Insurance Update
December 2013
Issue No. 41          
In this issue
Extreme cold prevention guide
Save energy and resources this holiday season
Ten warning signs your older family member may need help
Long-Term Care Insurance
Extreme cold prevention guide

There are steps you can take in advance for greater wintertime safety in your home and in your car.



About Us 

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 A not-for-profit ministry of
Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust Inc.

Church of the Brethren Insurance Services provides ancillary coverage for ministers and other employees of congregations, districts, and camps.
Medical and ancillary plans are available to Brethren-affiliated employer groups.
Long-Term Care Insurance is available for all members of the Church of the Brethren, their family and friends, and employees of Church of the Brethren-affiliated agencies, organizations, colleges, and retirement communities.  
Contact Us 
1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120

"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!"

Luke 2:14 (NRSV)


'Tis  the season for celebrating Christ's birth and our valuable connections with family and friends. From all of us at Church of the Brethren Insurance Services, we hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed new year.


For many regions of the country, it's also the season for cold weather. What can you do to stay safe and healthy during winter? Check out this month's health guide, which takes a look at ways to prepare your home and body for extreme weather conditions.


Through gift-giving, travel, turning on Christmas lights, and responding to dropping temperatures for some parts of the U.S., winter is a time for consuming more than usual. What can you do to manage your consumption of the earth's resources in this high-waste time of the year? Find out in the article below.


Your older loved ones might be sending you a message about their health. Are you picking up on the signs that they may need help with their day-to-day activities? Read below for 10 changes to be alert for in older adults, and learn how long-term care insurance might be a wise investment for you or those you love.


We're honored to be your chosen health care partner. Thank you for allowing us to serve you.



Scott, Tammy, and Connie


Save energy and resources this holiday seasonResources

Make "green" holiday choices when you are shopping, traveling, sending cards, decorating, and choosing gifts. When you save energy and resources, you protect the environment and safeguard health both now and for the future. 


The winter holidays are nearly here! Some of us are ready for the festivities, but many of us are still planning and shopping for decorations and gifts and organizing holiday gatherings. We want to enjoy the fun and spirit of the season, but we don't want to spend too much money or use too many resources in the process. And most of all, we want to enjoy quality time with those we love.


The good news is that we can participate in all these holiday activities and still manage to conserve resources. In doing so, we also protect our environment. And protecting our environment can safeguard our health now and in the future.


Whether we are traveling, sending holiday cards, decorating our homes, or choosing gifts, all of us can have "green" celebrations. Even if you already reduce, reuse, and recycle, browse through the suggestions below for more ways to bring those practices into your holiday activities. If all of us make even a few eco-friendly choices, we will save energy and resources and send less trash to the landfill during this busy time of year.


Decorate with items that are energy-efficient and durable.

  • Research the most energy efficient choice for your holiday tree. The choice will vary depending on your l ocation. Below are some suggestions.
    • Use other types of decorations besides trees.
    • Buy an artificial tree that you can use for years to come.
    • Buy a smaller tree so that you have less to recycle.
    • Dispose of your tree at a chipping facility or return to the environment in other eco-friendly ways.
  • Use energy efficiently.
    • Consider using few or no lights in your holiday decorations.
    • Decorate with more energy efficient LED (light emitting diodes) strings.
    • Plug your decorative indoor and outdoor lights into a timer to save electricity.
  • Decorate creatively and inexpensively with natural materials from your yard or with items you already own.
  • Choose durable ornaments from wood, metal, or cloth rather than plastic or thin glass.

Use fewer resources when you shop, give presents, and wrap gifts. 

