The holiday season is always a special time of year. It is also a time when busy people become vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. We can never be too careful, too prepared, or too aware. Please use these tips to stay safe during this time of joy and celebration.

Driving

  • Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car.  Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.
  • If you shop at night, park in a well-lit area.
  • Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows.
  • Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice of where you parked.
  • Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or with children inside.
  • Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk or out of sight.
  • Be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your car.
  • Keep a secure hold on your purse and bags. 
  • When approaching and leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings.
  • Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.

Automated Teller Machine (ATM)

  • If you use an ATM, choose one that is located inside a secure location...

alzheimers_blog_photo.jpgNovember is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month; Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, and causes problems with one’s thinking, memory, and behavior. While there is no cure that has been developed, you can take steps to help reduce your likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s as you age. Here are five things you can do to reduce that risk: 

  1. Exercise. 80% of older adults with Alzheimer’s disease also have cardiovascular disease. Doctors believe that the increased blood and oxygen flow in the brain during exercise may help prevent cognitive decline as you age. If exercise has always been part of your lifestyle, keep it up! If not, now is the time to get started by doing something as simple as taking morning walks around the neighborhood, or joining a water aerobics class at the local gym.
  2. Sleep. There are small protein clusters in brains called amyloids; these amyloids are partly to blame for neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s. Amyloids are flushed out of the brain while you sleep, so getting seven to eight hours of good sleep a night gives your body enough time to clean out the amyloids. Try making the bedroom a quiet and peaceful room by...

tackling_the_holidays_blog.jpegThe weather is getting colder and the holidays are right around the corner. No matter which holidays you celebrate, November and December are traditionally a time for family gatherings, vacations, parties, and festivals. This comes with schedule changes, loud noises, decorations, and crowds. For many, this is fun and exciting, but it can also be stressful and overwhelming. 

For families with special needs children, the holidays often result in anything but cheer. Unable to cope with being overstimulated, children often act out, parents may become embarrassed or upset, and everything becomes unhinged.

Everyone deserves to enjoy their time with family and friends, and we have put together some ideas for how to de-stress the holidays for families and kids that may need a break from all the fuss. We know these may not work for every child, but hopefully with a little planning in advance, your holidays will be joyful.

  1. Tackle the family calendar. It is no secret that life gets busier during the holidays. In addition to the already crowded family calendar, special events, parties, and extra errands pop up during November and December. For a family with a child who thrives on a schedule, a...

Natashia joined the Army right after she graduated from high school. Joining the Army was her chance to start over in another city, to learn new skills, and to meet new people. She didn’t get letters from home like most of her fellow recruits, but she didn’t let that get her down. She was resilient, and she believed that made her strong. 

During her training, she worked hard to overcome her obstacles. She became an Army medic and a sharp-shooter on the air assault team. She also got married and had a son. While exciting, all of this was exhausting and stressful. As a young, working mother, she experienced mood swings and often lost her temper, which she attributed to the stress and exhaustion of parenthood in the Army. Although she was proud of her Army service, when her company was deployed to Bosnia at the same time her husband was deployed to Panama, Natashia accepted a hardship discharge to raise her baby full-time. She hoped this would ease some of her stress.  

veterans_day.jpgLeaving the Army did not reduce Natashia’s drive. She took full advantage of the GI Bill to earn her Associate’s degree, eventually going on to earn her Bachelor’s, and then a Master’s Degree in Nursing and...


Halloween is just around the corner, and the Sheppard Pratt Security Team is interested in keeping everyone safe not only at work, but at home too. The excitement of Halloween can often make children forget to be careful. So, here are some tips that will help keep your little ghosts and goblins safe:

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Trick-or-Treating:

  • Make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth accompanies young children.
  • Plan and discuss the trick-or-treat route your children intend to follow. This is ideally a well-lit, well-populated course. Instruct your kids to stick to this route, and establish what time they should return home. 
  • Write your child's name, address, and phone number on a piece of paper, and slip it in a pocket or pin it to his or her costume in case your child gets separated from the group.
  • Review pedestrian safety rules with your children, including looking both ways before crossing the street and not crossing the street between parked cars.
  • Remind your children to stop only at homes that are well-lit, and to never enter a stranger's house. 
  • If you're driving your kids around to trick-or-treat, make sure they get out of your car on the curb side of the road.
  • Instruct your...

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