These days, many individuals need to balance their life between two generations. You not only need to care for your aged parents, but also your kids. Hence, we are known as the sandwich generation. You might think that it is no big deal, but when you start to balance the situation, you will realize how difficult it is. It takes hard work and time to be a caregiver for both these generations.
At the same time, you cannot ignore any generation. It is your moral responsibility to be the support pillar for your kids and parents. Due to this very reason, it is essential to understand how you can fulfill this role with the utmost efficiency. You have to also keep in mind that both sides are emotional. Hence, opting for the trial and error approach is not a good idea. You need to know what exactly needs to be done.
Today, we will help you out with the same. If you’re a member of the sandwich generation, our guide below will help you understand how you can take care of your kids and your elderly parents at the same time.
1. Don’t Panic
Sure enough, it can be a stressful situation. However, panicking will make things worse. That is why it is essential to calm down. You have to deal with the various issues faced by both the generations and manage your relationship with them. Only when you’re calm, you can do so. If you panic a lot or get angry, you will end up damaging your relationship with your children and elderly parents.
You have to understand that your kids and your aged parents will compete for your attention. Hence, it is your responsibility to behave in such a way that their attention craving is satisfied. Instead of fighting your way out, you have to understand them. Sometimes, you have to take a step back and analyze the situation and then move ahead.
You have to spend time with your parents as well as your kids daily. It will ensure that none of them feel deprived. When you are facing concurrent problems, you have to prioritize them before taking any step. It will allow you to avoid any knee-jerk reaction. Once you prioritize the problem, you can provide a solution for both the generations which will satisfy both of them. In a nutshell, if you panic, you will make things worse and if you calm down and then act, it will be easy for you to turn things around for the better.
2. Include both the stakeholders
While you might think you are responsible towards both the generations, but the truth is, these generations love each other as well. Your parents love their grandsons and granddaughters as much as you. Similarly, the affection is equally strong on the side of your kids. Due to this very reason, you have to involve all the stakeholders in the Caregiving plan. It will ensure that things are cordial in the house and everyone is happy.
When you involve both the stakeholders, you can easily delegate your work to your children as well. Your children can accompany your parents in your absence. It will ensure that your parents do not feel lonely. It will help you carry on with your routine life as well. Just because you are a member of the sandwich generation does not mean that you cannot continue with your everyday life.
Similarly, your parents can supervise over your kids when you’re not around. It will allow you to get work done in the meantime. While these might be smaller things, but they can free up a lot of your time. These things will ensure that you can maintain a work-life balance.
It does not reduce your responsibilities. It is just a better way to manage things when you want to care for your kids and elderly parents.
3. Do not repent
When you are trying to balance these two generations, you will undoubtedly commit some mistakes. The problem is that if you choose to go on a guilt trip, you will end up making even more mistakes. You have to understand this and work towards correcting it. Once you do that, you can eliminate the feeling of guilt. Guilt will force inaction. Inaction will cause more problems. That is why you have to recognize your mistake, and you have to try and rectify it as soon as possible.
At the same point in time, if your kids or parents are pointing out the mistakes, you have to listen patiently. You have to understand the cause of the same and assure them that you will rectify it. Only once you do so, you can provide them with some relief. If you hold yourself responsible for every mistake and live in guilt, you will not be able to look after them. It is one of the main reasons why you should not repent. You should recognize your mistake and take remedial measures and move ahead.
4. Get help
Managing things, in the beginning, might be difficult. Old age brings its own set of problems with it. People often suffer from ailments like Cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. A stroke can also occur during the old age. Each of these ailments requires a different type of care. For example, in Parkinson’s disease, the patient experiences tremors and often suffers from loss of balance. Alzheimer’s affects the memory power of the person. Similarly, Dementia also affects the memory of the patient and their sense of judgment. All these ailments require specialized care. In spite of your best efforts, it is not possible for an average person to handle patients with these conditions. That is why it is better to opt for a professional consultation. You can contact professional Home Care Assistance Elderly consultants for in-home advice. These consultants will first gather information about your exact situation and then help you deal with it. You can even hire a private caregiver if you want.
Similarly, if you cannot manage your kids that well, there are counselors for the same. You can speak with school social workers as well. There is plenty of help available when you’re trying to care for both the generations. Instead of just thinking that you will eventually figure it out, it is better to get some professional help. It will allow you to iron out the situation right away. With the help of expert advice, you can easily take care of both the generations and make sure that they are happy. It will help you create a cordial atmosphere at home, which inculcates a positive feeling.
5. Make your home more accessible
While your kids might be well versed with technology but the same is not true for your aged parents. That is why; you have to think about making your home more accessible for your parents. You have to familiarize them with technology. You have to consider their risk of falling. When you modify your home according to these risks, it is easy for you to take proper care of them. Over the years, there can be a cognitive decline as well. Diseases like dementia or Parkinson’s can trigger a cognitive decline. You have to keep all these factors in mind and then create a proper ambiance at home so that everything is more accessible for them.
Similarly, if they have undergone a stroke or some other medical treatment, it is essential to look after their hygiene, dressing, medication, and nutrition. Seniors might need mobility assistance in that case as well. You have to consider their health condition, and then you have to take a call.
