Memorial Day

Remember and Honor

To remember and honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country…this is the meaning of Memorial Day. Without their bravery and true heroism, we would not have the freedoms we do. And it is our responsibility as Americans to remember and honor them each and every day, especially today.

History of Memorial Day

Memorial Day was initially known as Decoration Day and honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a historic speech while 5,000 participants decorated the graves of 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington Cemetery. It was after World War I when the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars. In December of 2000, a resolution was passed that asks all Americans to pause at 3PM local time for a moment of silence.

The Story of the Poppy

The poppy became a powerful symbol of remembrance thanks to a famous poem written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. McCrae was a Canadian who served as a brigade surgeon for an Allied artillery unit. He was inspired when he saw the bright red flowers blooming on broken ground; and so he wrote a poem from the point of view of the fallen soldiers buried underneath them.

 

In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

 

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

 

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

 

Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Soak Up the Sun…Safely

Summer is just around the corner, which mean barbeques, swimming, and SUN! And while most of us enjoy getting outside and soaking up a little Vitamin D, it is important to remember to be safe when heading outside into the sun. Per the American Academy of Dermatology Association, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and unprotected UV exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer.

With that being said, it is important to follow these three steps to protect your skin:

  • Seek shade: Remember, the sun’s rays are the strongest between 10AM and 2PM
  • Wear sun-protective clothing: Sunglasses and hats are key!
  • Apply sunscreen: Use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with at least SPF 30

Signs of Skin Cancer

Finding skin cancer early, before it has spread, makes it much easier to treat. If you know what to look for, you can often spot warning signs early on. Doctors recommend checking your own skin about once a month using a full-length mirror in a well-lit room. You can also use a hand mirror to check areas that are harder to see.

Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer, while basal and squamous cell skin cancers are more common but are usually very treatable. The American Cancer Society’s website discusses these types of skin cancers and what to look out for.

Melanoma

Use the “ABCDE” rule to look for some of the common signs of melanoma:

  • Asymmetry – one part of a mole or birthmark doesn’t match the other
  • Border – the edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred
  • Color – the color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue
  • Diameter – the spot is larger than ¼ inch across (although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this)
  • Evolving – the mole is changing in size, shape, or color

Basal Cell Carcinomas

These types of skin cancers typically grow on parts of the body that get the most sun, such as the face, head, and neck. However, they can still show up anywhere. Here is what you should look for:

  • Flat, firm, pale, or yellow areas (similar to a scar)
  • Raised reddish patches, might be itchy
  • Small shiny, pearly bumps that are pink or red
  • Pink growths with raised edges and a lower area in the center, which might have abnormal blood vessels spreading out like the spokes of a wheel
  • Open sores that may have oozing or crusted areas and do not heal, or heal and then come back

Squamous Cell Carcinomas

Similarly to basal cell carcinomas, these typically grow on the parts of the body that get the most sun but can appear anywhere. You should look for:

  • Rough or scaly red patches, which may crust or bleed
  • Raised growths or lumps, sometimes with a lower area in the center
  • Open sores that may have oozing or crusted areas and do not heal, or heal and then come back
  • Wart-like growths

Talk to Your Doctor

Although these are good examples of what to look for, some skin cancers may look different than these descriptions. It is important to talk to your doctor about anything you are concerned about, such as new spots and other skin changes.

 

 

National Senior Health and Fitness Day

Benefits of Physical Activity

Today is National Senior Health and Fitness Day, making it a perfect day to focus on the importance of exercise. There are plenty of benefits of physical activity for people of any age, but let’s highlight some specifically for seniors:

  • Improves physical ability for everyday tasks
  • Helps reduce the risk of falls
  • Helps control joint swelling and pain associated with arthritis
  • Improves heart health
  • Can help reduce blood pressure
  • Boosts mood to help combat anxiety and depression

 

Exercises for Seniors

We already know the importance of physical activity, but we also have to remember it is equally important to be safe while exercising. This means choosing exercises that work for you based on your age and physical fitness, while also considering any injuries or physical limitations that may impact your ability. It is also important to talk with your physician before jumping right into a new exercise routine.

