December does not appear to have as many national days or specialty weeks that you can link seniors' alcohol prevention events to, as do November or January for example.
However, there are still some good opportunities to build the public's level of awareness of alcohol issues affecting people in later life. Here are a few suggestions for ideas that you may want to consider using as the basis for a community newsletter article, a poster, or a handout.
Suggested Activities: Winter handout/ posters for these themes.
1. Alcohol and the cold temperatures: Fact or fancy?
"With colder weather...many people may want a little alcohol to stay warm, but the reality is alcohol can do just the opposite. Alcohol increases heat loss from the body, so you may feel the cold even more.
Does alcohol help a cold? No, but alcohol can interfere with your body's ability to fight infection and it may interfere with medications that you're taking."
How does alcohol interact with common over the counter cold medicines?
2. Handling the Christmas/ Holiday Season
Christmas can be a very stressful time for some older adults and drinking can easily increase during this period. Christmas may mean being alone when others are with family; it may mean reflecting back on past Christmases, good and bad. Because it involves social activities, it can be anxiety causing for older people who feel uncomfortable in a group.
A handout geared to older adults on ways to avoid the Christmas or holidays blues; and how alcohol can make depression (feeling sad) worse for older adults.
3. Dealing with the Winter Doldrums
- What to do when you are an older adult, it's icy or rainy outside and you are stuck inside for weeks on end because you are concerned about falling. Practical ideas on how to save your sanity in the winter months.
Resources: The Mayo Clinic carries a couple of articles on fighting the holiday blues.
"Always hold on to the hope that the holidays will be enjoyable again," one person is quoted. "That doesn't mean forgetting your loved one. It means paying attention to your grief and softening the pain. Loss is like a scar: It will heal over, but it will also leave a mark."
Other pieces by Mayo Clinic on grief and the holidays : http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/library/FL/00055.html
Nationally and Internationally Recognized Events This Month
International Day of Disabled Persons : First declared in 1992, this day reminds people of the special concerns, rights and needs of disabled persons. December 3 is also the anniversary of the adoption of the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons in 1982.
National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca
Human Rights Day : Celebrates the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed in 1948. An opportunity to reinforce Canada's commitment to human rights.
Last updated Sunday October 31, 2004. Webmaster: email@example.com