Are You Feeling the Squeeze?
After a brutal day at work, all you want to do is grab a glass of wine and turn on your favorite TV show.
But you know that won’t happen.
In addition to checking in on your aging mom, you have to also feed your hungry kids and help with algebra homework.
Before you can call it a night, you need to clean the kitchen, fold the laundry and work on tomorrow’s schedule – which includes two important work meetings, your mom’s doctor appointment and your daughter’s big soccer game.
If so, you’re not alone. According to new research from the Pew Research Center, nearly one-quarter (23%) of Americans now make up the “sandwich generation” – adults who have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising at least one child younger than 18 or providing financial support to an adult child.
“We see it all the time – family caregivers who are pressed from both sides,” said Sierra Goetz, co-founder and operations manager for the HomeCare Advocacy Network (HCAN). “With work, kids and aging parents, there are a lot of demands on their time and little wiggle room in daily schedules.”
Avoid Caregiver Burnout
Burning the candle at both ends isn’t healthy and can lead to caregiver burnout. So Goetz suggests:
Accepting or asking for help. If help is offered, take it. If you have to ask family or friends for assistance, do it.
Delegating. Make a list of daily tasks and, when possible, delegate. Maybe your spouse/partner can cook dinner a couple of days each week or your teenagers can take care of the laundry or run errands.
Taking breaks. Understand that it’s okay take breaks from caregiving responsibilities. When someone else takes over, get out of the house. Visit friends, go to a movie, get a massage – anything that can help you relax.
Prioritizing self care. Eat well, exercise, relax and get enough sleep. If you’re not healthy, the quality of care you’re able to provide for your family will suffer.
Getting connected. Take time to learn about caregiving resources in your community, including options for senior meal delivery, transportation and housekeeping.
Enlisting the help of a professional caregiver. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, a professional caregiver will ensure your aging loved one is getting the best care possible – while giving you a much needed break.
“At HCAN, we help families find the perfect balance between work, kids and aging parents,” Goetz said. “From companionship to personal and dementia care, our trained, professional caregivers are committed to helping you meet the unique needs of your aging loved ones – while giving you a much needed break.”