Some of the best exercises for older adults include:

  • Water aerobics
  • Seated exercises, such as toe taps and heel raises or seated yoga
  • Resistance band workouts
  • Walking

You can also check out this exercise plan for seniors that Healthline put together!

 

A Healthy Diet

Exercising is only part of what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet is another very important part, and the definition of healthy eating changes a little as you age. The National Council on Aging put together a list of six tips for eating healthy as you get older.

  1. Know what a healthy plate looks like
  2. Look for important nutrients, such as lean protein, fruits and veggies, whole grains, and low-fat dairy
  3. Read the nutrition facts label
  4. Use recommended servings
  5. Stay hydrated
  6. Stretch your food budget

 

Get Started

So let today be the first day of a healthier lifestyle! Check out these additional resources to help you get started.

 

Better Hearing and Speech Month

Better Hearing and Speech Month Facts

Each year, Better Hearing and Speech Month in May provides an opportunity to raise awareness about communication disorders and other hearing and speech problems. The event also serves as a reminder to people to get their hearing checked. Early identification and intervention is very important, and getting your hearing checked is the first step!

According to the CDC’s website, the World Health Organization’s first World Report on Hearing found that:

  • Noise is acknowledged as an important public health issue and a top environmental risk faced by the world today
  • Over 50% of people aged 12-35 years listen to music via personal audio devices at volumes that pose a risk to their hearing
  • Keeping the volume below 60% is a general rule of thumb for safety
  • You should consider using noise cancelling earphones or headphones rather than turning the volume up
  • Listening through personal audio devices should not exceed 80dB for adults or 75 dB for sensitive users, such as children, for 40 hours per week

Building Connections

“Building Connections” is the theme for 2021! You can find a variety of resources, broken down by week, on the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s website. Week 4’s focus is “Summer Skill Building, Hearing Protection for School-Aged Children.” Below are some examples of the resources available. Be sure to check out the ASHA’s website for more!

Early Identification

And remember to get your hearing checked as a first step in addressing any potential issues. Early identification is important!

 

 

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Getting the Facts

What is now Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month began as one week of celebration. It was initially celebrated the first ten days in May in honor of two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in the United States on May 7, 1843 and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, which was completed on May 10, 1869. Observance was then expanded into a month-long celebration by Congress in 1992.

 

What to Read

Looking for your next good read? Penguin Random House put together a list of must-read books in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Just to name a few…

Heart and Seoul by Jen Frederick

  • (Fiction) This is a story of a Korean adoptee who is extremely aware of the fact that she does not look like anyone in her family. By the age of 25, she has finally accepted it all – or so she thinks. After her father suddenly dies, a comment made at his funeral sparks an identity crisis that leads her to Seoul in search of her roots. When she goes to Korea in search of answers, what she finds is a forbidden love that will either welcome her home or destroy her chance of finding one.

Eat a Peach by David Chang and Gabe Ulla

  • (Memoir) After failing to find a job after graduating, David Chang convinced his father to loan him money so he could open a noodle restaurant called Momofuku. As the restaurant’s popularity continued to grow, he opened new locations across the United States and beyond. By 2009, Momofuku had been awarded two Michelin stars, and Chang opened a bakery called Milk Bar. Fast forward to 2018, and the son of Korean immigrant parents was the owner and chef of his own restaurant empire, the star of his own hit Netflix show and podcast, was named one of the most influential people of the 21st century, and had a following of over 1.2 million. His memoir is honest and heartfelt, and you will find yourself inspired as you read.

This is Paradise by Kristiana Kahakauwila

  • (Stories) This debut is a collection of stories that is said to capture the grit and glory of modern Hawai’i with breathtaking force and accuracy. Kahakauwila travels the islands of Hawai’i and provides a true depiction of life on Maui, Oahu, Kaua’i and the Big Island. In reading her stories, you will feel the powerful desire to truly belong and have a place to call home.

