Yesterday, was Veterans Day (Armistice Day), the 99th anniversary of the end of World War I. Though we honor all veterans on this day, the day is especially dedicated to the living veterans who have served our country in times of war and peace (History Channel).
Veterans Day is also commemorated by Great Britain, France, Australia, and Canada. In these countries and in the U.S., veterans are honored by two minutes of silence.
In 1960, 22.5 million veterans came from every region of America; 45% percent of the total population was either a veteran, a family member, or a dependent survivor (Department of Veterans Affairs). Today, the veteran population is about 20.4 million, fewer than 10% U.S. adults (Pew Research); veterans reside throughout the country but tend to live in rural and smaller metropolitan areas near military bases (Forbes).
In some ways, today's veterans are no different than the rest of us. They're children, parents, grandparents, neighbors, friends, and coworkers. It's their oath to protect our country (Military.com) that sets them apart.
Other key facts about today's veterans ( Department of Veterans Affairs; Pew Research):
On this Veterans Day weekend, CareSmart offers sincere gratitude to our veterans for their service to our country.
November is National Family Caregivers Month... a month for celebrating the contributions of family caregivers to their family members, friends, and neighbors.
What is a family caregivers? A family caregiver is one of over 43 million people in the United States who provide unpaid care to a family member, friend, or neighbor. Approximately 60% of family caregivers are women. While the average age of a family caregiver is 49, 25% are between the ages of 18 and 34 (AARP & NAC). Believe it or not, over a million children between the ages of 8 and 18 are also family caregivers (Emblem Health & NAC).
You might be a family caregiver and not realize it. Maybe surgery is keeping a friend from driving for a few weeks so you offer to pick up groceries. Maybe you shovel the driveway for your neighbor. Maybe you've started taking your grandmother to church. Maybe you do all of the above tasks for a loved one.
Caring for others is part of the human experience; its part of what we do for others (spouses, parents, siblings, children, other family member, friends, neighbors) because we care about them. Sometimes the role is temporary. Sometimes we share it with others. Sometimes it becomes a full-time job that grows to include medication management and wound care.
Emotionally, caring for a loved one can be one of the most significant interactions in our lives. Health wise, the support provided by family caregivers can be invaluable (CMS & The Joint Commission). Economically, the monetary value of family caregiving to the U.S. is staggering: in 2013, $470,000,000,000 slightly less than the value of Walmart sales (AARP).
This year's Family Caregiver theme is "Caregiving Around the Clock" in honor of family caregivers for whom caregiving is a 24/7 job. If you're one of these caregivers... or if caring for a loved one is starting to take on more significance in your life, check out the following websites for support and tips to help you care for your loved one... and for yourself.
Last but not least, visit CareSmart's "Caring for You" page. Feel free to visit our other pages, too, for help with caring for your loved one.
"It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing."
- Mother Theresa
The recent hurricanes in the southeast and fires in California remind us how quickly we might need to act in case of emergency. Under challenging circumstances, however, functioning wisely can be a challenge. The situation can be especially challenging for the elderly and disabled.
Given recent emergencies, it seems like a good time for each of us to review (and perhaps revise) our own personal emergency plans. Focus on two major strategies: a reliable warning system/s and an action plan.
One of your top priorities is to make sure that you receive timely and reliable emergency notifications. The Lake County Emergency Management Agency suggests taking advantage of the following five systems. (Click here for a related video.)
On your cell phone...
Tune in to broadcast radio and TV for emergency alerts include amber (child abduction) and targeted weather alerts.
Sign up for alerts from www.alertlakecounty.com. The site also contains helpful information on floods, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and temperature extremes. (If you don't live in Lake County, check with your local county government to learn more about local emergency planning.)
Your second priority... preparing for an emergency. Depending on your particular situation, preparation can take some time and effort... but it could save lives and/or make it much easier to deal with an emergency situation when it occurs.
Emergency Planning Guides are available from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
These guides include information on the following:
Emergency Kits that include medications, personal items like eye glasses and hearing aids, and important documents (see below*)
Making a Plan about what you will DO in an emergency. Topics include
Two additional tips from the Lake County Sheriff's office:
"Plans are nothing; planning is everything."
Dwight D. Eisenhower