If you are feeling a squeeze on your time, wallet, and emotions, there is a good chance you are part of the sandwich generation. There are options available to you to help reduce some of the stress that comes with being stuck in the middle.
The sandwich generation is defined as adults who care not only for their older parents but their children as well. Typically, this person will be juggling the various needs of both groups, but care for their parents tends to escalate as the parents age.
According to an AARP report shared by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 44% of Americans between the ages of 45 and 55 had at least one parent and one child under the age of 21. Of that grouping, 7% of these adults lived in a home with three generations — including an aged parent and a minor — under one roof.
Options for Sandwich Generation Home Care
Caring for aging parents can become overwhelming, especially if a recent illness has decreased their ability to continue taking care of daily tasks themselves. If dementia has become an issue, then living alone without support may no longer be possible.
A study by the National Alliance for Caregiving shows that family caregivers average 20.4 hours per week caring for an elderly parent. In fact, 13% state they are spending up to 40 hours per week on home health care. That’s why it is important to learn about your options.
Learn What Services are Available to you – One of the best things you can do for yourself and your parent is to learn your options. Sandwich generation caregivers sometimes feel they need to do everything without help. If you do, it won’t be long before you are feeling overwhelmed and burned out. Take the time upfront to discover which services are available to you
From having someone in to cook meals or simply be a companion, home health care options can make all the difference and give you some much needed relief.
- Have a Family Sit Down – It is important to have an honest discussion as a family to determine your parent’s expectations and what you can realistically do yourself and what you may need help with from a home health care provider.
You will want to discuss what your parents are currently capable of doing for themselves now and their plans for the future.
- Use Home Health Care Services – Often the best option is to connect with a home health care provider for help with your parent’s daily needs. These professionals can help with general hygiene such as bathing, hair washing, and dressing. In addition, you can get help with:
- Meal preparation
- Bathroom activities
- Household tasks including changing bed linens, dishwashing, general cleaning
- Grocery shopping
- Join a Support Group – Sometimes, caring for elderly parents can make a person feel isolated. According to the AARP, it is important that you know you are not alone. By joining a support group, you can share your feelings – good and bad – with others that understand your situation.
If you are feeling squeezed or feel like there are not enough hours in the day, there are options for home care. Sandwich Generation adults may need to take on more responsibility than generations that came before them, but they also get the satisfaction of knowing they are there for their families when they are needed the most.
When did you start to seek out options for respite care? Share with us in the comments below.
For more information, please review our Sandwich Generation Resources.