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September, 2007: Be Prepared!

           It’s harvest time – and the waning days of summer!  So September this year is Fruit and Vegetable Month and National Eat 5 to 9 a Day for Better Health Month.
What a perfect way to tie in Healthy Aging Month as well.  More significantly, we can tie good nutritionally practices to good fitness and health.  On September 29th, 2007, celebrate Family Health and Fitness Day USA!  Five days before that, it’s America on the Move Day. 
The entire month represents farewell to heat (hopefully!) and summer hours and begins our welcome of autumn, with crisp nights and the promise of other harvests yet to come to fruition. 
With this concentration on nutrition and fitness, we can help our aging loved ones and coworkers (September 24-29 is Active Aging Week).   What exactly can we do?  Active aging is a concept that we may have forgotten over the centuries.  Not so long ago, our forebears as they aged didn’t have the luxury of saying, “Well, I’m old now; I’ll just sit and watch TV all day”.  They may have had to continue to work – whether paid or not, whether outside or in the home – because of family circumstance.  Some of us had grandparents who reached well into their 90s before they died.  How did they accomplish this?   Most never stopped doing, learning, moving and taking interest.  Perhaps our elders were wiser than we may have believed!
September also reminds us to be prepared in general – as it is the Red Cross’s and Homeland Security’s choice for National Preparedness Month.  While no one wants to live in a state of constant fear, being prepared is a smart thing to be.  In case of any kind of emergency – terrorist, natural, manmade – ensure you and your families have a basic plan for exiting and where to meet to “count heads” afterward.  Ensure you have supplies in case of a storm or other natural disaster that may disable telephones, water and electric power.
With this stress on health, we must not neglect to think about mental health.  September 9-15 is Suicide Prevention Week (with the 10th serving as World Suicide Prevention Day).  In these modern and stressful times, we might be so busy that we miss the cues and hints left for us by loved ones regarding their state of mind.  Let’s be actively mindful this September – and enjoy the fruits of the season!