May 2022 Diversity Calendar

The Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Committee of PLTC respectfully continues our monthly sharing of notable dates and holidays important to diverse groups whom we work with and among.

The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month, Older Americans Month, Jewish-American Heritage Month, Asian/Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Heritage Month, Haitian Heritage Month, and ALS Awareness Month.

Psychologists Against Ageism: Promoting Productive Narratives and Inclusivity about Aging:

May 4: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_L5Kz1PWER3CiUJhpWNH2lQ

National Council on Aging’s 5thAnnual Older Adult Mental Health Awareness Day Symposium

May 16: https://www.ncoa.org/article/5th-annual-older-adult-mental-health-awareness-day-symposium

May Holidays and Important dates:

May 1-2- Eid Al Fitr- (Islamic): Starting at sundown, this day marks the end of Ramadan in 2022 based on the lunar calendar. It is observed as a celebratory marking of the end of the fasting period. This is an estimated date as the final time depends on the sighting of the moon. As such, you may have seen on different websites that it’s either May 1 or May 2 this year in North America.

May 5- Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s defeat of the French army. While it’s primarily observed by Mexican Americans, others often join the celebration as well.

May 8- Birthday of the Buddha (Buddhist) celebrates the spiritual leader of the Buddhist Faith

May 8/9- United Nations Time to Remember Lost Lives from WWII

May 8- Mother’s Day (North America)

May 10- Mother’s Day (Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador)

May 16- National Older Adults Mental Health Awareness Day

May 17- International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia

May 19- Birthday of Malcolm X (Black American/Muslim)

May 19- Lag B’Omer (Jewish): A communal celebratory day among Jewish communities marking the end of a counting and mourning period.

May 21- World Day for Cultural Diversity

May 24- Pansexual & Panromantic Awareness Day

May 25- Africa Day

May 26- Ascension (Christian): A commemorative holiday marking 40 day after Easter, in which it is believed Jesus ascended to heaven

May 29- Agender Pride Day

May 30- Memorial Day: A day of remembrance for those who died in active military service

The mission of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee is to promote deeper understanding of, and respect for, the intersections of identity and culture, especially considering age and disabilities, when working with long-term care residents, staff, and colleagues. We strive to build a diverse, inclusive, and empathically minded community that advocates for equity and social justice in long-term care settings.

April 2022 Diversity Calendar

On behalf of the PLTC DE&I Committee, the following represents a list of notable events for April 2022. While it is not possible to cover every event, our hope is to identify a few that might inform your clinical, supervisory, teaching, and leadership efforts in LTC and other settings where you have influence.

Holidays and Observances

The month of April is significant for being Celebrate Diversity Month, Arab-American Heritage Month, Autism Awareness Month, Tartan (Scottish American) Heritage Month, Occupational Therapy Month, Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and National Donate Life Month.

April 2 – Ramadan begins (Muslim): holy month of fasting from dawn to dusk, introspection, and communal prayer (ṣalāt) in the mosque. It is celebrated as the month during which Muhammad received the initial revelations of the Qurʾān. Ramadan, however, is less a period of atonement than it is a time for Muslims to practice self-restraint, in keeping with ṣawm (Arabic: “to refrain”), one of the pillars of Islam.

April 2 – World Autism Awareness Day: United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. This year marks the 15th annual World Autism Awareness Day.

April 7 – International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Rwanda Genocide: established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2003. The date marks the beginning of the genocide perpetrated against members of the Tutsi minority by the Hutu extremist-led government. Within just over 100 days, more than 1 million Tutsi were systematically murdered. Moderate Hutu and others who opposed the massacres were also killed during this period.

April 2 – Hindu New Year:  also known as the Vikram Samvat. The current era of Vikram Samvat is believed to have begun in the year 57 BC. This day also marks the end of one agricultural harvest and the beginning of a new one. Festivities may have different names, the activities may vary, and the day may even be celebrated on a different day in different states in India. As a result, there are a host of new year festivities that are unique to various regions in the vast country.

April 8 – National Day of Silence (LGBTQ2+): a national student-led demonstration where LGBTQ2+ students and allies all around the country—and the world—take a vow of silence to spread awareness about the effects of the bullying and harassment of LGBTQ2+ students. The silence symbolically represents the silencing of LGBTQ2+ students.

