Today’s sandwich generation is a growing segment of the population that is responsible for the care of their aging parents as well as their children. Although being a caregiver and a parent can be rewarding, when trying to balance both roles and their associated responsibilities simultaneously, it can be easy to feel as if you are spread too thin. As a leading provider of home care, we wanted to share a few tips for how family caregivers can balance caregiving with parenting.
- Combine Activities When Possible – One trap family caregivers often fall into is trying to separate their roles completely. This can often create more stress for the caregiver. If possible, try to combine activities when possible. For example, if your elementary school children are able to sit quietly and do their homework, bring them over to your parents’ house a couple of days per week after school. If your parents are mobile, bring them with you to an activity at the children’s school.
- Schedule Your Tasks – Many family caregivers find it helpful to have a single place where all their activities are listed and organized. Create a calendar and place it in a location that everyone in the family can view it and include everyone’s activities from your children’s sporting events to your parent’s medical appointments to your bill payments. This is a great way to remind yourself what you need to do and on what day, and can help you prioritize your responsibilities.
- Delegate Responsibilities – Talk with your children and spouse about helping around the house. Many caregivers feel as if they need to do it all, when in reality there are many household responsibilities that can be delegated to your family. Creating a schedule for who can help with the dishes, take out the trash, or do laundry can be simple ways to take some of the burden off of you.
- Know When Help is Needed – No matter how diligent you are, you cannot watch over your aging loved one and your children at the same time, all day long. Know when you may need to look to outside help. This is especially important if you start experiencing any signs of caregiver stress including extreme fatigue, difficulty concentrating or fluctuations in weight. Ask friends to help with errands such as grocery shopping or consider part-time care for respite and relaxation. Live-in or overnight care can also allow you to enjoy a full night’s rest knowing your aging parent or loved one is safe and in caring hands.
Balancing your parental responsibilities along with your personal obligations to your parents is a difficult task. However, recognizing the abilities of older children as well as knowing when you need to hire assistance can alleviate much stress. For more information about in-home care options, contact a Home Care Assistance Care Manager at 778-279-3634. We’ll be more than happy to answer your questions and can help you schedule a free in-home consultation where you can learn more about our care services.