Check out the full list here!

 

Happy Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

 

Jewish American Heritage Month

History of Jewish American Heritage Month

Jewish American Heritage Month was born on April 20, 2006 when President George W. Bush proclaimed it would be celebrated in the month of May. This was, in part, thanks to Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Senator Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania urging the president to declare a month that would recognize the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture.

 

Celebrate by Learning

What better way to celebrate than through learning? There are so many fun and educational resources out there, including books, movies/documentaries, and podcasts! Read below for a list of a few, as well as links to full lists!

Read

ContemporaryChanging the World from the Inside Out: A Jewish Approach to Personal and Social Change by Rabbi David Jaffe

  • An inspiring and accessible guide, drawn from Jewish wisdom, for building the inner qualities necessary to work effectively for social justice.

Debut FictionAnna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

  • Set in Poland during the Second World War, Anna and the Swallow Man is a stunning, literary, and wholly original New York Times bestseller and Publishers Weekly best book of the year perfect for readers of The Book Thief and All the Light We Cannot See.

PoetryAlmost Complete Poems by Stanley Moss

  • Moss is oceanic: his poems rise, crest, crash, and rise again like waves. His voice echoes the boom of the Old Testament, the fluty trill of Greek mythology, and the gongs of Chinese rituals as he writes about love, nature, war, oppression, and the miracle of language.

More books here.

 

Watch

School Ties (1992) – Movie

  • David Greene is brought into a prestigious 1950s school to help their football team to beat the school’s old rivals. David, however, is from a working class background, so he isn’t really “one of them”, but he’s very successful at making friends. David is Jewish, and has to keep this a secret from his friends for fear of being rejected.

The Chosen (1991) – Movie

  • In 1944, in Brooklyn, two Jewish kids become friends. One is from a very conservative family, and the other is more liberal. The issues of importance of tradition, parental expectations, and the formation of Israel cause constant friction.

Shared Legacies (2020) – Documentary

  • The often forgotten story of the coalition and friendship between the Jewish and African-American communities during the Civil Rights Movement.

More to watch here.

 

Listen

The Jewish Lives Podcast

  • Monthly show, hosted by Stanford Storytelling Project veteran Alessandra Wollner, that explores the lives of influential Jewish individuals.

Two Nice Jewish Boys Podcast

  • Weekly Israeli podcast hosted by Naor Meningher and Eytan Weinstein that offers a glimpse of Israel and some of the interesting people there.

Judaism Unbound Podcast

  • Project that catalyzes and supports grassroots efforts by ‘disaffected but hopeful’ Jewish Americans to re-imagine and re-design Jewish life in America for the 21st century.

Find more podcasts here.

National Hospital Week – May 9-15

Recognizing Hospitals, Health Systems, and Health Care Workers

As the week draws to an end, we want to take a moment to recognize that this week is National Hospital Week. Our hospitals and health systems – as well as the dedicated health care professionals who work there – are a crucial part of our communities. This past year has proven the lengths they will go to in order to ensure we are safe and healthy. And, now more than ever, we owe it to them to show our gratitude for all they do.

Thank You, Hospital Workers!

Thank you to all of the health care professionals and hospital workers out there! You have put in incredibly long hours and had to witness countless moments of heartbreak throughout the pandemic. You’ve offered a hand to hold in final moments when loved ones could not be there. You’ve been a source of hope and strength throughout this past year, and we are truly inspired by you!

National Hospital Week Fight Song

In honor of National Hospital Week, the American Hospital Association partnered with Musicians on Call to write a song about hospital workers’ experiences in the past year. Check it out here!

Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative brain disorder for which there is currently no cure. However, there are many different treatment options to manage symptoms of the disease.

Symptoms

Symptoms typically develop slowly over the years, but this can vary from patient to patient. While one of these symptoms on their own is not cause for concern, you should contact your doctor if you are experiencing more than one.

