Perhaps you’ve heard the term “sandwich generation,” and have wondered if it pertains to you. The sandwich generation refers to caregivers who are sandwiched between caring for at least one aging parent who is 65 or older and also providing care of their children, whether they are still in the home or whether they are young adults, still needing financial and emotional support from the caregiver. Usually those in the sandwich generation are in their 40s and 50s, and no surprise, they’re often overwhelmed, stressed out, and exhausted. Sound familiar? Perhaps it’s you!
As a caregiver of an aging parent, you most likely try to balance your time between your parent(s), your child(ren), your spouse, your job, your home, and on good days, yourself. You’re basically sandwiched between all of your responsibilities, and it can make it hard to breathe and cause you to feel as if you barely get enough chance to come up for air before the next crisis arises and you have to dive back in to help those you love.
As the caregiver wedged within all these responsibilities, there are steps you can take to provide yourself a little bit of relief so that you might find the time to do some self-care in addition to assisting everyone else in your life. As they routinely show you on airplanes, you must put on your own airbag before you’ll be able to help others with theirs.
- Ask for help. Being a caregiver is the time to give away your pride of being able to do it all, and make the point to ask as many people as possible for help. If you have an adult child who is back living at home, ask that child to help with transporting your parent to and from appointments or have your adult (or even older teen) child take care of your parent’s yardwork or laundry.
- Hire some help. When friends and family aren’t enough support, investigate agencies that provide home care assistance to help your parent with tasks such as daily care or meal prep. If you don’t have family members who can help with yardwork, perhaps your parent has a neighbor who can be hired to shovel snow or drag the garbage can out to the curb each week. A preteen who is too young for a “real” job might appreciate the opportunity to make a little money and you won’t have to do it yourself every week.
- Buy some help. There are lots of assistive devices out there that you can purchase to help your parent continue to live independently. Perhaps it’s something like a medical alert system so that you’ll be immediately notified (or emergency workers will be) if your parent falls or suffers from a heart attack. Or maybe it’s something more simple like a can opener to help your parent open cans when her arthritis is too painful.
- Help yourself. Set up boundaries for all of those you care for in order to protect yourself. Clearly communicating to your family, your workplace, and even yourself about what you can and cannot do is essential to your self-care.
The primary mission of a caregiver is to keep everyone happy, healthy, and safe. If you learn to ask for help early on the journey, it’ll ensure you get the help you need when you need it.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering a Caregiver in Bethesda, MD please contact the caring staff at Just Divine Home Care Agency today at (301) 219-1585.