Multiple sclerosis and the MS movement – everyone engaged in addressing the challenges of MS today while moving toward long-term solutions for tomorrow – become better known each year. But more must be done. Together we are stronger when it comes to increasing awareness and support to create a world free of MS.
You can help ensure that more people understand what life with MS can be like, and engage more people to do something about it. When we connect with one another, we become stronger than MS — we make breakthroughs that we could not do alone.
What is a breakthrough? It’s being able button your shirt in the morning. It’s walking to the supermarket, and all the way back home. It’s getting back up on that bike, that surfboard, that horse. It’s having the first dance at your daughter’s wedding. Feeling strong enough to fall in love. Continuing that job you were made for.
Please share your breakthrough stories on any social media with the hashtag #WeareStrongerthanMS. During MS Awareness Week and throughout the year, we’ll bring your post together with those shared by others across the nation, at wearestrongerthanMS.org, where all can find solutions, strength and inspiration through collective experiences.
World MS Day unites individuals and organizations from around the world to raise awareness and move us closer to a world free of MS. The theme for 2017 is ‘Life with MS.’ In 2009, the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) and its members initiated the first World MS Day. Together we have reached hundreds of thousands of people around the world, with a campaign focusing on a different theme each year.
MSIF provides a toolkit of free resources to help everyone to take part in World MS Day. Anyone can use these tools, or make their own, to create positive change in the lives of more than 2.3 million people around the world.
World AIDS Day is held on the 1st December each year and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day, held for the first time in 1988.
WHY IS WORLD AIDS DAY IMPORTANT?
Over 100,000 people are living with HIV in the UK. Globally there are an estimated 34 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.
Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. Despite this, each year in the UK around 6,000 people are diagnosed with HIV, people do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition.
World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.
Sometimes forgotten amongst the most known like Alzheimers and Diabetes, November is also National Adopt a Senior Pet month. The advantages to adopting a senior pet are vast, such as:
- Older dogs have manners. Unlike puppies, many grown-up dogs have spent years living with a family and being socialized to life with humans.
They may have received obedience training and respond to commands like Sit, Stay, and Down. Many are house trained and it takes a matter of hours or a day or two to help them learn the potty rules in their new home.
- Senior pets are less destructive. Most older adoptive pets are well past the search-and-destroy phase. You don’t need to worry so much about finding your favorite pair of shoes or a table leg chewed beyond recognition. Chances are your senior kitty has no urge to overturn your potted plant or shred the handmade quilt your grandma gave you.
- What you see is what you get. A senior pet holds no surprises as to how big he might get, what color his adult coat will be, or whether his hips will be healthy. A senior pet comes to you with his own history, which makes his future much more predictable than that of an 8-week old puppy or kitten.
- You can teach an old dog new tricks. Adult dogs can focus on the task at hand (unlike many of their much younger counterparts). If your adopted older pet needs to learn a few things in her new life with you, not to worry. Enroll her in an obedience class, contact a trainer, or go the do-it-yourself route. Older dogs are more attentive than puppies, and more eager to please their humans.
- You can custom order your senior pet. If you’re looking for a short-haired cat, for example, or a kitty with no history of dental disease, you can search until you find an older pet with exactly those attributes. If you already have a cat and need your adoptive dog to get along with cats, again, you’ll have a much better chance of finding an older adoptive dog who is a perfect companion for your family.
- You can adopt a purebred pet if you want. If you really love a certain breed of dog or cat, chances are there’s a breed rescue club that can point you in the direction of older purebred pets in need of homes.
- Senior pets are great company for senior citizens. Many elderly people find the calm presence of an older pet very comforting. They appreciate having a companion who is also ‘getting up there’ in age, doesn’t mind hearing the same stories again and again, and is content to move through life at a slower speed.
- Older pets are relaxing to hang out with. Senior dogs and cats have all the basics down and aren’t full of wild energy to burn. Because you’re not constantly chasing around or cleaning up after your older pet, you have a lot more time to spend finding fun things to do or just relaxing together.
- Adopted senior pets are grateful for your kindness. Somehow, older pets seem to know you gave them a home when no one else would. Many new owners form a close bond very quickly with their senior dog or cat, because the pet shows them a level of attention and devotion that is unique to older adopted animals.
- You can be a hero to a deserving dog or cat. Almost without exception, people who adopt older animals feel a special sense of pride and purpose in opening their heart to a hard-to-place pet. Doing a good thing really does make you feel good!
PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have seen or lived through a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation. Fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to help defend against danger or to avoid it. This “fight-or-flight” response is a healthy reaction meant to protect a person from harm. Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet most people recover from initial symptoms naturally. Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened even when they are not in danger.