  • Take your own bags on shopping trips. Keep them in the car so they're ready whenever you stop at a store.
  • Conserve energy when shopping. Use mass transit if possible. If you have to drive, combine several errands in one trip or carpool with family and friends.
  • Give gifts that are durable, energy-efficient, recyclable, or made of natural products.
  • Buy from local shops and craft shows or from companies that use fair-trade practices.
  • Search antique and second-hand stores for unique gifts.
  • Make your own gifts: knit, sew, bake, or create art from reused items.
  • Make calendars using your own photographs or make a recipe book with your favorite recipes
  • Give a membership or an experience -- tuition for a class or a visit to a museum.
  • Give of your time -- coupons for providing a meal, planting a garden, cleaning, or using another talent or skill.
  • Plant a tree in someone's yard.
  • Use creative materials for gift wrap:
    • Scarves, fabric, handkerchiefs
    • Old maps, sheet music, advertisements
    • Reusable tins
    • Usable baking pans or other home or garden items

Give cards that are eco-friendly and save resources.

  • Make your own cards.
  • Buy cards made from recycled paper (look for "post-consumer"  content), printed in non-toxic inks, and printed on nontoxic bleaches.
  • Buy cards and envelopes that can be recycled in your town. Choose cards printed on white stock without metallic or plastic coatings.
  • Buy cards wrapped in the least bulky or most recyclable packaging.
  • Substitute postcards for cards that require envelopes.
  • Reuse the fronts of old holiday cards as gift tags.

Eat sustainable food and avoid disposable containers and extra packaging.

  • Research sustainable food choices in your area and buy locally if possible.
  • Buy snacks and beverages in bulk to avoid extra packaging.
  • Serve food with washable utensils, plates, and glasses, rather than disposable items.
  • Make homemade eggnog, hot chocolate, or iced tea in large quantities, and prepare pitchers of ice water in advance to reduce waste from water and soda bottles or cans.

Choose a few of these ideas that will be easy for you to incorporate into your holiday celebration. Not only will you conserve energy and resources, but chances are you will also simplify your life. And you may get more of what we all need at this time of year -- time to enjoy your family and friends and to focus on the joys of the season.


Source: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Ten warning signs your older family member may need helpTen


Changes in physical and mental abilities that may occur with age can be difficult to detect -- for older adults and their family members, friends, and caregivers too. To help in determining when an older adult may need assistance in the home, the Eldercare Locator has  compiled a list of 10 warning signs. Any one of the following behaviors may indicate the need to take action. It is also important to inform the older adult's physician of these physical or psychological behavior changes.



Has your loved one --   

  1. Changed eating habits, resulting in losing weight, having no appetite, or missing meals?
  2. Neglected personal hygiene, including wearing dirty clothes and having body odor, bad breath, neglected nails and teeth, or sores on the skin?
  3. Neglected their home, with a noticeable change in cleanliness and sanitation?
  4. Exhibited inappropriate behavior, such as being unusually loud, quiet, paranoid, or agitated, or making phone calls at all hours?
  5. Changed relationship patterns, causing friends and neighbors to express concerns?
  6. Had physical problems, such as burns or injury marks, which may result from general weakness, forgetfulness, or misuse of alcohol or prescribed medications?
  7. Decreased or stopped participating in activities that were once important to them, such as bridge or a book club, dining with friends, or attending religious services?
  8. Exhibited forgetfulness, resulting in unopened mail, piling of newspapers, not filling their prescriptions, or missing appointments?
  9. Mishandled finances, such as not paying bills, losing money, paying bills twice or more, or hiding money?
  10. Made unusual purchases, such as buying more than one subscription to the same magazine, entering an unusually large number of contests, or increasing purchases from television advertisements?

Through the Eldercare Locator, older adults and their loved ones can get connected with information on local aging resources that offer assistance for aging in place, enabling older adults to continue living independently in their homes and communities.


For additional information on programs and services for older adults and their caregivers in your area, contact the Eldercare Locator team at 800-677-1116

Long-Term Care Insurancelong-term
As you read above, behavioral changes in your loved one's health can indicate the need for long-term care services. How will you afford this costly type of care? 


Brethren Insurance Services is here to help you. We offer Long-Term Care Insurance for all members of the Church of the Brethren, their family and friends, and employees of Church of the Brethren-affiliated agencies, organizations, colleges, and retirement communities.   


If you are interested in obtaining this coverage, contact Brethren Insurance Services at or 800-746-1505 for a free, no-obligation proposal or click here to request more information