Ava has flute lessons at 4:00. Dad has a doctor’s appointment at 5:00. And you have no clue what you’re going to whip up for dinner. As a member of the sandwich generation-those who care for both their children as well as their aging parents-you’re in a unique situation. You’ll feel stress in your mind, your body, and even your pocketbook. This guide will help you assemble an eldercare solutions team that can make you feel a little less sandwiched.
Non-medical in-home care
In-home care providers are a favorite solution for many children caring for aging parents. These companies offer a wide variety of services designed to enhance to help your parent in the tasks of everyday living. Professional in-home care can provide assistance with bathing or toileting. They can also perform light housekeeping, such as changing linens or unloading groceries. What’s more, these companies offer companion eldercare solutions services. That means Dad has someone to play checkers with while you’re at a day-long conference.
Adult day care and other senior activities
From day trips to the local tourist trap to water aerobics, you can find a number of local services to keep Mom or Dad active. Church groups and social service agencies are two good sources for activity-related eldercare solutions. Your local agency on aging can also provide a list of resources for you to contact.
Family and Friends
Many of us have a circle of family and friends-and when it comes to caring for aging parents, it’s important to tap into that resource. Have a family meeting to decide how each person can help. Maybe your retired Aunt can become Mom’s taxi service. Perhaps your spouse can take over cooking one night a week. Teens can take on responsibility, too, by picking up prescriptions or taking over one of your typical household chores.
Even if your family consists simply of you and your aging parent, you can still find solutions to make your life less stressful. For instance, ask a neighbor to watch a movie with Dad while you slip away for dinner. If help with household stuff will help make caring for aging parents easier, ask a church youth group if they’d be willing to trim the fire bushes. Have a neighbor with a ladder? Exchange a home-cooked meal for clean gutters.
Caring for aging parents comes with a price tag, especially if you’re part of the sandwich generation. Experts estimate it costs more than $16,000 a year to pay for child care and elder care. That’s why it’s important to enlist the help of professionals who can help guide you through the numbers. Consult a financial advisor who has experience in eldercare solutions.
Remember to ask your parents about getting legal advice regarding living wills and medical powers of attorney. Putting these documents into place now, when your parent is still relatively health, can save the family future heartache and conflict when a serious illness strikes.
Don’t let the stress of raising children and caring for aging parents take its toll on your life. By planning and finding the right kind of help, you can find an eldercare solution you and your aging parent can live with.