Caring for the caregiver

A woman and her elderly mother enjoy time outside together.

November is National Family Caregivers Month. It’s a time to recognize the 53 million family caregivers in the U.S.1

From scheduling appointments to managing medications, family caregivers do so much to take care of their loved ones.

Being a caregiver can be rewarding, but it can also be a time-consuming and stressful job. In fact, 23% of Americans say caregiving has made their own health worse.1

Tips to keep a caregiver's own health on track

Just as flight attendants tell passengers to put on their own oxygen mask before assisting a travel companion, it’s important for caregivers to make their own health a priority. Unhealthy caregivers can’t provide optimal care, and the stress related to being a caregiver could make existing health conditions worse.

If you’re a caregiver, here are a few ways to put your emotional and physical well-being first:

  • Practice healthy habits: Daily exercise and a consistent good night’s sleep can reduce stress and improve your health. If time is a concern, try simply building 5-10 minutes of physical activity into your day, and move up your bedtime by a few minutes each night.
  • Make personal time a priority: Set aside time every day to socialize with family and friends, read, or meditate. Whatever makes you happy!
  • Don’t ignore depression: Familiarize yourself with the signs of depression, such as continuous low mood, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, neglecting hobbies, and unexplained aches and pains. If you think you may be depressed, seek medical attention quickly. Caregiving support groups or professional counseling can also help.
  • Use online resources: At Express Scripts® Pharmacy, our website and mobile app can make managing prescriptions for you and your patient easier. As a designated caregiver on the account, you can order prescriptions, check your order status, set your account preferences, and choose where to ship a medication and how to pay. 
  • Don’t do it alone: Identify others — family members, friends, neighbors, your religious community, or local civic organizations — who can provide support. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can help connect caregivers with locally available support services.
Doing our part to help caregivers

At Express Scripts® Pharmacy, we understand the critical role caregivers play in the health and wellness of others — and how that responsibility can affect their own health. From managing prescriptions in our mobile app to convenient home delivery and 24/7 access to pharmacists, we’re here to help make things easier.

Posted date: November 10, 2021

 

1 National Alliance for Caregiving: Caregiving in the U.S. 2020 (accessed October 11, 2021): caregiving.org.