If you’ve paid attention to social media, you might have noticed an uptick in men growing mustaches every November. While it might look like a bunch of fashion-savvy dudes experimenting with new looks, it’s part of a larger awareness movement dubbed “Movember.” Regardless of whether you’re a caregiver or senior, each November is a chance for authentic conversation and focusing on important men’s wellness issues.
Movember 101: The Basics
There’s more to this movement than just growing a sweet ‘stache. The term “Movember” was coined by a group of Australian men in 1999 as part of a fundraising campaign benefitting animal welfare causes. The Movember Foundation was founded in 2003, borrowing the idea to call attention to critical issues impacting men:
- Prostate cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Poor mental health
- Promoting better lifestyle choices
A Time For Dialog and Action
While Movember has mostly attracted interest from Millennials and Generation Xers, males of all ages participate. That’s important to consider, given some key statistics proving that men’s health concerns know no age limits:
- Nearly 8 percent of testicular cancer diagnoses occur after age 55
- 6 out of every 10 prostate cancer cases happen in men over 65
- Depression affects more than 6 million Americans ages 65 and older
Movember aims to change the game by advocating more dialog to drastically reduce men’s death rates. “Our fathers, partners, brothers and friends face a health crisis that isn’t being talked about,” the Movember Foundation declares on its website. Long-term survival rates for both testicular and prostate cancers are greater than 95 percent, but that’s only with early detection. Also, honest discussion about mental health challenges increased the probability that you or your family members will obtain needed support and professional treatment.
What Can I Do to Help?
The Movember Foundation encourages open conversation about testicular cancer, prostate cancer and mental health issues. In the face of traditional attitudes that males should be strong, confident and stoic, some senior men may find this prospect challenging. However, it’s vital to understand that dealing with these issues does not make one “less of a man.” Knowing your risk factors and working with medical providers to get screened and treated are also critical steps to sidestep preventable causes of death for yourself and loved ones.
What will you do to help yourself or the senior men in your life this Movember? You might try to grow that ‘stache, but don’t forget to talk about key issues such as testicular and prostate cancers along with mental health. Collaborating with your family member’s healthcare providers is also the key to keeping him alive and well in the long term.