-funded programs including the U.S. Administration on Aging’s Eldercare Locator, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Legacy Corps or nonprofits including but not limited to Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. You can also check with adult daycare centers, faith-based organizations, coworkers and online communities. 

Visit the County’s Senior and Adult Services webpage to learn more about their programs, provider services, volunteer opportunities and resources. 

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Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra Presents Wells Fargo Home For the Holidays

Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra Press Release  |  2019-11-29

Come and discover the new updates to this venerable concert hall as we officially kick off the beginning of the holiday season in downtown Sacramento. Photo courtesy SCS

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra with Music Director Donald Kendrick celebrate their 24th year of performances in the Capital Region with their annual Wells Fargo Home For the Holidays on Saturday, December 7 at 2 PM and 7:30 PM in the recently renovated Sacramento Memorial Auditorium.

Come and discover the new updates to this venerable concert hall as we officially kick off the beginning of the holiday season in downtown Sacramento.  The professional symphony orchestra and large chorus will also welcome the Sacramento Children’s Chorus, Alexander Grambow, Director, in brand new carols by Gordon Thornett and John Rutter. 

The evening will also include the debut performance of Tenor Chadwick Somers who recently completed his Doctoral degree in vocal performance from the esteemed Eastman School of Music. To guarantee merriment, this community celebration will feature familiar holiday classics along with the Christopher Cook Puppet presentation of  The Grinch Medley and how the Grinch stole Christmas.

The performance opens with a candlelit procession and an arrangement of Joy to the World by Texas composer Randal Alan Bass. The audience get the chance to sing a Christmas Pop Singalong with the orchestra, and the choir will unveil an African carol “Betelehemu” as well as the majestic “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah.  Be a part of this Sacramento standing room only tradition.

For tickets, call the Memorial Auditorium Box Office: 916-808-5181
For further information visit the Sacramento Choral Society website at or email the SCSO at

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The Gift of Time Together

Story by Shaunna Boyd  |  2019-11-21

Russ’s father Woody developed a friendship with Ted Danson while visiting the set of Becker. (Left to right) Russ Woody, Claude Woody, and Ted Danson. Photo provided by Russ Woody

A Son’s Story of the Journey through His Father’s Terminal Illness

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The relationship between a son and his dying father is beautifully chronicled in Russ Woody’s new book, Tuesdays with Ted. The memoir is equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking as it details the final months of Claude Woody’s life and the lasting impact that time had on his son.

Claude, who was always known as Woody, served as a Marine in WWII and then worked for PG&E, a job which required the family to move to a new area of California every couple years. Russ spent his teenage years in Fair Oaks, attending Bella Vista High School and then interning at a Sacramento TV station during college.

An Emmy and Golden Globe winning TV writer and producer, Russ has worked in television for more than 30 years on shows including Murphy Brown, Cybill, Mad About You, The Drew Carey Show, and The Middle. But it was the time he spent writing and producing Becker that would turn out to be his most significant project.

In 2001, after Becker had finished its third season, Russ learned that Woody had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — a terminal neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, leading to gradual loss of motor function as the muscles in the body atrophy. In the book, Russ wrote that Woody “would die by slow, gradual asphyxiation” as the muscles around the lungs ceased to function. Woody’s form of ALS was aggressive and started in his throat; he quickly lost the ability to speak and had to type on a machine called a LightWRITER to communicate. Russ described it as an “incremental death. His body was going away one piece at a time … while his mind — healthy as ever — was being held hostage.” Woody eventually lost the ability to swallow and was unable to hold his head up without a neck brace.

It was 17 months between Woody’s diagnosis and his death in September 2002. “Since his diagnosis,” Russ wrote, “I’d been marking time, first in months, then weeks, then days and there were still more days to be had, to be shared. Not many, but there were more, and I wanted them, those days, those hours, however many were left.” Russ described that time with his father as “the most meaningful year and a half of my life.”

To spend as much time as possible with Woody, Russ moved him to a home in Studio City nearby his own and brought him to the set of Becker for filming each Tuesday during Season 4.  The cast and crew of Becker treated Woody like family, and Russ was overwhelmed and grateful for the love and kindness they showed his father. Woody was even an extra in one episode and was the inspiration for an episode about ALS. During that time, Woody developed a special friendship with the star of Becker — Ted Danson (hence the book title, Tuesdays with Ted). Russ said that Woody had been a fan of Cheers, so “the idea that Ted Danson would become his pal was kind of flabbergasting to him. And Ted just adored him. It was really sweet to see. … He would just go out of his way to be with my dad.”

