Monthly Highlights

National Food Safety Education Month

September is National Food Safety Education Month. Foodborne illnesses—also known as food poisoning—result from eating food contaminated by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and natural (e.g., molds) or chemical toxins. Anyone can get sick from food poisoning, but you are at a higher risk if you are 65 years and older, have a weakened immune system, or are pregnant. Food poisoning can also be more dangerous for children younger than five.

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Follow these four steps whenever preparing food at home:

  • Clean: Wash your hands with plain soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and clean utensils, cutting boards, and countertops after preparing food.
  • Separate: Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods while cooking and in your refrigerator.
  • Cook to the right temperature. Use this chart to find the safe minimum internal temperature for red meat, poultry, seafood, leftovers, and more.
  • Chill: Refrigerate unused or leftover food as quickly as possible, typically within two hours. Keep your refrigerator at 40°F or below and your freezer at 0˚F or below.

Visit the CDC's Food Safety webpage, available in English and Spanish, for information on food safety when eating out or ordering delivery, as well as during the holidays and other special events.

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is National Suicide Prevention Month.
According to the CDC, people of any age, race, ethnicity, or sex can experience suicide risk, but certain groups have substantially higher rates of suicide. These include veterans, sexual and gender minorities, and American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) people. Suicide rates among AI/AN people is 68.4 per 100,000 for males ages 15-34, 36.0 per 100,000 for males ages 35-64, and 33.0 per 100,000 for youth ages 10-24.

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#BeThe1To, an initiative of the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, has identified five evidence-based steps (also available in Spanish) that can help you support someone in crisis:

  • Ask the question, "Are you thinking about suicide?" and listen to their answer without judgment.
  • Be there, whether in-person, on the phone, or through social media. Help them feel connected and explore their reasons for living.
  • Keep them safe. Put time and distance between the person in crisis and any self-harm or lethal methods.
  • Help them connect to mental health services and other sources of support.
  • Follow up. Visit, leave a message, send a text, or give them a call.

There is hope. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 to speak with a skilled, trained crisis worker. 988, la línea de prevención del suicidio y crisis, está disponible en español.

National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day
(September 18)

September 18 is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, a day to combat the stigma faced by older Americans living with HIV and address the aging-related challenges of HIV testing, prevention, and care.

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With advances in treatment, people with HIV live longer, healthier lives, but older people in America are more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage HIV. According to the CDC, people aged 55 years and older have the highest percentage of Stage 3 (AIDS) diagnoses. Among racial and ethnic minorities, Asian people (48.9) and Latino people (40.2) aged 55 years and older have the highest percentages of Stage 3 diagnoses, and American Indian or Alaska Native people ages 45-54 years old have the highest percentage (51.8) of Stage 3 diagnoses.

Early diagnosis and care are key strategies for ending HIV. Talk to your doctor about prevention strategies such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), antiretroviral therapy (ART), and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

One of the most unfortunate consequences of growing older is a loss of independence. Physical and mental decline can make it difficult for seniors to take care of themselves or manage their own lives. The solution, in many situations, involves senior living arrangements, from in-home care assistance to assisted living or nursing home facilities. However, while these arrangements can help seniors manage day-to-day tasks that they could no longer handle on their own-getting around, bathing, dressing, preparing meals, and more-they don't necessarily address the deep sadness and frustration that can come with a loss of independence.

Is it time to make senior living arrangements for a friend, relative, or loved one? There can be many reasons to make this particular decision. Perhaps the senior needs help with day-to-day activities such as cooking or bathing. Or maybe they\'ve decided that the old house they\'ve called home for so many years is simply too big for them to manage and maintain.

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In any case, there a lot of factors to consider before make a firm decision about senior living arrangements. You probably already know about the different types of senior living-in-home care, independent living retirement communities, assisted living communities, and nursing homes, to name a few. However, you might not immediately think of some of the other factors that will (and should) influence your decision

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