A young woman clasps the hands of an old woman; both are smiling.

Lili – November 5, 2018

A new month is upon us, and tomorrow marks the much-anticipated day of our American midterm elections. Some have voted early, and the urgency to exercise our right to vote is undoubtedly higher than in former midpoint races. In particular, more young people are expected to turn out than in previous years. I’m proud to say that my husband Brad and I have talked with our children about the importance of going to the polls since they were very young.

A pair of red, white and blue shoes with stars provides the "V" in a chalk-written word "VOTE" on a sidewalk.

Midterm elections on November 6 may bring out more voters than any in recent history.

Regardless of our political or partisan leanings, there is one thing upon which I think we can all agree: this race, like the presidential one two years ago, stands to be an historic one. And, more importantly (given the preponderance of tragic events in the news of late), we must focus on caring for one another.

Indeed, a midterm election year should be a time of unity. The privilege of making our own choices is one of the greatest of being a citizen of this country (and in the homeland of Denmark, too). In order to stand truly united, we need to respect one another’s opinions and ideas, even if we do not necessarily agree with them.

Despite the animosity election season brings about, there is actually a way to see the good in all of this.

If there is one thing we all need in the coming months, it is to take care of one another. Fortunately, November is not just an election month; it is also National Family Caregivers Month. This meaningful occasion recognizes and honors the tens of millions of Americans who selflessly give of their time, effort and heart each day to ensure that others feel loved and cared for with dignity.

There are many types of caregivers among us. You may know, or be, the mothers and fathers who relentlessly support and encourage a child with special needs. Perhaps you are a son or daughter who provides care to one or both parents. Or a spouse who has unexpectedly stepped into a caregiver role for a partner…or someone who has lovingly looked in on an elderly neighbor or disabled veteran.

Perhaps you have chosen a career path in caregiving. You, too, are to be celebrated this month, along with the millions of veterans who have valiantly served their countries, sacrificing their own well-being to protect their fellow citizens and preserve their way of life. In a very important and special kind of way, these veterans (who will be nationally honored and commemorated on November 11) are caregivers, too.

A uniformed veteran of WWI holds an American flag folded in military style.

The month of November celebrates both caregivers and veterans.

As the great-great-great-granddaughter of Christina Hansen, one of The Danish Home’s 12 female founders, and the new friend of a dear resident and WWII veteran I’ve come to call “Farfar,” the month of November is especially meaningful to me. One hundred and twenty-seven years ago, the Foreningen for Opforelse at et Dasnke Alderdomshjem i Chicago (“The Society for the building of a Danish Old Peoples’ Home in Chicago”) began what has become a time-honored tradition of providing the finest in loving care for older adults.

These forward-thinking women wanted to see a positive change in the care of elderly Danes (and now people of all heritages) in Chicago. Today, The Danish Home of Chicago continues this long legacy of care and compassion for all, and I am proud to support such an establishment.

You can support it, too, as The Danish Home has launched its “Our Future in Focus” capital campaign for improvements to the physical building, activities and programming, and charitable care for residents long into posterity.

Watch this website and the Hope Chest blog for more information about donating to this campaign.