The Sandwich Generation- Care for the Caregiver
Written By : Murphy Ortiz
The Sandwich Generation”: those caught between caring for their aging parents and their own children. Many Baby Boomers (the generation born between 1946-1961) find themselves a part of this Sandwich Generation. The typical Baby Boomer is a 46 year old female, having some college education, and working full time. This is the typical demographic of the person trying to balance a full time job, caring for elderly parents and caring for their own growing children. It goes without saying that trying to juggle these responsibilities comes at a cost-usually to the caregiver. But who cares for the caregiver?
If you find yourself in this group, it is very important to remember to care of yourself. If you don’t, the stress of juggling so many responsibilities will take its toll on you. Remember, you are no good to anyone if you are not taking care of yourself. There are several things you should do to take care of yourself. The first is to eat well. Avoid junk food and simple carbs as they can raise insulin levels and actually increase your stress levels.
Include yourself on the list of people you take care of- make yourself a priority. You can’t provide care for others if you let your own health and well-being decline. Taking care of yourself must become a necessity, not an indulgence. Thinking of yourself this way may seem foreign but remember, it’s not optional.
Remember to spend time with family and friends. You deserve that time and it can fortify you to continue as an effective caregiver. Many people find themselves spread too thin and when something needs to give, it’s usually the time spent with family and friends.
Call upon brothers and/or sisters to share the load. In time, caring for an aging parent can become impossible to do alone, especially if you work full time. Speak with siblings and ask them how they can participate in your parents’ care. It’s not a burden for only one.
Consider utilizing the services of a home care agency. Affordable in-home care is available to relieve you of some of the daily activities of living. Help is available for assistance with bathing, cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands, and even general companionship. This can be a low cost way to free you up to spend quality time with your aging parents.
Seek the advice of an elder law attorney. This can be money well spent. Make sure wills are drawn up. Consider obtaining any documents required to designate a power of attorney should it become necessary.
The help of a Geriatric Care Manager can be a valuable asset, especially to Boomers who live a long distance from their aging parents. Geriatric Care Managers are professionals that specialize in issues related to seniors. Care managers function as an advocate for their clients through needs assessment, problem solving, care coordination and referrals for other services as needed.
Being the caregiver of an aging loved one is never an easy task, but by making yourself a priority and utilizing the help of others, you can handle the takes healthier and longer.
Murphy Ortiz is the manager of Family Choice Home Care.
Posted by Wee Care Companions