April 15-23 – Passover (Jewish): commemorates the Hebrews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt and the “passing over,” or the sparing, of the firstborn of the Israelites. On these seven (or eight) days, all leaven, whether in bread or other mixture, is prohibited, and only unleavened bread, called matzo, may be eaten. The matzo symbolizes both the Hebrews’ suffering while in bondage and the haste with which they left Egypt in the course of the Exodus. The festival of Passover is meant to be one of great rejoicing, strict dietary laws must be observed, and special prohibitions might restrict work.

April 17 – Easter (Christian): Christian festival and cultural holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial following his crucifixion.

April 19- Start of Ridván (Baha’i): Riḍván is a twelve-day festival that celebrates the beginnings of the Bahá’í Faith in 1863. It does this by commemorating Bahá’u’lláh’s declaration that he was a Manifestation of God. Ridván means paradise, and is named for the Garden of Ridván outside Baghdad, where Bahá’u’lláh stayed for twelve days, and made this declaration.

April 21-23 – Gathering of Nations (Native American): more than 500 Native tribes meet and celebrate various traditions and cultures. These tribes meet to celebrate their traditions and cultures each year in the largest event for North America’s tribes. This year, the event is returning to in-person.

April 27-28 – Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah): Shoah, which means “catastrophe” or “utter destruction” in Hebrew, refers to the atrocities that were committed against the Jewish people during World War II.  Shoah is also known as the Holocaust, from a Greek word meaning “sacrifice by fire.” The Holocaust was the largest manifestation of antisemitism in recent history. Yom HaShoah reminds us of the horrors that Jews and other persecuted groups faced.

April 29 – The Ninth Day of Ridvan (Baha’i): In April of 1863, Baha’u’llah, founder of the Baha’i faith, learned that he had been officially banished from the Ottoman Empire. At the time, both the Persian and the Ottoman governments opposed and feared the rapid spread of Baha’u’llah’s teachings, so they reacted with violence against his followers; at least 20,000 innocent people died as a result. However, the Ottoman government was unable to slow the spread of the Baha’i faith and so they banished the founder and his followers. They ended up near the eastern bank of the Tigris River in the Garden of Ridván. On their Ninth day in the garden, the flooding Tigris receded enough so that Baha’u’llah’s family could cross the river and join him. This reunification of Baha’u’llah’s family inspired the symbolic meaning of the Ninth Day of Ridván.

The PLTC DE&I Committee

Aging and Sexuality

By: Dr. Regina Koepp, Member of the PLTC Communication Committee

Sexual health is an essential part of mental and physical health. Sadly, stereotypes about aging, ageism, and lack of education about sexual health in older adulthood for older adults and professionals create a perfect storm keeping older adults from getting their sexual health questions answered.

People all throughout their lives enjoy sex and intimacy. In fact, a recent surveyof more than 1,000 adults between 65-80 years old, found that 50.9% of men and 30.8% of women reported being sexually active. Yet, in this same survey, when it came to discussing sexual health with health care providers, only 17.3% of adults aged 65–80 reported speaking to their health care provider about sexual health in the past two years and of those, the vast majority (60.5%) initiated the conversation.

Researchers2 have found that sex among older adults is often viewed as stereotypically “shameful, disgusting, laughable, and nonexistent”, which can lead to internalized stigma and increased sexual problems for older adults.

It’s time we shift the narrative about aging and sexuality toward a more accurate and holistic view. There are many benefits to sexual relationships over 50, including physical, cognitive, relational, psychological, and spiritual3. The sooner we can remove negative beliefs about aging from conversations around intimacy and sexual health, the better.

While sex drive is known to change throughout adulthood due to hormonal changes for both men (due to andropause) and women (due to menopause) as well as medical and mental health problems, there are many things we CAN DO to boost our sex drive as we age.

