They’ve been dubbed “The Sandwich Generation” – children who find themselves caring for aging parents and their spouses and children. In addition, many of this group are also juggling job responsibilities and their own health challenges as they too get older. While it’s a complex and unenviable position to be in, fortunately, some people have successfully navigated handling these dual responsibilities of caring for a parent(s) and their growing children. Here are some pointers they’ve shared that can help you better meet your loved one’s needs, as well as your own.
Tap into your support system
Your spouse and children likely want to help you care for your aging parents. Kids often love spending time with their grandparents and enjoy helping with chores, driving their grandma or grandpa to the doctor, or running other errands for them.
The challenge comes in when your family doesn’t know how they can help, and they don’t ask. This makes it your responsibility to let them know what they can do to help you care for your parents and take some of the pressure off you.
Use community resources
If you live in an urban or suburban area, you probably have more resources at your fingertips than you realize. For example, many counties and states have departments specifically structured to help seniors. In addition, online resources such as the Health and Human Services website (HHS.gov) can provide tips and tools to make caring for your parents a little less stressful.
There are other community resources you can tap into that can help, like Meals on Wheels or other volunteer organizations that provide services to seniors. Many churches also have food and senior visitation programs that can make life a bit easier for you and provide Mom and Dad with some new friends to visit with occasionally.
Forgive yourself for missing events
As much as you sometimes wish you could, you can’t be in two places at the same time. Unfortunately, there will be times when your parent is under the weather, or you can’t find someone to be with them, preventing you from attending a business function with your spouse or watching one of your children perform in a school musical or sporting event.
When this happens, go easy on yourself. Understand that you’re doing the best you can, and sometimes your parent will need you to be there when it’s not convenient for you. Your spouse and kids will understand and accept this better than you think they will.
Practice healthy self-care
It’s true that if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for anyone else. Take time for yourself and rejuvenate regularly. Have lunch with a friend, take a book to the park and read for a while, or enjoy a warm bath or massage.
This will only happen if you put it in your schedule and make an appointment with yourself. Call it “Me Time,” and enjoy your time off guilt-free. You deserve it.
Let a professional home care agency help
Home care agencies can provide you with services like respite care and companion care that can provide expert care for your loved one while giving you the break you need to attend family events or just take a few hours for yourself. Respite care is affordable, and convenient, and will make a big difference in the quality of life for your entire family.
If you live in Pasadena or the greater Los Angeles area, trust New Wave Home Care to provide the respite care you need and many other home care services for seniors. Our trained, compassionate caregivers are available for you 24/7/365. Contact us today to learn more.