Have you ever been surprised to learn that what you thought was a typical Wednesday is actually atypical, and a reason to celebrate? Before I had my smartphone to remind me, these insignificant dates probably passed without pomp and circumstance, remaining uncelebrated holidays.
There seems to be a day to celebrate just about everything (did you know yesterday was National Corned Beef Hash Day?). Most, I have no intention of celebrating, but every once in awhile the reminder ends up being a fun surprise, seemingly turning an ordinary Wednesday into a worthwhile reason to celebrate.
If you’re like me, today is not a day you’re used to celebrating. But this date is worth remembering and should be celebrated. Why? Because September 28 is Women’s Health and Fitness Day. The day is reserved to celebrate a national program designed to promote health for women of all ages. The initiative aims to encourage women to make healthy choices through diet and exercise, and increase interest in the management of overall health and wellness.
Are you a member of the “Sandwich Generation”?
Think of the important women in your life. The ones who mean the most to you are probably the same ones who selflessly take care of everyone around them without worrying about themselves.
Women often wear many hats, juggling the demands of running a household and raising children along with professional and civic responsibilities. Women are often viewed as natural caregivers, and studies support that, showing that women shoulder the majority of caregiving responsibilities for spouses, as well as aging family members.
As women are beginning to start their own families later in life, many are now finding themselves in what researchers refer to as the “Sandwich Generation,” tasked with caring for their own growing family while caring for their aging parents simultaneously.
Looking after your family — and yourself
As time and resources are spread thin, many female caregivers inadvertently neglect their own health. Many don’t take advantage of preventative health services and screenings, which can result in adverse health outcomes. Women in caregiving roles report higher incidences of depression, anxiety and overall stress levels. Declining personal happiness has also been reported, in addition to high blood pressure, reduced immune function and an increased risk of mortality. The health risks appear to increase as the amount of time devoted to caregiving increases. A 2003 study found that 26 percent of female caregivers report fair to poor health compared to 12 percent of women who do not consider themselves primary caregivers.
Be proactive about your health
The role women play in caregiving doesn’t have to result in adverse health outcomes. As an audiologist, I encourage you to take advantage of Women’s Health and Fitness Day and schedule a hearing screening soon, including an annual hearing test.
Optimizing preventative hearing screenings can lead to more successful treatment outcomes. Treating hearing loss proactively can positively impact overall health and wellness and enhance quality of life. Research by the National Council on Aging discovered that treating hearing loss led to improvements in social, emotional, psychological and physical well-being. Taking time to care for yourself will help you provide better care for those you love.
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Kochkin, S. (n. d.). The impact of treated hearing loss on quality of life. Retrieved from: http://www.betterhearing.org/hearingpedia/counseling-articles-tips/impact-treated-hearing-loss-quality-life
Lee, S. L., Colditz, G. A., Berkman, L. F., & Kawachi, I. (2003). Caregiving and risk of coronary heart disease in U.S. women: A prospective study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 24(2), 113–119.
Marks, N., Lambert, J. D., & Choi, H. (2002). Transitions to caregiving, gender, and psychological well-being: A prospective U.S. national study. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64, 657–667.
Family Caregiver Alliance. (2003, Dec. 31). Women and Caregiving: Facts and Figures. Retrieved from: https://www.caregiver.org/women-and-caregiving-facts-and-figures