By BARBARA JENSEN

Business Manager

Senior Center

of Finney County

The holidays are meant to be a relaxing, joyful time. The last thing anyone wants is to deal with a health problem or injury. So keep these holiday safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in mind.

Wash your hands often. Keeping your hands clean is a great way to help keep yourself free of germs and viruses.

Stay warm. Older adults are especially vulnerable to serious health problems caused by cold temperatures. Dress warmly in several layers of clothing.

Travel safely. Don't drink and drive or let someone else drink and drive. Always wear your seat belt, and if you travel with children, make sure they're buckled in using a car seat, booster seat or seat belt.

Be smoke-free. If you smoke, quitting today is the best gift you can give yourself and your loved ones.

Get check-ups and vaccinations. Yearly flu shots are especially important for older people. Talk to your doctor about other tests and screenings you should have, and schedule them now.

Watch the kids. Holidays often mean visits with grandchildren. Make sure potentially dangerous toys, food, household items, choking hazards and other objects are out of kids' reach.

Prevent injuries. Use step stools, not furniture, when putting up decorations. Never leave candles, stoves or fireplaces unattended, and make sure you have a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector with working batteries in your home.

Handle and prepare food safely. Wash your hands and kitchen surfaces often while you're cooking. Keep raw meat and eggs away from other foods and eating surfaces. Put leftovers in the refrigerator within two hours.

Eat healthy and be active. Pick just a couple of your favorite foods from the tempting buffet. If you can safely do so, try dancing to your favorite holiday music to get some exercise.

Paratransit cards now available

The 2010 paratransit cards for the minibus service are now available at the Finney County Transit Center. Paratransit cards will expire at the end of the year so don't delay. Come by the transit office, 1008 N. 11th St., to update your information and pick up your free gift. If you are not able to come by the office, call 272-3626 and we will update your information by phone.

You must have a current paratransit card to ride the bus so be sure to have yours before the end of the year to avoid any disruption of your transportation service.

Scheduled activities

Thursday: TOPS meets at 8:30 a.m. The art class meets at 10 a.m. Still need to research your Medicare Part D? SHICK counselors will be available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. No appointments are needed for this day. The Ambassador Singers will meet at 1 p.m. The Low Vision Support Group meets at 3 p.m.

Friday: Line dancing starts at 8:30 a.m. STEPS exercise class is at 10 a.m. Craft Shop check-in begins at 10 a.m. St. Catherine Hospital will offer a health services nurse to do screenings from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bridge is played at 1 p.m.

Monday: The exercise group meets at 8:30 a.m. STEPS exercise class is scheduled at 10 a.m. Humdinger Band will meet at 12:30 p.m. Double pinochle is played at 1 p.m. Transit Committee meets in the Transit Building at 2 p.m. Hope's cooking class in the Craft Room starts at 2 p.m. The UpBeats will practice at 3 p.m. Duplicate bridge is played at 7 p.m.

Tuesday: The Senior Citizens Association Board meets at 2 p.m. The Finney County Committee on Aging meets at 3:30 p.m. Pitch is played at 12:45 p.m., duplicate bridge at 1:15 p.m., bridge at 7 p.m., and 8-Ball from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Dec. 16: An attorney from Kansas Legal Services will be available beginning at 10 a.m. An appointment is required. Call 272-3620 to schedule your appointment. "Completely Unraveled" works from 1 to 4 p.m. The dance begins at 7:30 p.m., featuring "Craig Stevens."

Lunch menus

Lunch is served at noon.

Thursday: Oven-fried chicken, mashed potatoes, spinach, pudding, wheat bread.

Friday: Smothered steak with onions, tri-taters, peas with pimentos, pears, fruit muffin.

Monday: Beef and noodles, stewed tomatoes, coleslaw, fruit cocktail, wheat roll.

Tuesday: Chili con carne, tossed salad, carrot sticks, crackers, cinnamon roll.

Dec. 16: Chicken fajita, Corn O'Brien, Spanish rice, apple crisp, tortilla.

Visit the Senior Center of Finney County Web site at www.seniorcenterfc.com.