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Who is a Caregiver?

November celebrates the demanding work of family caregivers and their contribution to individuals and communities. Caregivers provide assistance to a person suffering from disease, sometimes a chronic and progressive, condition. Assistance may be provided by a family member, a close friend, or neighbor. There are an estimated 26.5% of American adults acting as a family caregiver.

Caregiver burnout is a state of mental, physical, and/or emotional exhaustion. The symptoms are very similar to depression and stress including withdrawal from others, poor sleep, and lack of interest in activities. It is vitally important that caregivers learn not only to care for their loved ones but themselves, as well. There are many resources available to caregivers; studies have found that support groups seem to be very helpful for a caregiver’s wellbeing.

Emotional and physical health are important as we navigate our day and can help a caregiver better tackle daily challenges involved in their job. Screening exams are not always at the forefront of everyone’s minds, but are important to ensure you are at your best in order to care for aging or ill loved ones.

Below are the recommended screenings for adults with average risk.

Condition Screening Recommendations
Breast Cancer
  • Yearly screening mammogram beginning at age 40
Conlon Cancer
  • Start at age 45
  • A physician will determine when screenings are no longer needed (up to 85 years old)
Lung Cancer
  • 55-74 years old in fairly good health AND
  • A current smoker or smoked within the past 15 years AND
  • A 30+ pack-year smoking history (i.e., A pack a day for 30 years or 2 packs a day for 15 years)
  • Women after 65 years of age
  • Men after 70 years of age

Other screenings, such as prostate and cardiac, may be needed depending on a person’s risk factors.  A doctor should always be consulted on an individual basis as lifestyle, family history, and other factors will affect each person’s needs.

We give our thanks to all caregivers for their dedication to others and encourage everyone to remember to take care of themselves.

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