When we think of the sandwich generation—the generation of people who are raising their children and caring for their aging parents at the same time—we think of middle-aged women. While men are taking on more caregiving responsibilities, it is more important than ever that women take good care of themselves at every age so they can be there when needed.
Get Active! May 11-17, 2014 is National Women’s Health Week, led by the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health. The idea behind this week dedicated to the health of women is to encourage women to make their own health a priority.
Women at Risk
There are many diseases which women have a higher risk to than men. According to a new report from the Alzheimer’s Association, women in their 60s are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease over the rest of their lives as they are breast cancer. The report also states that “a woman's estimated lifetime risk of developing Alzheimer's at age 65 is 1 in 6, compared with nearly 1 in 11 for a man.”
Heart disease is the number one killer of women is heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. It strikes more women than men and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined.
Rates for some cancers—such as breast cancers—in women have been decreasing, but remain a concern for women.
Make a Difference
The good news is that women can decrease their risk to many diseases by making beneficial lifestyle choices. The National Women’s Health Week explains what is mean to be a “well woman” on their website:
- Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings.
- Get active.
- Eat healthy.
- Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
- Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, texting while driving, and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet.
The Office of Women’s Health encourages women to get involved in spreading the word about good health during the week of May 11-17, 2014. Women can host or attend an event in their area, including a Meetup (see directions at www.womenshealth.gov), take a “pledge” to eat better and exercise more among other positive daily changes, and spread the word about National Women’s Health Week on social media to encourage wives, sisters, mothers, grandmothers, daughters and granddaughters far and wide to be healthy too.