How to manage raising kids and caring for elderly parents?
Are you a member of the Sandwich generation? Well, if you find yourself with the responsibility to care for the kids at home, or support them in any way, but also care for your elderly parents while probably dealing with your own workload, you most definitely are. This is a tough position to be in, and getting some help is never bad. Therefore, take a look at the following tips as they might help you manage these responsibilities as efficiently and stress-free as possible.
Safety comes first
Prevention is the best possible cure. So, the first thing that you should do is a thorough makeover of your parents’ home. It may sound strange, but your own home is the biggest reason for concern when it comes to injuries and unfortunate falls. In order to minimize the risk of this happening, you should rearrange and redesign the place your parents live in so that the possibility of tripping is as low as possible.
Rely on your kids more
Even if they’re young, you can trust your kids to understand that something is going on with their grandparents. It’s very important to convey the feeling of care to them so that they comprehend why you are so busy and probably tired. Moreover, if your kids are a bit older, don’t hesitate to talk to them about the responsibilities you’re facing. They can definitely be of help sometimes. Moreover, kids love their grandparents and this is a great way to have them spend more time together while avoiding getting burned out yourself.
Consider respite care options
Just like you would call for a babysitter to take care of the kids for a while, there’s nothing wrong with exploring the option of respite care. Essentially, the caregiver can replace you from time to time so that you have more time to commit to your kids or to yourself. What’s more, this will definitely help both you and the parents gradually get used to the idea of the potential care and help outside the family.
See your parents as who they are now
The biggest issue most people in the Sandwich generation have is the difficulty to accept the idea that their parents are not capable of as many things as they used to be. This can be especially troublesome when you have to watch your energetic kids at home. The key thing here is to disconnect from your parents’ old selves in order to connect with them better now. See them as who they are at this very moment and treat them with that kind of respect. They already have it hard remembering the younger days themselves.
Check avaible institutions
It may not come to this, but you never know what may happen. It’s best to check the available professional aged care services that may become a necessity for your parents in the future as well. Attend consultations and do research so that you have the information about this in advance. In case your parents will need to be transferred somewhere they will have constant care, it would be most efficient and least tiring to know who to call and where to go immediately.
Think about working from home
As you try to manage raising/supporting your kids and taking care of your parents, it can become extremely difficult to deal with your job responsibilities as well. If possible, see whether you can work from home instead of an office. If this is not possible, you may also want to explore the world of home-based jobs that would allow you to be there for your kids. What’s more, commuting to work won’t be necessary which will save you a lot of time.
Remember to care for yourselt, too
It may seem like you can’t take a moment of rest, but if you want to take good care of both your parents and your kids, you need to take good care of yourself first. What are they going to do if you ruin your health? Therefore, don’t ever feel guilty about having your own needs, and remember to tend to them properly.
Having both your parents and kids in your care is not an easy situation, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Don’t hesitate to talk to other people and socialize because this too can help you relieve some stress. In case you don’t have time to go out, the Internet is here to assist you. You may even find forums and blogs, and get in touch with people who know what you are going through and can provide you with more insight and guidance on the matter, as well.
Tracey Clayton is a working mom of three girls. She feels she knows a thing or two about raising happy, healthy and confident kids, and offers helpful advice in hers parenting articles. Her motto is: “Live the life you love, love the life you live.”