  • Maintain a healthy diet: the healthier your body and mind, the healthier your sex life. A healthy diet rich with fruits and vegetables and void of processed foods is key for a healthy libido
  • Exercise: Studies show that exercise correlates with a higher sex drive and better sexual function
  • Manage your stress. It’s easier to get in “the mood” from a relaxed state
  • Communicate with your partner: if you are noticing changes in your body, so, too is your partner. It can help to talk about it.
  • Talk with your doctor if you have a problem that affects your sex life. If you’re over 65, based on research, you may be the one who has to initiate the conversation.
  • Set yourself up for success. Identify when you are at your best (physically, emotionally, energetically), and prioritize intimacy during these times.
  • Continue to have sex especially during and after menopause. This is an important point as sexual activity helps to prevent vaginal atrophy. Vaginal atrophy frequently affects menopausal and postmenopausal women. It’s a condition where the lining of the vagina gets drier and thinner from a lack of estrogen and can create a host of other problems (e.g., burning, itching, spotting and pain with sex, frequent urination, urinary tract infections)
  • Adjust your “sex”pectations. Shifting your expectations about what sex “should” look like can help and changing your focus from what your body “cannot” do to what your body “can” do will help. For example, I have worked with couples who were no longer able to have penetrative intercourse, which was their primary method of sexual intimacy. When we looked out what their bodies were able to do and broadened the view of what sexual intimacy included (e.g., oral sex, fondling, touch, fantasy talk), they had a more opportunities.
  • Get creative I have worked with people with physical disabilities and life altering medical conditions for decades. There’s a saying that people who have disabilities make more creative lovers. So, become playful, don’t take each sexual encounter so seriously and enjoy the process of finding a new more creative love making experience.
  • Get professional mental health care if needed. This can be especially helpful if changes in sex drive are due to a mental health or medical condition. Living with a medical condition that affects your sexual health is quite a big adjustment. It takes some time to come to terms with the medical condition and all of the physical and emotional changes that come with it. At times it can help to get some professional support, so please don’t hesitate to reach out for mental health care when you need it.

Above all- Don’t give up. Instead…

Talk with your doctor if you have a problem that affects your sex life and/or see a therapist who specializes in sexual health and couples therapy. Remember: If you’re over 65, based on research, you may be the one who has to initiate the conversation.

  1. Nnenaya Agochukwu-Mmonu, Preeti N. Malani, Daniela Wittmann, Matthias Kirch, Jeff Kullgren, Dianne Singer & Erica Solway (2021) Interest in Sex and Conversations About Sexual Health with Health Care Providers Among Older U.S. Adults, Clinical Gerontologist, 44:3, 299-306, DOI: 10.1080/07317115.2021.1882637
  2. Syme, M. L., & Cohn, T. J. (2016). Examining aging sexual stigma attitudes among adults by gender, age, and generational status. Aging & mental health, 20(1), 36–45. https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2015.1012044

About the Author:

Dr. Regina Koepp is a board certified clinical psychologist, clinical geropsychologist, and founder of the Center for Mental Health & Aging (www.mentalhealthandaging.com), which offers online continuing education courses to psychologists and other mental health providers. 

Dr. Koepp is creator and host of the Psychology of Aging Podcast and is a contributing writer at Psychology Today and has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Katie Couric Media, and Insider. She is a sought-after speaker and educator on the topic of sexual expression in the context of dementia. She is frequently invited to present on this topic by the Alzheimer’s Association, LeadingAge, American Parkinson’s Disease Association, (APDA) and long-term care and senior living communities. 

March 2022 Diversity Calendar

On behalf of the PLTC DE&I Committee, the following represents a list of notable events for March 2022. While it is not possible to cover every event, our hope is to identify a few that might inform your clinical, supervisory, teaching, and leadership efforts in LTC and other settings where you have influence.

Holidays and Observances: The month of March is significant for being Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, Celebrate Diversity Month, Gender Equality Month, and National Women’s History Month.

February 25-March 1: Intercalary Days or Ayyám-i-Há (Bahá’í)

March 1: Maha Shivarati (Hindu)

March 1: Mardi Gras, Carinval, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday (Christian)

March 2: Ash Wednesday (Christian)

March 16-17: Purim (Jewish)

March 7: Equal Pay Day

March 8: International Women’s Day

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day

March 18: Holi (Hindu)

March 20-21: Naw-Ruz (Bahá’í New Year)

March 25: International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

March 31: International Transgender Day of Visibility

February 2022 Diversity Calendar

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee is here to share the following notable January events for 2022. While it is not possible to cover every event, our hope is to identify a few that might inform your clinical, supervisory, teaching, and leadership efforts in LTC and other settings where you have influence. 

