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After doing some research, I discovered that November is not just Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. It shares the billing with several other health and family issues. I decided to spotlight some of those that seemed most appropriate for us and include a link or two for each.
National Adoption Awareness Month – Adoption.com has a list of family activities for each day of the month. If you have one or more adopted children or grandchildren or know someone who does, these would be fun to check out. Many of the suggestions are intended to raise community awareness of adoption and its needs, but some of the ideas are specific for the family, such as creating a family tree that includes everyone. As they point out, “While it is very important to make sure your child knows he or she is an important part of your family, it is sometimes equally important to recognize and acknowledge the members of his or her birth family. When it comes to creating an adoption family tree, using the generic templates available online are often difficult to impossible. One way you can avoid the trappings of a traditional family tree is by creating a Genogram (see their site for a link) . A Genogram is a self-styled diagram of your family, based on relationships and connections, rather than branches which don’t accommodate the uniqueness of adoption. Using a Genogram is as easy as downloading some free software and entering relationships as you know them.” Sounds interesting! You can find more ideas and resources at Adoption.com.
Diabetes Awareness Month – Find excellent information about Diabetes.org. It is a great resource for those who have it or are caregivers to those who have it. I am very familiar with Diabetes as several members of my spread-out family have dealt with it over the years. However, I was very interested to read on their site that, “In August, 2008, the American Diabetes Association conducted an online survey to find out what people really fear most. The survey findings showed that, among a short list of rare occurrences, 16% of respondents feared being in a plane crash, 13% feared snake bites, 5% feared being hit by lightning and 4% feared a shark attack, while only 5% reported a fear of getting an illness/disease.
Additionally, when asked specifically about diseases, 49% reported fear of cancer, and only 3% cited a fear of diabetes. Ironically, one in ten adults reports having been diagnosed with diabetes, while fewer (6%) have been diagnosed with cancer. Further, cancer and diabetes have similar rates of expected new cases each year, suggesting that levels of fear around diabetes are low. While half of adults fear cancer and many fewer fear diabetes, statistics show that in each case over 1 million new cases will be diagnosed annually.” Wow! That is excellent incentive to take this disease very seriously. If any of you have been putting off getting tested, now’s the time to head in for a quick and easy test.
Family Caregiver Month – Did you know there is a National Family Caregivers Association? I’ve been caregiving for decades and never knew that, but there is. And they work to raise awareness for our needs in the month of November! To quote from their webpage, “The National Family Caregivers Association educates, supports, empowers and speaks up for the more than 50 million Americans who care for loved ones with a chronic illness or disability or the frailties of old age. NFCA reaches across the boundaries of diagnoses, relationships and life stages to help transform family caregivers’ lives by removing barriers to health and well being.” Their website has many useful resources available and is well worth checking out. They also recommended the book, A Family Caregiver Speaks Up – “It Doesn’t Have to Be This Hard,” written by Suzanne Mintz, President and Co-Founder of the National Family Caregivers Association.
Hospice & Home Care –As their site explains, “Each November, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) celebrates National Home Care Month, National Hospice Month, and Home Care Aide Week (November 9-15th) to honor caregiving heroes who make a remarkable difference in the lives of patients and the families they serve. The themes for November 2008 are: Home Care: “Preserving Health Independence and Freedom,” “Home Care Aide: “Honoring Those Who Honor Others,” and Hospice: “Love In Action.” If you are currently working with any Home Care staff or Hospice personnel, this is an extra good time to say a huge THANK YOU, or even give them a box of chocolates (yes, I am a confirmed chocoholic!) and a big hug!
Having dealt with Hospice in the past, and seeing a good friend being blessed by them recently, I can attest to their professionalism coupled with wonderful and caring attitudes! We have also been blessed by home health care workers in the past and appreciated their help so much. So I want to take this moment to say THANK YOU personally to all of you who bless so many in this way!
Prematurity Awareness Month – This one also hits close to home for me and I, for one, am so grateful to all the NICU nurses and doctors who blessed us so much! The March of Dimes is well known for their wonderful work in this area and you can learn a lot by visiting their website at. Among other interesting things there, you will find blogs with news for moms, daily pregnancy tips, an ovulation calendar, an email newsletter you can sign up for, and so much more. If your family has been blessed with a preemie, or is anticipating that possibility, I think you’ll find this to be an excellent resource. Also there are some really great books out there on the subject. If you are interested, leave a note in the comments, or send me an email at Kaye@SandwichINK.com and I’ll do a post listing some of my favorites.
General Safety – From Thanksgiving to the end of the year, NSC.org is working hard to help us be extra careful. While this is the season for joy and merriment, it’s also the season when elderly parents may have more underfoot to trip on, and not just adorable but short grandkids. It’s important for all of us to be more aware, extra careful and do our part to safeguard all our beloveds. Pop on over to their site for some great tips. For example, did you know that “more than half of all falls occur at home. In preparation for older guests,” they recommend that you, “arrange furniture to provide open pathways, remove or secure area rugs, and move aside electrical and telephone cords that can cause tripping. Maintain good lighting throughout the house, especially on the stairs, and secure handrails near both indoor and outdoor steps.” They have an excellent article with many falls-proofing tips and offer other information about caring for aging parents. As they point out, “most falls are preventable. Take precautions to decrease the risk.” You’ll find their information excellent for the holidays and beyond.
Well, that’s it for November for November Awareness issues for caregivers in or out of the Multigenerational Sandwich Generation dealing with a wide variety of issues while caring for elderly parents and perhaps juggling grandkids.