"As women, we have more of the burden of domestic responsibility for the health of our families." Dr. Campaigne said. "One of the things I tell my patients is, we don't get to choose the stressors in our life, but we do get to choose how we cope."
On November 9, AGE of Central Texas hosted a summit on caregiving, "She Thrives Summit," focusing on equipping women with resources, information, and community to support their experiences with Mental Health & Wellness, Legal & Financial Health, and the Experiences of Caregiving.
Andrea L. Campaigne, MD, FACOG, Ob/Gyn at ARC North Austin Ob/Gyn was a panelist on the Mental Health & Wellness segment, talking about how the caregivers – mostly women – have to first take care of themselves both mentally and physically.
She went on to say that in her practice of taking care of women of all ages, she sees women often suspend their own care, miss their well-checks, mammograms, and more, and "we need to acknowledge the importance of our own mental health as well."
The panel spoke to the fact that 63% of caregivers of older adults are women, and 62% of them are part or fully employed. That makes self-care, both physically and mentally, more challenging.
"Draw a pie chart of how you'd like to spend your day," Dr. Campaigne told the audience of over 150 women. "We are the only ones who can move the lines. I tell my patients, move the lines to get more time for yourself!"
Dr. Campaigne offered these tips:
- Explore connections in your life to help with your home life responsibilities.
- Delegate. Explore the self-care that can come from delegating.
- Find an outlet for creativity. Reading for pleasure, a walk, anything that brings you back to yourself.
- Explore resources to help make you a more complete, whole person and caregiver.
Thank you, Dr. Campaigne, for sharing your thoughts, advice, and personal stories to help women who care for others.
For more information on AGE of Central Texas and caregiving resources, visit www.ageofcentraltx.org.