Notable February 2022 Holidays and Observances: 

February: Black History Month(observed for the full month of February): According to History.Com (https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/black-history-month), “Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history…Since 1976, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme. The Black History Month theme this year focuses on the importance of Black Health and Wellness. This theme acknowledges the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birthworkers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora. The 2022 theme considers activities, rituals and initiatives that Black communities have done to be well. 

February 1: National Freedom Day, which celebrates the signing of the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery in 1865. 

February 1: Lunar New Year is the first day of the year according to the lunar (lunisolar) calendar. This year it falls on February 1. In many parts of the world, people know of it as Chinese New Year. As a tiger year, 2022 will be associated with the animal’s attributes of bravery, confidence and strong will. In Chinese communities, the celebration ends on the 15th day of the new year with the Lantern Festival. Other Asian communities all over the world also follow the lunar calendar, so lunar new year is celebrated across cultural and ethnic groups. It is an important time for family reunion and delicious food; a time to reflect on the past and prepare for a bright future. 

February 3: Setsubun-Sai (Beginning of Spring), the day before the beginning of spring in Japan, celebrated yearly as part of the Spring Festival. 

February 5: Vasant Panchami, the Hindu festival that highlights the coming of spring. On this day Hindus worship Saraswati Devi, the goddess of wisdom, knowledge, music, art, and culture. 

February 16: Maghi-Purnima, a Hindu festival especially for worshippers of Lord Vishnu. Millions of devotees take a holy bath on this day. Devotees also carry out charity work on this day. 

February 20: World Day of Social Justice. Was declared an annual celebration by the UN General Assembly in 2007. 

February 21: International Mother Language Day. This holiday has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. 

February 25 – March 1: Intercalary Days or Ayyám-i-Há, celebrated by people of the Bahá’í faith. At this time, days are added to the Bahá’í calendar to maintain their solar calendar. Intercalary days are observed with gift giving, special acts of charity, and preparation for the fasting that precedes the New Year. People of the Bahá’í Faith also participate in a 19-day fast from sunrise to sunset to reinvigorate the soul and bring one closer to God. The fast takes place immediately before the beginning of the Bahá’í New Year on March 21.

January 2022 Diversity Calendar

Happy New Year! The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee is here to share the following notable January events for 2022. While it is not possible to cover every event, our hope is to identify a few that might inform your clinical, supervisory, teaching, and leadership efforts in LTC and other settings where you have influence.  

January 2022 Holidays and Observances:

January 4  World Braille Day: Held on January 4th of each year to commemorate the birthdate of Louis Braille, the inventor of braille, World Braille Day is observed in order to raise awareness of the importance of braille as a means of communication, issues of accessibility and independence, and the full realization of the human rights for blind and partially sighted people. 

January 16 – World Religion Day: Every year on the third Sunday of January, people from all cultures and backgrounds come together to celebrate the commonalities of different faiths around the world, of which there are over 4,000 recognized religions. The holiday was initiated by the Baháʼí in 1950 to promote interfaith harmony and understanding, as their faith emphasizes the importance of universal equality and unity. 

January 17 – Martin Luther King Day: The third Monday of January each year honors the life of American clergyman and activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Best known for the use of nonviolent civil disobedience as a means to advance the civil rights cause, he was one of the civil rights movement’s most prominent leaders from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. The date is celebrated as Civil Rights Day in some states, and commemorates Dr. King’s birth.

January 27 – International Holocaust Remembrance Day: This international day of remembrance is held each year to commemorate the memory of the over 6 million Jews and 11 million other victims of the Holocaust. It is, to quote the remarks of former president Barack Obama, a time to “mourn the loss of lives, celebrate those who saved them, honor those who survived, and contemplate the obligations of the living.” It was on January 27th in 1945 that Soviet troops liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

