A colonoscopy is an essential part of preventative care, so give the gift of time by accompanying your parent or relative to a colon cancer screening.
Lack of transportation is a major barrier in healthcare, especially among those who are elderly or poor. Transportation barriers lead to missed appointments, delayed treatment and poorer health outcomes.
November is National Family Caregiver’s Month, a time to learn more about quality caregiving techniques to support aging parents and relatives. This year’s theme is “Supercharge Your Caregiving.” It reminds us we can optimize our caregiving by focusing on the most critical needs of our loved ones.
Reliable transportation is a primary need for consistent healthcare and lifelong wellness. Colon cancer is the third-leading cause of cancer death, but most colon cancers are preventable with regular colonoscopies. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control, one-third of adults between 50 and 75 have not been screened for colon cancer. One of the many cited reasons for not getting tested is lack of transportation.
You can help your parent, grandparent, spouse or friend prevent colon cancer by driving them to and from their colonoscopy. Many seniors are aware they are overdue for colonoscopies and other preventative procedures, but they do not have access to transportation. Offering to drive and accompany your loved one to the appointment can be a tangible way to show your care and concern.
Your loved one will also need a caregiver for several hours after the appointment. Most colonoscopies use sedation during the exam, and the sedative takes several hours to wear off. After you drive your loved one home, you can help him or her get comfortable and fix a simple meal.
Being a caregiver can be extremely rewarding because it allows you to have quality time with your parent or relative. A colonoscopy appointment may not be your first choice for how to spend your day together, but try to make it fun by sharing stories and memories that are meaningful to both of you.
Celebrate National Family Caregiver’s Month by calling someone you love and offering to provide transportation to a colonoscopy screening. While you’re at it, call your gastroenterologist to inquire about when you need to be screened for colon cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends all adults who are at average risk for colon cancer should begin colon screenings at age 45. Certain risk factors may qualify you to get screened earlier, so talk to your doctor.