Caregivers often brush aside their own needs. They tend not to go to the doctor as often as they should, and many do not get the preventative care that they need. But, caregiving can be physically and emotionally demanding. As a caregiver, you are at greater risk for colds, infections, and chronic diseases. Taking time to take care for yourself is important.
It’s important that you have regular check-ups with your medical doctor, eye doctor, and dentist.
The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends you get the following on a regular basis:
- Everyone: Dental checkups and cleanings, eye exams, blood pressure checks, weight and height measurements, blood work (e.g. blood glucose, thyroid function, and cholesterol), fecal occult blood tests (for people age 50 or older or as directed by your doctor), and colonoscopies (as directed by your doctor).
- Women only: Mammograms (for women age 40 or as directed by your doctor), Pap smears, bone density tests (as directed by your doctor), and breast self-exams.
- Men only: Prostate exams (for men age 40 or older or as directed by your doctor), and Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tests(as directed by your doctor).
Call your doctor to schedule your next appointment, or add a reminder on your calendar to do so later. If you don’t have a family doctor, eye doctor and/or dentist, ask a friend to recommend one. Also ask others to stay with the patient while you are at your appointments, and/or to remind you of your appointments and annual check-ups.