Are you caring for aging parents as well as adult children and grandchildren? Or, are you caring for young children at the same time as aging parents or grandparents? If you answered “yes,” you are a member of the “Sandwich Generation”.
Because sometimes people don’t think of themselves as a caregiver, they may actually be part of the “Sandwich Generation” without realizing it.
So, who is a caregiver? You don’t need to be providing care full-time to earn the title. If you help someone with grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, or other household tasks, you are a caregiver. Do you spend time helping to make plans for a loved one such as scheduling appointments or other activities? That makes you a caregiver. If you assist a parent or relative with daily activities like dressing, bathing, or grooming; you guessed it, you’re a caregiver.
Caring for multiple generations of family members at the same time can be stressful. Many people feel pulled in all directions as they attempt to manage the ins and outs of caring for aging parents while also being there for children and spouses. And being in the workforce just adds another dimension of stress.
What can you do if you are feeling the pressure of the sandwich generation?
Get informed. The more prepared you are, the less stressed you will feel, so research, research, research. Ask your loved one’s doctor or care team for guidance. Contact agencies like your local ADRC (Aging & Disability Resource Center) for help. Contact local health care companies and look into care options before they are needed.
Take breaks. Find time to relax every day, even if it is just for a few moments. Find a community, like a caregiver’s support group, where you can share your feelings with others. Take care of yourself. You cannot care for others effectively if you are run down.
Ask for help. While it may not always be easy, it’s important to remember, you are not in this alone. Lean on family and friends for support. Make a list of all your caregiving duties. Go over the list and ask for assistance with some of the items.
And if the recipient of your caregiving needs more help than you can provide look into additional services that can ease your burden. Depending on the level of care needed, you may hear terms like skilled home health care, non-medical home care, palliative care, or hospice.
Skilled home health care helps patients remain at home while they recover from an illness or injury. Skilled care is provided by a licensed home health agency and may include nursing, therapies, medical social work support, and aides.
Non-medical home care provides assistance with personal care services such as dressing, grooming, eating, and other activities of daily living.
Palliative care is a form of home health care for patients facing chronic or quality of life limiting illnesses and is focused on relieving symptoms, pain, and stress. Palliative care can be provided alongside curative treatments and during any stage of an illness.
Hospice is for patients with a limited life expectancy who are no longer receiving curative treatments. Care is focused on managing symptoms and controlling pain as well as supporting patients and their families through the end of life.
Some things to consider when choosing a care provider:
- What level of care is required?
- Is this type of care covered by Medicare or private insurance?
- Does the agency have a history of providing high quality care? You can find quality of care ratings for Medicare-certified home health agencies on Medicare’s Home Health Compare website.
- How long has the agency been in business?
- Does the agency provide multiple services? If needs change, can they provide different levels of care?
Being a caregiver isn’t easy, but with the levels of care available, there may be just the right amount of assistance out there for you and your loved one.
Not sure where to start? SSM Health at Home offers informational visits to go over care needs and eligibility for services and resources that can keep you or your loved one as safe and independent as possible at home. Call 1-800-924-2273 or contact us online.