It’s that time of year when students are heading back to school, and for most busy parents, this means that a more hectic schedule is imminent.
Whether they’re shuttling kids to and from school or to various school activities, sports practices, and rehearsals, the demand on parents’ time is significant as they jump into a new school year. When a parent is also a caregiver to an aging parent or adult family member, these responsibilities can feel overwhelming at times.
If you’re a member of the Sandwich Generation – those caring for children and parents at the same time – here are some ideas for not feeling squeezed as much.
Delegate and simplify
Rather than taking on all home chores yourself, ask family members to help in whatever way they can. Figure out the ‘must-dos’ from the ‘nice to haves,’ and try to focus only on the things that must get done.
Post a checklist of tasks where the whole family can see it. Regular tasks can be listed on a chalkboard or whiteboard, for example, and new specific tasks for each week added on Sunday. Ideas abound for creating family chore charts – you’re sure to find one that works for your household.
One Sandwich Generation mom recommends making a serious purge of items around the home. It opens up space for clearer thinking, and there’s less to organize and clean.
Lean on friends who understand
Finding friends who understand what you’re going through can truly be a lifeline. One mom tells the story of how she connected with another mom on the playground – both found that they had been through the experience of caring for their mothers with dementia. She writes, “This is friendship and parenting in the Sandwich Generation. It’s a friendship that fully appreciates the weight of the things we carry: the backpacks, the music instruments, the laundry, the scheduling, the chauffeuring, the side-eye from our tweens, the strained family relationships, the grief, the loss, the love.”
Being willing to be open and honest, and able to confide in others can create connections within your circle of friends and acquaintances. Invest in friendships where you can be mutually supportive and able to help each other out when needed.
Many communities offer caregiver support groups. Being able to share feelings with others experiencing the same challenges can help manage stress and help you feel less alone. Look to local hospitals, churches, and nonprofit associations for possible connections to caregiver groups. You also may find local support groups through the Family Caregiver Support Program in your state. Contact your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) by calling the Elder Care Locator at 800-677-1116.
Take care of yourself
It’s hard to care for others when you are not caring for yourself. Avoid burnout by eating nutritious food, drinking water, exercising and getting plenty of rest. Listen to your body and mind. When you need a break, ask for help from family and friends. Humor is also a great stress reliever. Remember to lighten up a bit and find ways to stay positive. Watch funny movies or videos, talk with a friend who makes you laugh or play with a pet.
Consider respite care
Short-term respite care provides a way to make sure that Mom or Dad receives the care they need while giving you a break from daily responsibilities. Respite services can help you accommodate work-related travel or allow you to take a much-needed vacation. Kadan offers short-term care solutions that can be personalized to your needs.
Call us at (770) 396-8997 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about our services.