Some of the tips which you can follow to make your home more accessible for your parents are:
- Removing clutter from the rooms
- Doing away with the steps at the entry
- Installing electric stair lifts wherever possible
- Opting for elevators if you have a multi story home
- Widening the doors and the hallways
- Opting for anti-slip floor options
- Lighting upgrades for higher illumination
- Installing lever-style door knobs for proper grip
These are just some of the modifications which you can make to your home to make it more accessible to your parents. Similarly, instead of explaining them about every gadget, you have to teach them essential functions like speed dial.
In old age, dementia is a common disease. That is why, after teaching the basic operation of the gadget, it is advisable to keep a guidebook by its side so that your aged parents don’t need to remember every step. They will have a handbook when they want to use the gadget. It will allow them to use technology to make their lives easy.
The combination of physical modifications and easy access to technology will help you take care of your elderly parents quite easily.
6. Do not forget yourself
Many individuals think that since they have such a big responsibility, they will not be able to take out time for themselves. It is not true. You have to ensure that you have a day off. It is vital for you to remain relaxed and rejuvenated. Only when you are relaxed and rejuvenated, can you care for your parents and kids at the same time. You have to take time out for simple activities like going to the beach or just walking around the block. It will allow you to rejuvenate yourself physically and emotionally.
If you’re worried about your children and parents during that time, you can ask a friend to help you out. You can even hire a private caregiver for a short time. It will allow you to take your mind off things and handle the responsibility of your parents and kids in a better way. Some rejuvenation is always required irrespective of the duties which you have. That is why, amidst all of this, you should not forget yourself.
7. Have patience
When dealing with both generations, it is essential to have patience. Albeit, the reasons to have patience with both the generations are different. During the old age, your parents can suffer from Dementia or Alzheimer’s. In such a case, you have to be more accommodating with them. You have to give them more time to communicate with you. They will not be that efficient. Their cognitive ability will not be the same. That is why; you have to be extremely patient to understand their needs.
On the other hand, when dealing with your children, they might not listen to you the first time around. Instead of just giving up, you have to be persistent and have the patience to teach them various things like how to behave or how to maintain the house. When dealing with your kids and elderly parent, it is essential to have patience.
You can only care for them when you remain calm. If you’re finding it difficult to communicate with any of the generations in spite of your best efforts, you can research online for better ways to interact with them. These specialized communication methods facilitate effective communication. You can, however, dedicate the time and effort to research when you’re patient and persistent. Patience can be a virtue when caring for your kids and elderly parents.
8. Prepare yourself financially
One thing which most people ignore when taking care of their elderly parents and kids is that your expenses will increase. We’re not talking about the discretionary costs, but rather the essential ones. Instead of getting stressed over these expenses, it is advisable to plan for these extra expenses in advance. It will allow you to tide over the additional costs without any problem.
Many times, by consulting with your elderly parents, you can get vital insights on how you can better manage your expenses. You should not disregard their advice as being primitive. Once you take care of the financial pressure, it is easy to remain calm and avoid stress. You can look for jobs from home or cultivate new skills through online courses. Although, both of these might not be an immediate solution, but will eventually help you increase your income which can make it easy to deal with the extra expenses.
Many people fret over their financial situation. When you do that, you will develop a negative attitude towards caring for your kids and your parents. It will compound the problems. Instead of doing so, you have to tackle the problem head-on and try to increase your income so that you can take care of both the generations. If you care for your elderly parents and kids, it is imperative that you tackle this issue first.
9. Get the situation under control
Dealing with kids and elderly parents at the same time is not easy. There will be occasions when it seems like things are getting out of hand. Rather than just ignoring things, it is wise to take control in those circumstances. It will allow you to take care of both generations very well. If you ignore things, they can get out of hand. Due to this very reason, you have to develop an attitude to tackle the problems rather than ignoring them. Once you handle the issues at hand, things will get easier down the line.
10. Create a support network
If you think that you can battle it out alone, you are wrong. At one point in time or the other, you will need a support network to fall back on. The support network can include friends, family members, siblings or even professional caregivers. You might not require them to spend a lot of time with your parents or kids, but some occasional help can come in handy. You can easily delegate your duties to them on some days when you have an important meeting or when you have to travel. If finances permit, you can hire professional caregivers in such situations. However, you should not ignore creating a support network.
11. Increase your productivity
You might think that your productivity has nothing to do with taking care of your parents and kids. It is not true. Most of us waste a lot of time at work. That is why; we have to work for long hours. If you can cut down on the distractions and work in a focused manner, you can get work done within 6 to 7 hours. It means that you will not have to spend more time at work. The time, which you save can be devoted to your kids and your parents. You can also divert some of that time to develop extra skills which will increase your income. Both of these will help you take care of your parents and kids easily. That is why, instead of wasting your time at work, it is better to increase your productivity to care for your parents and kids in the same timeframe. Many individuals end up sacrificing their sleep because they are not productive enough. The lack of sleep can make you irritated and edgy. When you’re annoyed, it will reflect in your behavior with your parents and kids. Eventually, they will be the ones who will bear the brunt of your changed behavior. When you’re productive enough, there is no need to sacrifice your sleep, and you can spend more time with both the generations which will help you fulfill your duties without sacrificing your sleep for your time.
So, if you belong to the sandwich generation, this 11 step guide will help you take care of your elderly parents and kids at the same time. With this guide, you can be sure that your social life and work life does not get impacted. Instead of stressing over things, you can follow these 11 steps daily to lead a blissful life with your entire family.