February: Show how much you love her

February is Women’s Heart Health Month. On the first Friday of February, everyone is encouraged to wear red, dress up buildings in red, go all out for red to bring attention to the health and well-being of the women who are important in our lives. Although the symbols of love on Valentine’s Day – red roses, romantic cards, and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates – are very nice to receive, the woman in your life needs to feel she is important to you, appreciated, a treasure you would do just about anything to keep.

Friday is Feb. 1, National Wear Red Day, the day everyone can show awareness for heart disease and stroke, which are the leading causes of death for women.

Women’s health is important to the family. Most likely she keeps the house organized and functioning while also working outside the home, taxiing children to practices, music lessons, dance lessons, and doctor appointments, to name a few.

Often she becomes the “sandwich generation,” taking care of her children and elderly parents and other elderly loved ones who need assistance and care. She has the same 24 hours each day that everyone else has. Too often there is no time for her to even think about her needs, much less tend to them. To put it bluntly, she is so busy taking care of everyone she loves that, as Karen said at card club, “I neglect myself.”

And that’s where you come in, her hero, to ask what you can do to help her, to acknowledge all that she does and to ask her to take care of the woman you love, to take care of the heart of the woman you love.

This is the 16th year for Go Red for Women. Women wear red, men wear red ties. There are walks, virtual walks, balls and other events to bring attention to women’s heart health. The initiative is to improve women’s lives everywhere, around the world. At first the drive was to raise awareness. Then it was about providing facts about heart health. Now it’s about saving lives.

“Nearly 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented; cardiovascular diseases continue to be a woman’s greatest health threat,” advises the American Heart Association. Further, “It is imperative that women learn the warning signs and symptoms of heart disease and stroke, see a doctor regularly, and learn their family history.”

You may have to live with heart disease. That doesn’t have to look dark and grim. Listen to your doctor’s advice, make positive life changes and learn where you can go for support. Goals for improved health and well being include moving more, eating smart, and managing blood pressure.

Are you aware of the Silver Sneakers program? It is a nationwide program for seniors through Medicare Advantage that gives access to participating gyms, health education seminars and social events. All of this gives seniors better control over their well being, physically and mentally. Salem Community Center participates in Silver Sneakers. Check it out!

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org.