Lessons for Living

Life's lessons never end.

No matter our age, we are always learning. Illinois Extension, in cooperation with Illinois Home and Community Education Association, has advice centered around our core program Family | Food | Finance. Check out the recordings or look for upcoming local workshops.

Get to know how food impacts your family's health

Five Flavors: How the Palate Changes: How does our palate change through our lifecycle? Learn about the five senses, the process of aging, and the connection between smell and taste. What are some ways to enhance flavor using color and spices? What is behind the psychology of taste. 

Food and Drug Interactions: Walk through the food groups and discuss how some foods impact certain drugs, such as enhancing or decreasing their effect. This lesson will also increase awareness of how fortified foods and supplements can modify a drug’s effect. Finally, take a look at myths surrounding food-drug interactions. 

Healthy Behaviors for a Healthy Immune System - We want to do all we can to protect ourselves from becoming ill. A healthy immune system gives the body a layer of protection. While no one food or healthy lifestyle behavior can prevent illness, you can help boost your immunity with a healthy balance of nutrient-rich foods, adequate sleep, physical activity and managed stress. Join us to learn the steps you need to take to build a strong immune system. 

Inflammation and ArthritisArthritis is a condition in which one or more of your joints become inflamed, often leading to stiffness, soreness and in some cases swelling. This disease affects the lives of more than 54 million adults in the US with more than 21 million having osteoarthritis. Certain lifestyle changes could help improve your joint health, as well as help to prevent, relieve and manage its symptoms. During this workshop, we will provide an overview of the three most common types of arthritis and provide insight into the most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis.

What's New in the Kitchen: Today’s kitchen has evolved with up-to-date appliances, equipment, and tools for quicker, more convenient, and healthier meal preparation. With all the new gadgets and technology in the kitchen, it can feel overwhelming. This lesson increases awareness and knowledge of the modern kitchen with the latest research on a safe kitchen environment. Learn the do’s and don’ts of these new kitchen appliances, equipment, and tools. Receive healthy recipes for “What’s New in the Kitchen.”

Build a solid financial foundation.

Senior Credit Scores: Do you realize that credit scores are used not only by lenders but also by insurance companies? Even if you do not have any debts currently, you need to monitor your credit report and understand factors that affect your credit score. Keeping a positive credit score can save you money. 

Elder Financial Exploitation: Older adults are at risk for financial exploitation. Abusers can be friends, caregivers, financial advisors, and even family members. In this program we’ll focus on recognizing and reducing the risk of financial exploitation for yourself, your friends and older relatives. Resources and strategies for best practices will be shared.

Grocery Shopping Online: Have you ever seen those parking spaces at the grocery store that say “Grocery pickup” or wonder how you get groceries delivered to your door? Discuss the ins and outs of grocery shopping online, including how much to tip the person shop ping for you, and what to do when your favorite item isn’t in stock. 

How to Save Money on Food: At the end of a busy day, when you’re hungry and tired, do you go home knowing you’re all set to prepare a tasty, healthy dinner or do you pick up food at the most convenient spot? Are you happy with the amount of money you spend on food every month? In this lesson, we’ll examine strategies that you can use to keep food costs low. Learn to create a realistic food plan that balances money, time and nutritional needs. 

How to Save on Travel: Traveling across the state or around the world offers many opportunities for fun, and spending money! Join us in discussing ways to be a savvy traveler including how to manage your finances efficiently and safely while traveling. 

Medical Identity TheftMedical identity theft can be a real burden if it happens to you. A thief may use your name or health insurance number to get care for themselves. This program will help you detect signs of medical identity theft, protect your medical information and what to do if you notice mistakes or find out your identity has been used.

Watch a recording of the workshop

We know you're busy. Your schedule may not align with ours, so we've collected recordings from the previous Lessons for Living workshops. Watch them whenever it's best for you. 

Take care of your family

Building Resiliency in Yourself and Your Organization: Every one of us has been challenged by a tough situation sometime in our lives. We have witnessed highly resilient people that have the ability to adapt, recover and grow stronger from difficult situations. In this lesson, learn what characteristics resilient people and organizations possess that help them create opportunities from challenges, and how you can also nurture and strengthen your resilience.

Caregiver Self Care: We all know someone who is providing care for someone else. It is a rewarding experience for most, but caregivers experience many difficult emotions and losses along their journey. This workshop will focus on overcoming the challenges of caregiving and will examine caregiver stress and burnout - how to recognize them and how to prevent it with techniques for self-care.

Communication Challenges and Strategies for Helping People with DementiaWhen a relative or friend has dementia, communication can be very difficult as the disease advances. Forgetfulness, agitation, repetition, and mood fluctuations can make visits stressful and frustrating, and many worry that they will say or do the wrong thing and make matters worse. Come and learn about common communication problems caused by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and strategies for better interactions and visits.

Penning Your Past: For many of us, we probably remember hearing family stories from our parents, grandparents, and other relatives. Sharing how life was back when or telling stories of family lore is a way to bond and bring families together. Sometimes we remember or know only bits and pieces of stories and wish that our ancestors would have taken the time to write them down. Have you thought about writing your own life story as a way to share with others, or perhaps to leave a legacy? This packaged lesson will help you do just that. Come and explore ways to preserve your individual and family stories for future generations. No prior writing skills are needed – your writing is good enough!

Simplify Your Life by Clearing the Clutter: Does the clutter in your house cause you stress? Do you have at least one room that is off limits to company? Is the clutter a cause for conflict with other family members? Do you want less clutter but you are too overwhelmed to begin? Many of us struggle to keep up with the clutter in our lives. If this sounds like you or someone you know, come and learn ways to organize your life in order to de-clutter and reduce stress.

Understanding the Impact of Adverse Childhood ExperiencesRecent research has revealed that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) can cause a lifetime of health consequences; from not being able to sleep soundly as an adult, to difficulty concentrating, anxiety, depression, and physical health problems. Discover how ACES impacts you, your family and your community and what you can do to help.