The third week in May each year is dedicated to women’s health issues and striving toward better health for all women of all ages. If you’re the caregiver of an aging woman, perhaps your mother, grandmother, or aunt, this week can be a great time for the two of you to either celebrate her good health or work towards better health for her. If you are a female caregiver, you can include yourself in these steps toward better health as well can work together with your aging parent (or other female adult) to improve your health and quality of life. Having a partner is always better incentive to take positive steps toward better health.
For National Women’s Health week, you can both try making some changes and then evaluate after the week is over to see if they are changes you both want to keep, change or forego. Sometimes the best step is simply talking about what you can both do for better health and then taking those first tiny steps. As a caregiver, it will be another way for you to connect with your aging parent. So, choose one or two of these options and then see where they bring you both.
- Choose water over other beverages. If either you or your parent are big soda drinkers (diet or regular), or coffee drinkers, use this week to try to swap out some of your non-water beverages for some good old water. Water helps the body in numerous ways to stay healthy and regular. If plain water seems boring to either of you, find ways to spruce it up with fresh fruit or other flavor enhancers.
- Get better sleep. Maybe it’s time your parent starts a regular sleep schedule (or yourself). The body needs sleep to perform needed repairs and replenishments, so getting a good night’s sleep is imperative to better health. Help your parent set up regular bedtime routines to get her to bed on a schedule that works best for her. And don’t forget to do the same for yourself!
- Get active. This week, add in a planned activity each day, even if it’s as simple as a walk around the block. Take note of how your parent feels before, during, and after. Does she begin to notice other things improving after adding in a daily walk- such as is her mood lighter, or does she sleep better?
- Choose healthier options. This is also a great week to try substituting out those unhealthy snacks with more healthy snacks. If your parent likes a sweet snack, have fresh fruit or yogurt ready for her to enjoy. Look for ways you can reduce any high-fat or high sodium snacks that are currently a part of your parent’s diet.
- Make those preventative appointments. Getting preventative care exams and tests often fall to the back burner. If your parent needs to schedule her next colonoscopy or blood work, use this week to schedule those appointments so they aren’t overlooked for too much longer.
Use this week together to make your parent’s health a priority. It is important for all women, especially those with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, and women 65 years and older, to take steps toward better health now before it’s too late.