Russ wrote the book to both remember the precious time he spent with his father and to help his sons understand, since they were so young at the time. “I think by the time my father died, they were both 4 and 6, so they were in the middle of it … but they didn’t really understand what was going on,” said Russ. The boys, Henry and Joe, have some memories of that time with their grandfather: bunk beds and pancake breakfasts, backyard forts and indoor racetracks. Russ said his main objective was “to put the story in perspective for them.”

“In the last week of my dad’s life, I had a conversation with him; I asked him about his regrets,” said Russ. “He thought about it and he said he wished he’d spent more time with me when I was little.” At that time, Russ was working long hours in the writers’ room at Becker, and he then made the decision that he would stop writing for sitcoms so he could have a more flexible schedule: “I wanted to spend that time with my boys, and I got to do that.”

The experience with his father had a significant impact on how he relates to his own sons: “I’m so glad that both he and they got to spend that time together. … I think about my memories of him, and conversations I had, and the conversations I had with the boys. … It does affect you.”

Woody “had a great capacity for taking what was and living with it,” said Russ, grateful for every moment he was able to share with his father. In the book, Russ wrote that “with the ticking clock of ALS, the time I did spend with him was all the more intense. It forced me to recognize everything, to say everything, and that was a blessing.”


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Tis The Season To Be "Merry And Bright!"

By Judi Naill, Sacramento Valley Chorus  |  2019-11-21

The Sacramento Valley Chorus includes women who live in the greater Sacramento area including Placer, Nevada, Yolo, San Joaquin, Yuba, and El Dorado counties. Photo courtesy Sacramento Valley Chorus

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Sacramento Valley Chorus is preparing for a "Merry & Bright" season!  You and your family will enjoy an afternoon of music, laughter, food and giving by attending the Merry and Bright production. The chorus, directed by Master Director Dede Nibler, can hardly wait to share this special performance with you on Saturday, December 7th, at 2:00 pm at La Sierra Community, 5325 Engle Road, Carmichael. 

Sacramento Valley Chorus, a Chapter of Sweet Adelines International, recently celebrated their 40th anniversary.  Approximately 80 women sing in four-part harmony, a cappella style. They will be singing songs from their repertoire in addition to favorite holiday songs.  The chorus is honored to be joined by the 2019 graduates of Harmony Academy who will perform with the chorus just for this show. Add more Merry and Bright to the season when several quartets perform. To satisfy your sweet tooth, a dessert dash will be thrown into the mix for fun and excitement.

This show is expected to be a "sell-out", so get your tickets early. Ticket prices, including hors d'oeuvres, are only $25.00. Tickets may be purchased from any chorus member or get information online at

Women are welcome to attend rehearsals throughout the year on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 PM at Arena Christian Center, 4027 N. Freeway Blvd, Sacramento. For more information about the chorus or show, check the website:

International Headquarters – PO Box 470168 – Tulsa, OK 74147-0168 – 918/622-1444 – FAX 918/665-0894

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Hands on for Crafty Christmas Spree

Story and photo by Susan Maxwell Skinner  |  2019-11-21

Fair founder Pat Holbus (left) and friends come bearing gift socks for the annual St. John the Evangelist School’s Christmas fair, December 6, 7 and 8th.

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - St John the Evangelist School’s blowout -- “A Holiday Show of Hands” – will ensure a crafty Christmas for thousands of shoppers on December 6, 7 and 8th.

Now in its 41th year and boasting more 150 craft vendors, the market annually fills the entire Catholic school campus on Locust Avenue.

Entrepreneurial spirit annually soars during the three-day fundraiser. A preview (5-9 pm) on the evening of December 5 requires $5 admission but Saturday and Sunday browsing is free. Doors open at 9 am both days. Organizers have this year added a “sock drive.” For each donation of a new pair of socks, guests will be included in a prize drawing. “We’ve used the fair to raise funds for the school for 40 years,” explains organizer Pat Holbus. “This year we also want to give back to the community. The socks will be distributed to those in need. December is a cold month; we’re doing something to take the chill off.”

Because traffic cloggs Locust and surrounding streets on fair days, free shuttles will run from Carmichael Elks Lodge and Church on Cypress parking lots.

Hot meals and toddies will be available for purchase. “People come here from all over Sacramento; even some from out of state,” says Holbus. “Our market is part of a Sacramento tradition. It’s a weekend that says Christmas is here at last.” 

St John the Evangelist School is located at 5701 Locust Avenue.

For information, call (916) 481-8845 x 216.

