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Caring for Others: Resources to Help You

From the FDA Office of Women’s Health

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En Español Download English PDF (1.65MB) 

Caregiving is the act of providing support for someone with a chronic illness, injury, disability or age-related needs. Taking care of family and friends is a normal part of every day for most women. It can be fun and rewarding to spend time with those who need you. It can also present you with new challenges.

Common challenges include caregiver stress and women especially are at risk for the harmful health effects of caregiver stress. Are you looking for tips to help you with caregiving? You are not alone! FDA has resources to help you keep you and your loved ones as healthy as they can be.

On this page:

Helping with medicines and medical devices
Preparing food safely
Managing other concerns
Learning about your loved one’s health condition
Caring for yourself

Helping with medicines and medical devices

Many women and other family caregivers, like you, worry about making a medical mistake. These tips can help you keep your loved ones safe and on track with their treatments. 

  1. Keep a list of medicines for each person you care for. Include over-the-counter medicines, dietary supplements, vitamins and herbs. Keep this list with you at all times. Bring this list to health care provider visits. Remember to ask any questions you may have. Download and print (PDF, 1.48 MB) a free My Medicines booklet you can fill in or order free copies
  2. Give the right amount of medicine. Ask the health care provider how much medicine you should give and when you should give it. Be sure to read the drug facts label of the drug product, follow usage directions and use the measuring cup or device that comes with the medicine.
  3. Lock up medicines. Make sure medication is taken by the person it was meant for. Keep medicines out of reach of children, teens, and older adults who could harm themselves. FDA recommends locking up medicines to prevent accidental poisonings by children and misuse by teens.
  4. Use home medical devices safely. Talk with your loved one’s health care provider about how to safely use medical devices. Ask the provider to show you and your loved one how to use the device correctly.

More information on using medications and devices safely:

Preparing food safely

Caregiving and food safety are important considerations especially when caring for people who may have a higher risk of getting sick from bad food. Ask the health care provider if there are certain foods that you should not give to your loved one. Also, remember food safety when preparing and storing meals.

Managing other concerns

Use these resources to help overcome some common caregiving challenges.

Learning about your loved one's health condition

It is important to educate yourself about the health condition to ensure that you can safely and effectively support your loved one. Read important tips on a variety of topics.

Caring for yourself 

When caring for someone else, it is easy to forget your own needs. Common challenges include emotional stress, balancing your personal life, and adapting to changing care needs. Remember to take time to care for your own health. Use these tips to help you stay healthy for those who need you.

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