Home Care Services Tips for Caregivers in the Sandwich Generation
Family caregivers who take care of children while handling the needs of aging parents are members of the “sandwich generation.” They are caught in the middle. With seniors living longer, it is not uncommon for adult children to be managing both ends of the caregiving spectrum.
As caregivers ourselves, we’ve gathered together some home care service suggestions that may help you through these challenging times.
Any family caregiver can feel “sandwiched,” whether or not they have children. The demands of a career, managing more than one household, and any number of commitments can stress even the most easy-going person.
If you’re providing care for a loved one, it changes the dynamic of the parent-child relationship. You become the one who is figuratively (and often literally) in the driver’s seat, transitioning from crisis to crisis while trying to keep everyone’s life on an even keel.
Here are some sanity-inducing solutions:
1. Get Organized
Organization is your strongest ally. Whether you maintain a stack of file folders or save everything to a cloud service provider, keep copies of blood work, reports/tests, hospital discharge instructions, and medication lists where you can easily find them.
Keep documents like living wills and power of attorney credentials close at hand. There’s nothing worse than compounding an emergency situation with the stress of not being able to locate critical paperwork.
Take advantage of tools like this free, HIPPA-compliant app, MyMedSchedule.com, to keep track of your loved one's medications. Whatever you can do to organize everything from doctors’ office locations to pharmacy details, do it. Keep your documentation processes simple, yet effective.
2. Ask for Assistance
You may not be good about asking for help, but you must get better at it. Caregiver burnout is a legitimate diagnosis. Getting at least some of the home care service assistance you need can help you avoid burnout and feel better both physically and emotionally. If you are constantly worried about your loved one’s care, it may be time to start identifying resources that can help you.
Depending on what you do for a living and your company’s culture, perhaps you can approach your boss about working a day or two from home. While that may not be the right solution for you, it’s ok to get a little creative when you have a multitude of responsibilities.
Turning to a professional home care agency, like Visiting Angels, is another way to get the help you need. Our caregivers can provide respite care assistance as well as daily assistance depending on your needs.
Ideally, self-care should be the number one thing on your list, but if you are like most people, it is always the first thing to get pushed aside. You have a long list of obligations, which may include managing your loved one’s finances as well as their shopping and other errands. During the day you are focused on getting through your list, and at night you are likely losing sleep over what’s on tomorrow’s list.
The irony is, NOT applying self-care is counterproductive. When you burn out, that’s when the real stress sets in and you become physically and emotionally unable to manage what you must. If you are the primary home care service provider for a loved one, be sure to focus on these self-care tips.
If it’s not in your calendar, it probably won’t happen. Try to schedule at least 150 minutes of moderately intensive exercise every week.
- Productive sleep
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that sleep deprivation hinders clear thinking and causes irritability. Even worse, this deficiency contributes to chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiac problems.
- Healthy eating
Fast food along with high fat/high sugar foods won’t support your immune system and will really slow you down. To function at top speed, you need healthy fuel that gets the job done.
Yoga or meditation will work wonders. A half hour of yoga (you can find videos on YouTube) and/or two 15-minute meditation sessions a day will help replenish your body, mind, and soul.
If you are a stressed-out home care service provider for your family, you must put yourself first. It’s the only way you can continue to be there for everyone.
For information on our home care services, and how we can help you find balance, contact your nearest Visiting Angels office today.