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A Magical Time of the Year at Sunrise Marketplace

By Julie DePrada, Sunrise MarketPlace  |  2019-11-21

Sac Civic Ballet brings the story of the Nutcracker to life with two special ballet performances. Courtesy Sunrise Marketplace

CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Magical Moments returns to Sunrise MarketPlace (SMP)! Visitors to the District will be treated to four free interactive, family-friendly pop-up experiences with a chance to win a $250 shopping spree at every event. Each Magical Moment will be on a different day at a different location within the District.

SMP kicks off Magical Moments on Friday, November 22, 2019 with a Holiday Laser Light Show from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM. For one special night, the Lowes parking lot will be transformed into a holiday rockin' spectacle with Laser Light Shows, the Magical Moments’ Giant Human Snow Globe, Laser Tag Arena, Animated Inflatables, and food and hot beverage trucks. The light shows begin at 6:30 PM, 7:30 PM, and 8:30 PM. 

Celebrate A Frozen Winter Festival on Saturday, November 30, 2019 from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM at Sunrise Village. Frozen Winter Festival is a pop-up carnival that will provide child-size amusement and spirited entertainment! This year we will have some very special guests from Frozen. Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff will be onsite for photos and two special performances.  Enjoy the festive carnival, which has a variety of games and activities for children of all ages. Have a blast bouncing around in the inflatable bounce houses. Get your face painted by a special holiday elf. Get your picture taken with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Mouse and the Christmas Bear. Stop by the SMP booth to enter to win a $250 gift card and then climb into the Giant Magical Moments Human Snow Globe to take your Magical Memorable Moment.

SMP wraps up Magical Moments with the Nutcracker on Wednesday, December 18, 2019 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Sunrise Mall in the Macy’s Court. Join us as the Sac Civic Ballet brings the story of the Nutcracker to life with two special ballet performances. The first 100 children will receive a hardback Nutcracker book. Make sure to stop by and visit the Elves on the Shelves for Storytime. The event also features Nutcracker character appearances, a background photo op, and a “meet & greet” with the ballet dancers.

Visit for more information on locations and times for each event.

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SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - In California, there are more than 62,000 youth living in foster care and more than 34,000 waiting for a permanent family. In Sacramento County alone, there are 1,690 children and youth in out-of-home care with about 350 of them needing a loving and affirming forever family. 

Each November during National Adoption Month, Sacramento County wants to remind the community that you can make a difference in the life of a child by becoming a resource parent/family. These resource parents, once known as foster parents, provide love, parental care, guidance and stability to children until they can either return to their parents or provide a permanent home through adoption or legal guardianship.

Whether you are married or single, gay or straight, a homeowner or a renter, an aunt, teacher or simply a loving person that wants to positively impact the life of a child, Sacramento County Department of Child, Family and Adult Services hopes you will consider fostering a child. 

We have a particular need for new resource families that can help us move children from a group home setting to a family-based setting. The more families who can open their doors to our children and youth, the better. We are looking for resource families who are able to foster all ages, but particularly, teenagers, LGBTQ youth, African-American children, children with medical needs, emergency/last-minute placements and homes for sibling sets. 

Sacramento County supports, trains and offers guidance, support and assistance to resource families to make sure the journey is a positive transition. While reuniting children with their biological families is the primary goal, staff can help resource parents adopt or take legal guardianship when reunification is not possible.  There is now only one approval process, which creates a continuous care experience for children, as they will not have to switch homes at the point of adoption. 

On November 6, we pause our busy lives long enough to speak the names of thousands of California children who are waiting in foster care for the love and support of a permanent family. Sacramento County and several adoption agencies are hosting the 31st Annual Calling Out of Names at the State Capitol in Room 112 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  During the vigil, adoptive parents, child advocates, community leaders and elected officials will take turns reading the names and ages of every single child in California that is waiting for a permanent family. Sadly, some names have been read year after year.

Another event to recognize National Adoption will be held later in the month, when Sacramento Superior Court judges and staff, Department of Child and Family Adult Services, Child Protective Services, Sheriff’s Department, Lilliput, Sierra Forever Families, Uplift, Koinonia, CASA and Soroptomist of Greater Sacramento come together to celebrate the adoptions of several children and their forever families. Along with the adoption proceedings, there will be refreshments and activities for children including hand painting, family photos, balloons and much more. 

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a resource family for local foster children or an adoptive parent, please attend the next Resource Family/Adoptive Parent Orientation or call (916) 875-5543 and visit the Sacramento County Department of Child, Family and Adult Services Resource Family web page.


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