Female caregivers for seniors may often put their physical and mental health on the line when it comes to administering care for a loved one. It may seem like burning the candle at both ends for the benefit of a senior is wise, but the truth is that depleting your own energy and focus could wind up hurting yourself and the person in your care in the long run. Ignoring health screenings can also result in serious health consequences.
Making regular visits to your doctor will help you stay on top of important screenings and preventive measures for midlife illnesses and diseases. These screenings are vital for your physician to identify potential health issues and work on preventing them from interfering with your life. Issues such as heart disease, cancer, and type-2 diabetes can be halted and given treatment guidelines so that you remain healthy and functional.
If you are busy taking care of a senior parent or relative then you may be over exerting yourself in order to keep them healthy and comfortable. It is admirable that you are administering home care, but you should strongly consider the possibility of senior living communities and assisted living options near you. To make sure you are not giving too much, consult with your primary physician and discuss what check-ups you may be overdue for. Here are the typical health check-ups that doctors recommend getting for women over the age of 50.
In your annual physical, your primary physician will have the opportunity to check your physical and mental health to see if care-giving has taken any toll. The physician will check your blood pressure, assess your cognitive fortitude, screen for signs of depression, and conduct a wellness check. High blood pressure, depression, and lapses in cognitive ability are not uncommon among senior caregivers. Doing your physical, your doctor may also order blood tests, test for vitamin deficiencies, check cholesterol levels, and screen for diabetes and hepatitis
Annual Women’s Wellness Visit
This annual screening is undertaken by your gynecologist to check for any abnormalities. During this appointment, doctors will screen for HPV, cervical cancer, and any sexually transmitted diseases. Gynecologists may also order a yearly mammogram and conduct a screening for bone density based on your individual health status.
Colon Cancer Screening
This specific screening test depends upon your family and personal medical history. Doctors usually recommend colon cancer screenings starting at the age of 50. The gold standard of colon cancer screening is the colonoscopy, though there are newer screening tests such as Cologuard.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that people of all ages get a flu shot every year. For those giving care to a senior, it is possible to contract or even pass along an illness without knowing it. This could endanger your senior, as they already have a compromised immune system. You should ask your clinical provider for a vaccine known as the pneumococcal vaccination, which can protect against pneumonia and other infections. Seniors are more susceptible to disease and serious disease related physical impairments. Some vaccinations to always stay current on include:
- Influenza: This yearly vaccine lowers the odds of catching the flu and helps ensure that you don’t pass it along to the senior in your care. According to the CDC, between 71% and 85% of flu-related deaths occur in adults who are 65 years or older.
- Pneumococcal: The Pneumococcal vaccine helps protect you against pneumonia and any infections in the lungs or bloodstream. You may even want to consider getting your senior immunized, as the general age recommendation for getting this shot is 65.
- Shingles: Preventing shingles is vital to ensuring your and your senior’s continued health. 1 in 3 adults will develop shingles in their lifetime so this one should be high on your list.
- Tetanus-Diptheria-Pertussis: Known as Tdap, this vaccine helps protect against several illnesses such as tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. These illnesses are deadly and you’ll need to ensure your senior is not exposed to them.
Stay Healthy and Fit
For anyone, staying in shape is a positive way to keep happy and healthy. It’s also an excellent method for lowering risk of adverse health conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and even anxiety and depression. Staying active can improve quality of life for, reduce risk of injuries and improve mental perception. In order to stay in the best shape you can for taking care of your senior, you’ll want to activate your full range of motion for your muscles and ensure your heart beats strong and steady.
Caregivers can reap real benefits from the daily practice of yoga, both physically and mentally. Yoga focuses on enhancing your stability and balance which are essential for staying centered to take care of another individual. Exercises in yoga are usually gentle on the muscles and joints. Plus, you don’t have to be in pristine shape to take part in a beginner’s class. Yoga enthusiasts will all testify to the efficacy of their practice in enhancing both their physical and mental well being, plus there is always a yoga studio within a few miles if you live in or near a major metropolitan city.
These are all important self-care steps that female caregivers can use to stay healthy and ensure their senior is in safe and capable hands. Your ability to stay happy and healthy will translate to improved quality of care and even longevity of life for your senior. While there is no magic cure for making care-giving any easier, these steps can give you a boost when it comes to being prepared and on top of your care-giving duties.
If you feel run down from taking care of a senior and are looking into senior living facilities, consider browsing our informational repository and getting in contact with our admissions representatives. Landmark Senior Living is available today to take you and your loved one for a tour at one of our seven premier and affordable communities. Call now for more information!