by Tracy E. Hill, Ph.D.
November celebrates several national monthly observations including but not limited to: National Alzheimer’s Disease Month, National Family Caregivers Month, National Long Term Care Awareness Month and of course – National Gratitude Month.
Let’s see what all these observations are about.
National Alzheimer’s Diseases Month was proclaimed a national holiday in 1983 (U.S.) by then President Ronald Reagan. Interestingly enough, Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1994 and he eventually succumbed to the ravages of the disease in 2004. Alzheimer’s was first diagnosed in 1906 by Dr. Alois Alzheimer in one of his patients known as “Auguste D.” Dr. Alzheimer reported that Auguste experienced memory loss, psychological changes and paranoia and had shrinkage in her brain at the time of death. In 1974, Congress established the National Institute on Aging which continues to support Alzheimer’s research. After Reagan recognized the significance, the NIA establishes a nationwide network for more research. Cognex is the first FDA approved drug for Alzheimer’s in 1994 and by 2010, Alzheimer’s becomes the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. The United Kingdom launches an effort to find a cure by 2025 and launches the G8 Dementia Summit in 2013 in it’s efforts. Much more research including a cure is needed but scientists such as those at the Pasteur Institute are working hard to help Silver Sagers. Help celebrate this month by: a) making a donation to an alzheimer charity such as the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, the Alzheimer’s Society (UK, Europe) or the European ADNI.
National Family Caregivers Month recognizes the dedication of family members and friends who offer long term care to loved ones. As our https://www.silversagemag.com/caregiving/ shows, many devoted family members step into roles they are often unprepared for yet valiantly take on to help their parents live out the remainder of their years with dignity and respect. In 1997, then President Bill Clinton marked November as the official month for National Family Caregivers. If you want to celebrate this month – make a donation to Meals on Wheels, help out at any local senior center, or help your sibling or friend take a break and be a caregiver for the day or weekend.
National Long Term Care Awareness Month was more recently recognized in 2001 by the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. Their goal is to get people to focus on long-term care awareness, and have a plan ready for themselves as they near age 65 or so. More than 70% of adults over the age of 65 will need long term care services. More than 78% of adults receiving long term care at home, rely on caregiving from family and friends. Long-term care insurance provides coverage for nursing-home care, home-health care, personal or adult day care for individuals above the age of 65 or those with a chronic or disabling condition that need daily supervision. Caregivers often skip vacations, use their own personal money to provide care and often have to alter their work schedules permanently to help care for their loved ones. Long term care insurance helps protect against all that. Although expensive, it may be worth it. How to observe this – use the hashtag #longermcareawarenessmonth on social media, thank any caregivers you know with a card or flowers and talk to your loved ones about long term care insurance.
We can be thankful for National Gratitude Month due to Stacey Grewal, author of Gratitude and Goals, who received the national recognition of this month in the United States and Canada in 2015. Gratitude is the appreciation that something is valuable to you and that it is freely given to you. A dear friend of mine likes to say “be thankful that what you have, is enough.” How to celebrate this month: invite a stranger or someone who has no family over for Thanksgiving Dinner with your family, leave a note of gratitude to those you love and appreciate whether at home or work and enjoy family and friends for who they are and the love they bring to you.
Happy November all!
Photo credits by: Deviant art: Gratitude by Mockingbirdontree Pia Scherzer, Germany and seniormotif.com
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