Sandwich generation is a common term for those responsible for raising children and caring for aging parents. If you’re part of that group, you probably already know some tricks to make things with the kids run a bit more smoothly. You might not know there are also things you can do to make caring for an elderly parent a little easier.
Ways The Sandwich Generation Can Get Help
1) Give the Care Recipient as Much Control as Possible
When your mom or dad starts to slow down – or worse, develops memory problems or symptoms of dementia – it can be tempting to swoop in and do everything. Don’t. Allowing your loved one to do some things for himself not only relieves your stress, it allows him to maintain some sense of control over his life. That helps maintain a sense of dignity. If, for example, your parent cannot safely use the stove to make oatmeal, he may still be able to pour milk for cereal or decide what he wants to wear that day.
2) Use Technology
One of the hardest things to fit into the life of the sandwich generation is everyday chores like grocery shopping. Dragging around crying children, or keeping tabs on a wander risk parent, is anything but conducive to business. Technology can help. Many grocery stores in the Boston area, offer online shopping with delivery. There’s often a small delivery fee – but the peace is worth it.
3) Call In the Troops
Another important skill for the sandwich generation is the ability to ask for help from family and friends. You don’t have to ask for extraordinary feats of heroism; start with little tasks like taking your parent out for a walk a few times a week or playing a favorite board game with her. Even if it gives you as little as 20 minutes to yourself, help from others can save your sanity.
4) Hire a Professional Caregiver or Tap Other Resources
If your parent’s needs are overwhelming, there are alternatives to putting him in a home. The Boston area has many resources to help you care for your loved one. You could, for example, hire a companion caregiver to provide social interaction and help with light housekeeping. Many private insurance companies will help cover the cost of a visiting nurse. You can also look into adult daycare centers or even day hospitals.
5) Senior Care
Senior care and home health aides help take the stress off of families and individuals that no longer can juggle all of the responsibilities at once. Aides do not replace the love that is given from a family member, but the do the chores and duties that many sandwich generation children are struggling with, and allow the family members to enjoy the time with the senior loved one, instead of spending that time one chores and activities that take away from quality time