And suddenly, we are in November, bringing on the beginning of the winter holiday season. Earlier this week, I was chatting with a work colleague, still enjoying an active lifestyle in her mid-seventies that includes working to help people her age who are not as fortunate. For Thanksgiving, she will have dinner with her son and his family who live close by, and then join a group of friends for an early evening gathering. She is, she knows, one of the lucky ones and feels grateful for her good fortune.
But there is a touch of wistfulness in her voice when she describes Thanksgiving’s past.
“Five years ago, before I downsized and moved into an apartment, I had 16 people gathered around my dining room table for Thanksgiving dinner,” she said. “Now I’m a guest at others’ tables and not so much at the center of activity.”
There are many ways to enjoy the holidays, and those options evolve as we pass through the various stages of life. The former residents of the “children’s table” might now have children of their own. The kids who are home from college might disdain the traditional turkey for some vegetarian specialties more to their liking. And our basic beliefs about our holidays might be challenged as we reassess our traditions and consider them in a 21st Century context. But there is one enduring constant that informs and enriches any holiday: thinking of others and their needs, easing their journey, can add depth and meaning to our celebrations.
Along those lines, I’d like to offer a suggestion, one that reflects my great faith in the Alliance to use its resources wisely and target help where help is needed. For caregivers, family members, and friends, the holidays can offer little or no respite from the relentless night-and-day task of supporting an older loved one, whether it is dementia or Alzheimer’s, recovering from a stroke. The Alliance advocates for and empowers all of these caregivers and helps them navigate the challenges that they face every day, not just during the holidays.
November 29 is Giving Tuesday, and November is National Family Caregivers Month. It is a happy coincidence. Giving Tuesday is about supporting causes that people believe in and hold close to their hearts. With this being National Family Caregiver’s Month, it seems like a kismet to highlight the work the Alliance does for all the caregivers in our lives. We can accomplish so much more together and with your support, let all the caregivers in our lives know that their voices are heard.
As Board Chair, I know I speak for everyone at the Alliance in thanking those who help us with a gift to the Alliance. With your financial support, the Alliance can continue to advocate for those whose voices feel they are not always heard. Rest assured that your support will not go unnoticed and is allowing us to have impact and make positive changes.
I know when I gather with family members for Thanksgiving dinner, I’ll be reminding myself of the many things in my life that inspire my gratitude. My association with the Alliance will be high on my list. I hope you’ll join me in sharing some of your bounty with the Alliance, helping to support and expand its important work, and lifting and easing the lives of caregivers.
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