Dear Readers: Today’s Sound On is about nursing homes.

“Dear Heloise: My father is in a nursing home and needs round-the-clock care. The nursing staff takes excellent care of him and provides the cheer and warmth I wish I could provide but can’t since I’m working full time. As a single mother, I have no choice except to hold down a full-time job.

“Many of these unsung heroes go about their daily tasks without expecting praise or acknowledgment, but without their help, life for my father would be very difficult. They keep him engaged in activities, bathe him, feed him and see to it that he takes his medications. Even though my sons and I spend as much time with him as we can, it’s still not enough. I’m grateful for the caring staff at his nursing home who provide so much and ask for so little in return.”

Susan J., Spokane, Wash.

Dear Readers: Here are some other uses for plastic grocery bags:

● Wrap shoes in them when traveling.

● Cut through the handles and use as a child’s bib.

● Stuff cloth dolls or homemade teddy bears with old plastic bags.

● Use during cooking to put food scraps, bones, etc., in and then take out to the trash.

● Return to a recycling center.

Dear Heloise: This is the time of year when people can become a little sad or depressed because of overcast days and the early darkness of night. It's at times like this that a "mood booster" helps to dispel the feeling that winter will never end. Here are some suggestions:

1. Open the blinds and curtains, and get as much natural light in your home as you can. Use bright colors (or a bright white) on your walls and upholstery. Get rid of all clutter, and make sure your place is clean.

2. As soon as you get up in the morning, make your bed. You'll feel as though you've accomplished something worthwhile.

3. Stay active. Go for walks, sign up for a dance class of some kind, go to the gym or try some new activity. Exercise always helps boost a person's mood.

4. Stay in contact with friends and family, and don't be afraid to ask for their support and encouragement on dark days. A phone call, a chat over hot cocoa, a handwritten letter, or a text or an email can help you stay connected.

5. Eat a healthy diet, avoid alcohol and limit the amount of caffeine you drink. Pamper yourself with a long, hot shower, a pedicure, or maybe a facial.

Lorraine C. in Illinois

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to

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