Laura Newland, director, DC Office of Aging and Community Living
Laura Newland, director, DC Office of Aging and Community Living

Happy Caregiver Month! Whatever you plan on doing to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, I hope you take a moment to thank the caregivers who are the backbone of our community. Thanks to caregivers, people are able to live safely in the community they know and love.

If you are a caregiver, Thank You. When we celebrated our centenarians this September, I realized that all the centenarians we visited in the community shared something in common — they all had incredible support and active social lives. They spoke often with their friends and family, and their caregivers would visit them often. From what I’ve seen, the secret to longevity is love. The centenarians love their communities, and their caregivers (usually family members) love having them as part of their communities.

I know that no matter how much you love the person you’re caring for, caregiving can be hard, isolating, and constant. But you’re not alone. You deserve a break. You deserve to treat yourself. If you’re a caregiver who is not already connected to a community of support, call us at 202-724-5626. We can help connect you to available services and provide a listening ear if you just want to talk.

Last year, the public health emergency prevented us from hosting you at the Mayor’s Annual Holiday Celebration, and we missed you! This year, we’re planning a big reunion because we could all use some joy and celebration. If you want to attend the holiday celebration (and trust me, you won’t want to miss it!), make sure you’re fully vaccinated. If you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, this is a perfect time to get the shot! Call us if you need help figuring out where to get vaccinated. We can even help you get there! You can also call 1-855-363-0333, and we’ll come to your home to vaccinate you. For those of you who are fully vaccinated, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether it’s time for a booster shot. And don’t forget your flu shot while you’re at it!

This year’s celebration will be at the Convention Center, so hold December 15, and get ready to have some fun! With everyone vaccinated and masked, we can keep each other safe. I can’t wait to see you there. More details to come!

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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