Sandwich Generation Survival Guide and Important Steps You Can Take
- Look out for number one, You! It’s important to put yourself first. You may think it sounds selfish, but you can’t care for others if you’re not taking care of yourself. Schedule time for exercise and social time with friends. Make sure you eat right, get enough sleep and hydrate properly. Making yourself a priority will give you the strength and energy to handle your responsibilities better.
- Get help from others – Don’t take everything upon yourself. That can be a recipe for disaster. Protect yourself physically and emotionally when you are the primary caregiver by seeking help from siblings and family members. Make a specific list of all the things you need help with, so they will know exactly how they can help.
- Explore alternatives to parents moving in with you. You should not feel guilty if the burden of housing a parent or parents is more than you’re able to handle. Home care, adult day programs and in-home respite care place caregiving in the hands of professionals, affording you more time, energy and peace of mind.
- Speak to your employer about you challenging circumstances. They can only support you if they know what you’re dealing with. Talk to your employer about your caregiving responsibilities and request flexibility in your schedule for such requirements as trips to the doctor’s office. Employee assistance programs are often available and counselors can help you to maximize available benefits, including family medical leave.
Additional Guidance for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers
- Asking the doctor any questions you have about the disease and care.
- Contacting organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association for more information about treatment options and caregiver resources.
- Finding a support group where you can unburden yourself and share your feelings and concerns. The Alzheimer’s Association and other organizations sponsor support groups.
- Assessing your day to see if you can develop a routine that makes your life easier. In addition to the adult day and respite care services, memory care assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities are available when care at home is no longer viable. These services allow you more “me time” while knowing the person with Alzheimer’s is being well cared for.
- Addressing pertinent financial and legal issues. This includes getting family financial and legal documents in order, investigating long-term care options, and determining what services are covered by health insurance and Medicare.
- Above all, make sure to take care of number one. You’re worth it!