  • Tremor
  • Small handwriting
  • Loss of smell
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Trouble moving or walking
  • Constipation
  • A soft or low voice
  • Masked face
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Stooping or hunching over

Living with Parkinson’s

It can be challenging to live with Parkinson’s, but – in addition to working with your doctor and following recommended therapies – there are things you can focus on to help maintain your quality of life, including:

  • Diet and nutrition
  • Emotional well-being
  • Daily living activities
  • Dental health
  • Sexual health

Raising Awareness

In honor of Parkinson’s Awareness Month, the Parkinson’s Foundation invites you to take the #KnowMorePD quiz to see how much you know about the disease. Anyone who takes the quiz during the month of April will be entered in a weekly drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card. At the end of the month, one grand prize winner will receive a new Kindle Paperwhite pre-loaded with 12 of the foundation’s educational books on PD.

Resources

You can find an abundance of resources on the Parkinson’s Foundation’s website, including, advice for newly diagnosedliving alone, and Veterans and PD.

National Healthcare Decisions Day

In honor of National Healthcare Decisions Day today, we invite you to take a moment to think about what your wishes are in the event of a medical crisis. This past year, COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of discussing your wishes with your loved ones and documenting these wishes in the form of an advance directive.

Far too often, this conversation gets put on the back burner and people find themselves in a medical crisis with no plan. When this happens, it may be too late to receive the care you wanted.

So what is advance care planning?

It includes completing an advance directive, also known as a living will. This is a written statement that details your wishes for medical treatment should you be unable to communicate these to your doctor or healthcare provider yourself. Advance care planning also includes appointing a power of attorney (POA). This person will be responsible for making your healthcare decisions if you are unable to speak for yourself.

Why is it important?

These are important steps to take to ensure you receive the care you want in the event of a medical crisis. NHPCO President and CEO Edo Banach says, “It’s also important to remember that having these thoughtful discussions with your family and documenting your wishes can be a gift to your loved ones should you become critically ill and unable to speak for yourself. Your priorities will be clear to them,”

So for yourself and for your loved ones, please take some time to come up with a plan, discuss it with your loved ones, and document it in an advance directive.

See below for some resources from the NHPCO that can help with your advance care planning:

International Women’s Day

#ChoosetoChallenge

“A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.” -Unknown

International Women’s Day (IWD) is reserved to recognize the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, as well as to raise awareness about women’s equality, lobby for accelerated gender parity, and fundraise for female-focused charities. Although we are only beginning the third month of 2021, it has already been a big year for women. The Business Insider has compiled a list of the most powerful women in 2021. Just to name a few…

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Kamala Harris  was sworn in as the first woman, black, and South Asian Vice President of the United States on January 20th, 2021. “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country full of possibilities.” – during her VP-acceptance speech in Nov. 2020
Kathrin Jansen is the head of vaccine research and development at Pfizer. Beginning in March 2020, she led a team of 650 experts to develop a successful vaccine against COVID-19.
Sheryl Sandberg is the current Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. Under her administration, Facebook managed to recover $22.1 billion in profits in 2018 after having suffered a $56 million loss previously. She became the first female member of the company’s board of directors in 2012, and in 2014, made the Forbes’ Billionaires list due to her vesting stake in Facebook.
Shonda Rhimes is an award-winning television writer and producer. She created the ABC drama ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, which currently is the longest-running medical drama on television, in addition to several other very popular shows. She is an activist and co-founder of the ‘Times Up’ movement, seeking to promote gender equality in the television and film industry, as well as to lobby for legislation that would penalize companies that tolerate sexual or gender-based harassment.

And Everyday Heroes

These are only a handful of the many incredible women changing the world each and every day. Please find time today to reflect and recognize the everyday heroes that make achievements and contributions to make a world a better place for everyone!

Learn more about International Women’s Day and the 2021 theme ‘Choose to Challenge!’ & view Business Insider’s full list of the most powerful women in 2021.