How To Help
Knowing how to best demonstrate your love and support for someone with PTSD isn’t always easy. You can’t force your loved one to get better, but you can play a major role in the healing process by simply spending time together.
- Don’t pressure your loved one into talking. It can be very difficult for people with PTSD to talk about their traumatic experiences. For some, it can even make things worse. Instead, let them know you’re willing to listen when they want to talk, or just hang out when they don’t. Comfort for someone with PTSD comes from feeling engaged and accepted by you, not necessarily from talking.
- Do “normal” things with your loved one, things that have nothing to do with PTSD or the traumatic experience. Encourage your loved one to participate in rhythmic exercise that engages both arms and legs, seek out friends, and pursue hobbies that bring pleasure. Take a fitness class together, go dancing, or set a regular lunch date with friends and family.
- Let your loved one take the lead, rather than telling him or her what to do. Everyone with PTSD is different but most people instinctively know what makes them feel calm and safe. Take cues from your loved one as to how you can best provide support and companionship.
- Manage your own stress. The more calm, relaxed, and focused you are, the better you’ll be able to help a loved one with PTSD.
- Be patient. Recovery is a process that takes time and often involves setbacks. The important thing is to stay positive and maintain support for your loved one.
- Educate yourself about PTSD. The more you know about the symptoms, effects, and treatment options, the better equipped you’ll be to help your loved one, understand what he or she is going through, and keep things in perspective.
- Accept (and expect) mixed feelings. As you go through the emotional wringer, be prepared for a complicated mix of feelings—some of which you’ll never want to admit. Just remember, having negative feelings toward your family member doesn’t mean you don’t love them.
- Be a Good Listener.
- Rebuild Trust by letting them know you’re here for the long haul so he or she feels loved and supported.
During difficult times, it is important to have people in your life who you can depend on. These people are your support network. They can help you with everyday jobs, like taking a child to school, or by giving you love and understanding.
You may get support from:
- Family members
- Friends, coworkers, and neighbors
- Members of your religious or spiritual group
- Support groups
- Doctors and other health professionals
There are lots of things you can do to make your home more wind-resistant but nothing replaces authentic materials and good, old-fashioned craftsmanship. Here are a few ideas to consider:
Improve Your Roofing’s Performance
Your roof, and the deck beneath it, forms one of your home’s most critical shields to wind and rain. Unfortunately, during high wind storms, it is often the first to be damaged. Loss of roof covering such as shingles, tiles or metal panes can make your home more susceptible to water damage. Loose roofing becomes wind-borne projectiles that can cause further damage to other structures. Luckily, roofing products with high wind resistance are available and a variety of installation techniques can be used on both new and existing homes to help protect against wind damage. Roofing underlayments, high performance shingles, even effective attic ventilation can all increase wind resistance. To withstand occasional or sustained high winds, it is critical that all shingles are properly installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Recently enacted high-wind performance standards for asphalt shingles have raised wind performance.
Protect Your Home’s Exterior
The exterior doors and windows of your home act as its protective shell. If broken, high winds can enter, putting pressure on your roof and walls. Solid wood or hollow metal doors better resist wind pressure and flying debris. Resistance is also increased by doors with at least three hinges and a deadbolt security lock with a minimum bolt throw of one inch. If you have double entry doors, install head and foot bolts on the inactive door. And since double-entry doors fail when surface bolts break at the header trim or threshold, check connections at both places. Surface bolts should extend through the door head and the threshold into the sub floor. Research shows that new advances in vinyl siding can also protect your home’s exterior. Products on the market now include siding that resists winds up to 250 miles per hour.
Brace Garage Doors
Garage doors can be especially at risk during high winds. Unless you have a tested hurricane-resistant door, winds may force it out of its roller track—especially if the track is light weight or some of the anchor bolts are not in place. This occurs because the door deflects too much under excessive wind pressure and fails. If you are building a new home, consider installing horizontally-braced, singlewide garage doors as an alternative to double overhead doors. Check with your garage door manufacturer about retrofit bracing kits for existing homes. Some door panels, particularly those that are doublewide, may require both horizontal and vertical bracing for best stability.
National Child Abuse Prevention Month is a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect, and to promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families. During the month of April and throughout the year, communities are encouraged to share child abuse and neglect prevention awareness strategies and activities and promote prevention across the country.
The theme for this year’s National Child Abuse Prevention Month is “Building Community, Building Hope.” Communities have a great influence in families’ lives. Just as plants are more likely to thrive in a garden with good soil and plenty of sunlight and water, families are more likely to thrive in nurturing communities. Everyone can get involved and play a role in preventing child abuse and neglect and promoting child and family well-being. Strong, nurturing communities that are supportive of families can build and strengthen families. This section provides information on getting involved to strengthen your community and the families in your community.