If you are a family caregiver then you know just how hard it can be to manage the needs of another person. For members of The Sandwich Generation, however, this responsibility becomes every more complicated as you find yourself caring for the needs of multiple ages. Sandwich Generation caregivers are usually between the ages of forty and fifty-five, and find themselves caring both a minor and an Older American.
Children require supervised attention simply because they are children. Adults, however, require attention because of medical needs, memory loss, illness and physical or mental impairment. Many caregivers fill this unpaid role because they love their family members yet find themselves struggling to handle each age group’s needs while also juggling a career and a spouse.
We work with seniors and their families each day. As a firm, we know how tough it can be and want to share our five tips for handling a multi-age caregiver schedule.
1. Take time for yourself.
While this may be the last item to check off your list and the first thing you decide not to do each day, we want you to change your priorities. Caregiver burnout is a very real risk. It is important to take time for yourself and recharge your batteries so you can fully dive into whatever obstacles come your way. If you’re wondering how you will make the time, consider waking up ten to twenty minutes earlier in the morning to enjoy some peace and quiet.
2. Don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake.
Things happen. Don’t beat yourself up or blame yourself when life goes awry. Juggling multi-age caregiver duties can be hard, and sometimes things don’t go as planned. Rather than taking time to blame yourself, utilize that energy to fix the issue. People are far more forgiving than we are to ourselves – remember that! You will be able to better handle your obligations when you accept the fact that nobody is perfect. Chin up, you’re doing a great job!
3. Stay organized every day.
Organization is one of the most important aspects of juggling a multi-age caregiver schedule. Keep a calendar, whether digital or on paper, and stick to it! When you can look at your day fully planned out ahead of time, you will be better able to manage your stress. If you’re the type of person who loves lists, write a priority list of what’s important to get done throughout the day!
4. Ask for help before you need it.
We know it can be nearly impossible to handle all of these responsibilities all by yourself. Find a support group of friends, family and neighbors who can help you out when times get tough. Does soccer practice overlap with physical therapy this week? No worries. Ask someone in your support network to help you manage one of the two appointments.
5. Have open communication with all involved.
Communication is key. If you have children and an adult to care for, it is important to have open communication with each age group. If you cannot make it to the piano recital, explain to your children why. Do the same for your mom when you cannot attend every physical therapy appointment.
Need more ideas? Have a few of your own that you would like to share? Let us know! We would love to hear from you and are always ready to support you!