Brief Summary on APA’s 2021 Inclusive Language Guidelines

Written by Michelle B. Jolson, Psy.D, PLTC DE&I Committee Member

In December, the APA released a 27-page document titled “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Inclusive Language Guidelines” as part of the organization’s unprecedented examination and acknowledgment of its role in “destructive social hierarchies.”  The forward of the document is written by the Chief Diversity Officer, Maysa Akbar, PhD, ABPP. She writes, “The organization is assessing the harms and is committing to true change. This requires avoiding language that perpetuates harm or offense toward members of marginalized communities through our communications” (p. iii). True to this goal, the document focuses very specifically on language. She shares that the document will “evolve as new terminology emerges or current language becomes obsolete.” The document is divided into two sections: Inclusive Language in Writing and Avoiding Microaggressions in Language. The first section begins with a glossary of terms related to equity and power, followed by these sub-sections: 1) age, 2) disability status, 3) race, ethnicity, and culture, 4) sexual orientation and gender diversity, and 5) socioeconomic status. Within these pages, some terms are given historical context. For example, here is the information provided for the term BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color): “People use the term BIPOC to acknowledge that not all people of color face equal levels of injustice. The construction of the term “BIPOC” recognizes that Black and Indigenous people are severely impacted by systemic racial injustices (Merriam- Webster, n.d.-a). The term BIPOC is still considered by many to indicate a hierarchy among communities of color. Instead of BIPOC, the preferred term(s) to use are “people/persons of color” and “communities of color” (p. 10). The second section of the document lists examples of culturally appropriative and pejorative language. It provides examples of “violent language,” “language that doesn’t say what we mean,” and suggested alternatives.  The Inclusive Language Guidelines is one step in APA’s attempt to acknowledge and examine its role of perpetuating marginalization. This attempt is concrete- providing definitions, historical context, terms to avoid, and suggestions for inclusive language. This document is intended to be “flexible” and continually updated.   

American Psychological Association. (2021). Inclusive language guidelines. https://www.apa.org/about/apa/equity- diversity-inclusion/language-guidelines.pdf  

December 2021 Diversity Calendar

As we come toward the close of the year, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) Committee wishes everyone safe and celebratory holiday season. Indeed, December is notable as a month filled with multiple cultural observances and celebrations, many of which are not as widely recognized in the United States. We would like to use this opportunity to increase awareness and understanding about some of the major dates this month that may hold significance to you, your patients, as well as other staff in the long-term care settings where we serve.

Notable December Holidays and Observances:

November 28 – December 6 – Hanukkah: Also known as the “Festival of Lights,” Hanukkah (or Chanukkah) is a Jewish holiday recognizing the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar. Hanukkah begins at sunset Sunday, November 28, 2021 and ends at nightfall Monday, December 6, 2021

December 1 – World AIDS Day: December 1 is World AIDS Day. As we continue our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, let’s not forget the impact of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. and internationally. Many older clients have lost friends and families because of HIV/AIDS. Contrary to existing stereotypes, more than 50% of those with HIV are aged 50 and over. For helpful resources on HIV and aging, visit Older Adults | HIV.gov.

December 3 – International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPD): Since 1992, the United Nations has established December 3rd as the International Day for People with Disability. It is a day celebrated globally each year to promote the understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities. Each year the day focuses on a different issue and the 2021 theme is ‘Fighting for rights in the post-COVID era.” For more information, visit International Day of People with Disabilities 2021 (idpwd.org).

December 10 – International Human Rights Day: Also on December 10, in 1948, the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which proclaims the inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being—regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status. Available in more than 500 languages, it is the most translated document in the world. Each December 10, the commitment to this universal document of rights and nondiscrimination is renewed and celebrated. 

12/16-12/24 – Mexico: Las Posadas – is a religious festival that commemorates events associated with the birth of Jesus and traditionally held in Mexico and parts of Latin America. Parties are held at different people’s homes each night during the celebration. Before each gathering, guests form a procession to mark Mary and Joseph’s search for an inn on the night of Jesus’s birth. At each stop, passages of scripture are read, and Christmas carols are sung.

December 21 – Yule Winter Solstice: Winter Solstice is celebrated across many nations. Yule generally refers to something related to 12/25 (the Yule festival, Yuletide) and is first celebrated among the Germanic people. Among Chinese people in different parts of the world, it’s often referred to as “Dong-zhi,” which means the arrival of winter. Families would get together to celebrate. Many Christmas traditions, such as decorating with evergreens and gift-giving are drawn from ancient Yule season celebrations. Some think of it as a time of reflection and togetherness, as well as hope. In the Northern Hemisphere, we begin to receive more light (i.e., the days are longer) again right after this day. Cultures around the world have long held feasts and celebrated holidays around the winter solstice. Fire and light are traditional symbols of celebrations held on the darkest day of the year.

