Ask anyone in the sandwich generation if they’ve achieved a healthy life balance between caring for an older loved one, children at home, career, self-care, household tasks, etc., and you’re likely to receive a similar refrain: perhaps a sigh of longing, a huff of frustration, or a rolling of the eyes.
And if you happen to be a sandwich generation caregiver yourself, you may be struggling to find the time to even read this article in its entirety! Yet allow yourself just a few minutes to consider the following tips that may just help you to breathe easier and release some of the stress and pressure associated with so many responsibilities:
- Identify the top priority – and set everything else aside. In any given moment, you may find yourself pulled in multiple directions: your teenager needs help with a homework assignment, the dog needs to be walked, Mom is becoming restless. Determine which, if any, of these needs is truly a crisis or time-sensitive issue, and resolve to tackle only that task. Then think through a different approach to handling the other needs. (Perhaps Mom can help your child with homework – after the child walks the dog!)
- Enlist all family members in helping with care. Children can learn valuable life lessons through helping to provide age-appropriate levels of care for a grandparent – and all will benefit from their assistance. Simply setting up a board game for children to play with your elderly parent provides opportunities for bonding, and affords you a little downtime.
- Ask for – and accept – help. Once friends and other family members are aware of the level of stress a sandwich generation caregiver is facing, they often want to help, but are unsure how. If someone asks if they can help in any way, be prepared with a grateful, “Yes!” and several options of specific things you need: help with housework, preparing meals, mowing the lawn, spending time with your senior loved one, etc. And if no one offers to help, approach those who are closest to you and admit your need for assistance.
One of the best ways family caregivers can relieve stress is by engaging the services ofAmy’s Helping Hands, providing home care in the Windsor-Essex area. Our professional respite care services are available for a few hours each week up through and including 24/7 care, allowing older adults to remain safe and socially engaged while family caregivers have time to tend to other needs. Call us at 519.915.4370 to request a free in-home consultation to see how we can help you.