If you are physician or an allied health professional, remember that the month of September is an important one for your patient. Anyone who has salvaged their life from “a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body” deserves to be congratulated this month.
Recovery Month is most often associated with drug and alcohol addiction and there will be many events to raise awareness about the problem of addiction in the USA today. In our offices, make sure to assess and identify addicts for care diligently and please make it a protocol.
However, I’d like to paint a broader stroke and lend support to the concept of “recovery” as a universal human experience this month. Throughout our lives we “recover” from many things too numerous to mention here. Often we see that the only way to recover is the 12 Steps and for many that is true. But it is also true that “all paths lead to the righteous.”
Your patients may be caregivers as well! They may be experiencing a loss and grieving or an impending loss. You, as their physician need to be aware! The loss of a friend or loved one can be a game changer as it pertains to their medical health or even their likelihood of ending up in an emergency room. That is the power of how behavioral health intersects with medical care.
Know that your patient and/or their caregivers are struggling. Complete acceptance of the situation is not always easy, but it is an important part of the process, as they grieve and as you care for them. You, as a professional, could grieving for yourself unconsciously. We should not be immune to the feelings of those we care for.
Whether the loved one lives or passes on, care giving inevitably changes a person because of the extraordinary intimacy of it. Make sure to tell them to take some time for themselves to reflect and recover throughout this sacred journey as it unfolds. Sharing can be powerful and comforting at the same time. Knowing how they feel bonds in a very special way.
The other celebration this month revolves around the notion of living long enough to come to terms with the fact that you are aging. That’s right, it’s Healthy Aging® Month.
Healthy Aging® Month is an annual observance month designed to focus national attention on the positive aspects of growing older. The mission of Healthy Aging® Month is to encourage local level Healthy Aging® events that promote taking personal responsibility for one’s health… be it physically, socially, mentally or financially.
Think it’s too late to “reinvent” yourself? Think it is too late for your patient to reinvent themselves? Think again.
According to Carolyn Worthington, editor-in-chief of Healthy Aging® Magazine and executive director of Healthy Aging®, it’s never too late to find a new career, a new sport, passion, or hobby. Worthington is the creator of September is Healthy Aging® Month, an annual health observance designed to focus national attention on the positive aspects of growing older. Now in its second decade, Worthington says September’s Healthy Aging® Month provides inspiration and practical ideas for adults, ages 50-plus, to improve their physical, mental, social, and financial well-being.
I speak for UnitedHealth at the AARP Conferences and I am just jazzed to be a part of their” Life Reimagined Campaign.” It is the perfect combination of recovery and health again. In the spirit of Worthington’s words, a powerful program awaits you and all you have to do is go to LifeReimagined.AARP.org.
The following tips are good advice for your patients and their caregivers of all ages as we re-imagine our lives and celebrate National Recovery Month. They both go hand in hand. But of course, first use the combination of these two events in September to jump-start their new viewpoint! And by the way, walk the walk as well. Nothing is more powerful than the “power of attraction.”
You and your patients can get your life in gear, with a little jump start.
The four key things to remember are:
- Be Here Now – Do not beat yourself up over the past. Re-framing how and why we hot here and understanding that everything happens for a reason is a conversation to have with you, a great therapist or a safe place to laugh and cry!
- Today is the First Day of the Rest of Our Lives. No matter what age we are, we always know that this is the premise of the Life Reimagined Campaign
- “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” That is straight out of the powerful Eastern voice of Lao Tzu. Just think, Lao Tzu’s wisdom was so powerful that it was said Confucius actually traveled to meet him. That about says it all!
- Build on successes. Do not run when things start to get good or wait for the other shoe to drop. We actually deserve the success and need to build on it hour by hour and day by day.
Of course, that is my rendition of 4 steps but of you are so inclined the number 4 is very lucky indeed. Make sure to run out and grab a copy of “The Four Agreements” by Dr. Miguel Ruiz and savor its words. It is so easy to read but like any self-help measure, needs to be implemented on a consistent basis.
If we can do that, just feel how we change and the world around us adjusts to that change. I am so Happy Recovery Month and Healthy Aging® Month are happening together. September is a great month to make sure your patients and their family caregivers are aware as well.
Don’t take my effort in combining these two, feel free to make these two events this month work specifically for you and when you do get back to me so I can share your efforts with everyone I come in contact with, JHuysman@WellMed.net
By Jamie Huysman, PsyD, LCSW