Being a family caregiver can be extremely stressful. In fact, studies have shown that adults caring for an aging adult are not only at higher risk of suffering from stress, but also of experiencing the potentially dangerous complications associated with stress. The potential for experiencing stress only increases if you are in the sandwich generation, which means you are caring for your aging parent as well as your own children. Trying to balance all of the needs of both generations can be overwhelming, and you may find yourself feeling stressed, tired, and even burned out. Taking the time to focus on reducing stress, and managing it safely and effectively if it does arise, protects your own health and well-being, while also helping to improve your care efforts it’s for both generations.
Use these tips to help you ease stress while handling the responsibilities of being in the sandwich generation:
- Be willing to ask for and accept help. It’s easy to feel as though you should take on all of the responsibilities of caring for your children and your aging parent on your own. This, however, can quickly lead to exhaustion and burnout. Instead, be willing to accept help that is offered to you from friends and family, and to ask for more help from your partner, siblings, and others. This eases your care burden, and provides you with more time so you can utilize this time and your energy more efficiently.
- Consider home care for your parent. Having a senior care provider with your parent reduces the care tasks you must handle on your own, and gives you peace of mind knowing your senior is in good hands while you are able to focus more on your children and yourself.
- Make self-care a priority in your daily life. You need to take care of yourself with as much dedication as you care for your children and your parent. Take time every day to ensure you are eating a healthy and balanced diet, connecting with your partner, indulging in things you enjoy, and also relaxing and giving yourself time to rest.
- Give yourself permission to focus on yourself. You don’t have to be paying attention to your parent or your children at all times. Taking time out to focus completely on yourself and your own needs is essential for letting your brain relax and heal, and refreshing and rejuvenating yourself to continue fulfilling these needs.
- Combine efforts and maximize time. Just because you are taking care of two different generations does not mean you have to divide all of your time and effort between them. Find care tasks you must do for both your aging parents and your children, and manage both at the same time as much as possible. Grocery shopping for both households at the same time, doubling recipes to prepare meals for your partner and children at the same time as your parent and their freezer, going on outings and enjoying activities to spend quality time together and more are great ways to encourage the generations to spend time together, foster closer relationships, and benefit each other as they both progress through life.
Everyone needs time to themselves occasionally. This can be particularly true for a family caregiver. As a caregiver, you devote time, energy, and resources to managing your parents needs on a daily basis. This can be stressful, and exhausting. Occasionally taking time off to focus on yourself, or to fulfill needs you feel as though you have overlooked in order to handle your parent’s needs, can release the stress and preserves health and quality of life throughout your caregiver experience. Respite care can help this happen. This form of senior care involves a care provider stepping in on an emergency or temporary basis to provide personalized care to your parent. Whether it is for just a few hours so you can take a break or attend activity with your child, or for several days so you can have a much deserved get away, this care provider will give your parent the care they need to keep them safe and healthy while you are gone. Knowing this type of support is available eases your caregiver stress, and also gives you something to look forward to, to maintain overall better mental and emotional health while you care for your parent.
If you are considering caregivers in Wilmette, IL for an aging loved one, please call the caring staff at A-Abiding Care today. Serving North and Northwest Chicago and the surrounding area for over 30 years. Call 847-698-1400.