December 25 – Christmas: Celebrating the birth date of Jesus Christ, Christmas is one of Christianity’s holiest observances and is a day marked by worship, gift-giving, and feasting. Orthodox Christmas, which occurs approximately two weeks later using the Julian calendar, falls on January 7 in 2022.

December 26 – January 1 – Kwanzaa: In 1966, Black Americans were searching for their identity, and challenging racism, discrimination, the right to vote, educational segregation, and white supremacy. During this period of civic unrest, a professor named Dr. Maulana Karenga was looking for a concept that would serve as an affirming and enduring celebration of Black life and community. Out of this turbulent period, Kwanzaa was created, based on several different harvest celebrations from different African cultures, such as those of the Ashanti and Zulu people. This year, as Black Americans continue to lead calls for justice against police brutality following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others, Kwanzaa carries special meaning as a reminder of the holiday’s origins in earlier movements for racial justice and equality.

Thankfulness and Gratitude

With the Thanksgiving Holiday occurring tomorrow, this PLTC Blog post will share some thoughts on gratitude.  Practicing gratitude is a tool that not only is helpful for our therapy clients (of all ages and in all settings) but is also a tool that can improve our own wellbeing, resiliency, and positive affect.

Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has.  Practicing gratitude is an active, conscious, activity of recognizing the good things in one’s life that are independent of monetary worth (Psychology Today:  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/gratitude).     

Research has consistently shown the benefits of practicing gratitude, including boosting happiness, fostering both physical and psychological health, and leading to physical and biological changes in our brain chemistry.  “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships (Harvard Health: https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier).” Research studies also show that practicing gratitude reduces the use of words expressing negative emotions and shifts inner attention away from negative emotions and ruminating over them (Psychology Today).     

Practicing gratitude is something we, as clinical providers, can do ourselves to support enhanced self-care and increase our own well-being.  Practicing gratitude can also be utilized as a clinical intervention with our long-term care clients to help them cultivate more positive coping mechanisms and adjustment to their age-related losses and decline.

Consider these suggestions below to foster gratitude (in ourselves and our clients):

  • Keep a “gratitude” journal.
  • Write down (or even say or simply actively think about) “three good things” daily (these can be small moments).
  • Write thank you notes to others.
  • Engage in “mental subtraction,” which entails imagining what your life would be like if some positive events had not occurred.

Below, please find a more in-depth description on gratitude and how it pertains to the practice of psychology services. 

Articles and Resources on Gratitude:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/gratitude

https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_gratitude_changes_you_and_your_brain

https://www.happify.com/hd/the-science-behind-gratitude/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3010965/

November 2021 Diversity Calendar

On behalf of PLTC’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee (DEI) please see the below select holidays and dates for November 2021 that are important to individuals and communities from diverse backgrounds. We hope you find this November calendar helpful to your work in long-term care and other settings.

November is Indigenous Peoples’ Heritage Month, also called National Native American Heritage Month or American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.

Resource: https://www.diverseelders.org/who-we-are/diverse-elders/aian-elders/

November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to give recognition and support to the 78 million people who dedicate their time, often unpaid, caring for a family member in need.

Resource: https://www.mhanational.org/national-family-caregivers-month

For a free screening of Dr. Jessica Zitter’s Caregiver: A Love Story on November 2, 2021 at 5:30pm CDT: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/healthy-perspectives-caring-for-caregivers-tickets-185186095597

November is also National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, which recognizes those in our communities impacted by Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Other month-long commemorations include: Epilepsy Awareness Month, National Diabetes Month, Lung Cancer Awareness Month, COPD Awareness Month, Hunger Awareness Month, and “Movember” (Mustache November) for Men’s Health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and suicide.

Below is a list of other special dates in November 2021:

October 31-November 2: Día de los Muertos

November 7: Birth of Baha’u’llah

November 11: Veterans Day/ Armistice Day

November 16: International Day for Tolerance – A day that promotes respect for diverse religions, languages, cultures, and ethnicities.

November 20: Transgender Day of Remembrance – A day to memorialize those murdered as a result of transphobia.

Resource: https://forge-forward.org/resources/aging/

November 25: Thanksgiving

November 28- December 6: Hanukkah