At some point in our lives, we will all likely act as a caregiver in one way or another. Providing care for loved ones is often fulfilling; however, taking on this role can also bring on stress and challenges. This November, we celebrate the dedication of all the amazing caregivers as part of National Family Caregivers Month.
Being a caregiver is often just one of several roles a person plays in their lives. With an estimated 66% of caregivers being female, caregiving responsibilities are often added to a woman’s already hectic schedule. From work responsibilities to caring for their families at home, women are juggling a lot. In fact, a recent survey found that 97% of women said they are responsible for or influence their family members’ health care decisions or their own. The list of responsibilities includes important tasks such as scheduling medical appointments, refilling prescriptions, choosing health care providers, monitoring medications, planning surgeries, and even choosing pain treatment options during or following surgery. Consequently, these responsibilities are also associated with additional tasks such as monitoring unused medications in the home, keeping an eye out for unusual behavior or side effects in their family members, and researching questions to ask the doctor when appointments or procedures arise. Whether you are caring for an aging parent and are concerned with the risks of opioid exposure following surgery (and if you are, there are safe and effective non-opioids available) or looking for tips to guide your next discussion with a doctor, Choices Matter aims to help caregivers navigate this process with a number of resources.
Due to the demands of caregiving, self-care often falls by the wayside, which can take a toll on anyone. As we head into the occasionally stress-inducing holiday season, we urge you to take some time to recognize and thank the caregivers in your life and, if you are a caregiver, make sure to treat yourself kindly, and acknowledge your own needs and goals.
We are all advocates for our own health and should feel empowered to seek health care providers who can help meet our specific needs. On behalf of Choices Matter, we want to sincerely thank all caregivers who work selflessly and tirelessly to provide care for loved ones amidst their own circumstances, challenges, and lives. Your care makes a difference.