If you’re raising children and caring for a parent(s), welcome to the “Sandwich Generation.” If you feel like your burning the candle at both ends and are struggling to meet everyone’s needs, take heart – you’re not alone. The Pew Research Center reports that almost a quarter of adults in the U.S. (23%) are part of the sandwich generation. This means they 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.

If you’re struggling with the challenge of caring for an elderly family member and raising kids, here are four tips that will relieve some of your stress and help you take care of everyone – including yourself.

Communicate openly about your challenges to your family

Your spouse/partner and children can probably tell you’re under a lot of pressure, so there’s no need to put on a brave face all the time. Instead, sit with them and tell them about your challenges and how much you need their understanding and support. Open communication between family members will help everyone be more flexible and adjust better to changing situations.

If you have siblings, talk with them, too. If they live locally and aren’t involved with your parent’s care or live out of the area and can’t be there to help, let them know what you’re dealing with. If they can’t be there personally to help, see if they can help financially and/or provide emotional support.

Share caregiving responsibilities with your family

Hold family meetings weekly and set expectations and schedules for the upcoming week. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy meeting, and it will save you time and reduce everyone’s stress level during the week. It will help the week go more smoothly if you draw up a roster allocating duties for each family member.

For example, ask who can pick up your parent’s prescriptions on Tuesday or who can fix their dinner on Saturday. Family members can check their schedules at the meeting and commit to taking care of those tasks. If there are some tasks that no one can attend to, you can enlist the help of community organizations like Meals on Wheels or hire someone to help, such as a prescription delivery service.

Find and participate in a family caregiver support group

Many caregiver support groups meet virtually. Spending an hour a week talking with other caregivers from the sandwich generation can boost your spirits and your energy level. You can also learn about some great techniques and tools that you can use to be more efficient and effective in all of your roles.

Use respite care

If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else. Regularly scheduled respite care will give you time each week to catch your breath and enjoy a well-deserved break. You can pamper yourself during your break, catch up with friends, enjoy a date with your spouse, or see a movie with the kids.

Having a professional caregiver step in while you recharge will give you peace of mind knowing that your parent is being well-taken care of and their regular routine is continuing. Your mom or dad will also enjoy the company of someone new and come to enjoy their regular visits.

AmeriCare Plus Provides Respite Care in Virginia

AmeriCare Plus has provided respite care and other home care services for seniors living in Virginia for over 26 years. We have ten locations across the state and provide affordable and reliable support for seniors and their families.

Contact us today and schedule your free home care assessment. We’d love to get to know you and your senior loved one and provide the assistance you need.

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