Hodgepodge covers cancer, abuse and dads

By Jobyna Nickum

This article is a hodge-podge, a potpourri, a mulligan’s stew, a Heinz 57 of things I wanted to cover. What does that mean? Well, basically, I couldn’t choose.

June brings us Father’s Day – a day when we don’t just celebrate our fathers, but our grandfathers, uncles, stepfathers, big brothers. Those men in our lives who have stepped up and been there for us – to teach us the lessons that give us the framework on which we build our lives. For many a senior, their role of father has changed over the years, from the man who gave his little ones piggy back rides, taught his teenagers how to drive a stick-shift, stood by his middle-aged children during times of loss, and growth and life in general – now maybe it is the grown children who are helping him stack the winter wood pile, or clean the mold off the top of the roof. Part of the circle of life – but changes that can be hard nonetheless.

And then there’s June as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Breast Cancer Awareness gets a great deal of press. Now don’t get me wrong – I think it should. Breast cancer has touched my family personally, my workplace, my circle of close friends. Prostate Cancer Awareness Month just seems a little lost in the shuffle. At the senior center, we have had a number of our participants have their lives touched by this disease that affects one of every six men. If caught early, the diagnosis can be very positive. The problem is when it is not found until too late. That is why awareness is so important. Last week I was standing at a table to purchase a Prostate Cancer Awareness bracelet in honor of my father-in-law when a very young man walked up beside me and spent a large amount of money in items at the PCA table. The volunteer behind the table thanked him for his support. The 20-something said, “I want to support the cause…. My dad died last year from prostate cancer. He was 54.” At his young age, he will not have his father to be at his wedding, to be a granddad to his kids, to ask questions when life gets crazy sometimes. So, for the men you love in your life – husbands, fathers, sons, uncles, brothers – please be brave enough to ask them about if they have been tested for prostate cancer or at least cut out the information box in this article.

As senior center manager, I receive a number of e-magazine articles and Web postings. Some are interesting – some I wonder why they think I would even care. Well this was a good one from the National Council on Aging. Tuesday was the fifth annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. I have been in the field of aging for more than 20 years and did not know they started an Elder Abuse Awareness Day several years ago. Unfortunately, heartbreakingly, I am well aware there is elder abuse, but not of an Awareness Day.

Elder abuse can happen to anyone – a loved one, a neighbor, and when we are old enough, it can even happen to us. Elder abuse affects seniors across all socio-economic groups, cultures and races. Elder abuse can occur anywhere: in a person’s own home, in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, in hospitals. Based on available information, women and “older” elders (80 and older) are more likely to be victimized, and mistreatment is most often done by the elders own family members.

Types of Elder Abuse:

Physical Abuse: Use of force to threaten or physically injure a vulnerable adult.

Emotional Abuse: Verbal attacks, threats, rejection, isolation, or belittling acts that cause or could cause mental anguish, pain or distress to a senior

Sexual Abuse: Sexual contact that is forced, tricked, threatened or otherwise coerced upon a vulnerable elder, including anyone who is unable to grant consent.

Exploitation: Theft, fraud, misuse or neglect of authority, and use of undue influence as a lever to gain control over an older person’s money or property

Neglect: A caregiver’s failure or refusal to provide for a vulnerable elder’s safety, physical, or emotional needs

Abandonment: Desertion of a frail or vulnerable elder by anyone with a duty of care

Self-Neglect: An inability to understand the consequences of one’s own actions or inaction, which leads to, or may lead to, harm or endangerment


Adult Protective Service – 1-866-221-4909

Senior Information and Assistance- 1-888-435-3377

To learn more:

Prostate Cancer

(The following information is summarized from the following websites:;; and

Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in American men. According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately one of every six American men will develop prostate cancer in his lifetime. While the exact cause of prostate cancer is unknown, several factors can increase the risk of developing this disease such as age, race, family history, body weight, diet and hormones. What is the most important thing you can do regarding prostate cancer if you are a man? Talk with your doctor or health care provider about having Ask about having the blood test called the PSA – Prostate Specific Antigen and digital rectal exams of the prostate gland. Many doctors recommend that these exams be done yearly beginning at age 50. If there is a family history of prostate cancer, yearly screenings may begin at an earlier age.

A woman? According to the “Father’s Day Survey: Wives, Daughters Key to Get Dad Talking About Prostate Cancer” (read at – Almost three-quarters of the men (72 percent) of men said they would be very likely to talk to their doctors about prostate screenings as a result of the urging of the women in their lives, the survey finds. Yet, only half of the women surveyed thought they would have that kind of influence.

Quotes about fathers

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”

- Author Unknown

“To her the name of father was another name for love.”

- By Fanny Fern

“They didn’t believe their father had ever been young; surely even in the cradle he had been a very, very small man in a gray suit, with a little dark mustache and flat, incurious eyes.”

- By Richard Shattuck

“Fathers, like mothers, are not born. Men grow into fathers – and fathering is a very important stage in their development.”

- By David M. Gottesman

“It is a wise father that knows his own child.”

- By William Shakespeare

“It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.”

- By Anne Sexton

“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”

- By Sigmund Freud

“A Man’s children and his garden both reflect the amount of weeding done during the growing season.”

- Author Unknown

“The greatest gift I ever had

Came from God, and I call him Dad!”

- Author Unknown

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