Family Caregiver

Age-Related Functional Decline and What it Means for Your Senior Loved Ones

Age-Related Functional Decline and What it Means for Your Senior Loved Ones

As your senior loved one ages, you might begin to worry about their physical and mental health. You may notice that they struggle with simple tasks, or that their memory isn’t as sharp as it once was.

What you’re worrying about is a loss of their ability to care for themselves or be independent. Typically, these worries are brought on by deterioration in mobility and in ability to perform activities of daily living such as dressing, using the washroom, or taking a bath.

In this post we’ll cover more about functional decline, common types to recognize, what this means for your senior loved ones, and how to slow down or delay functional decline.

Finding Joy in Caregiving

Finding Joy in Caregiving

Finding joy while caregiving does not have to be an elusive emotion only experienced after ignoring how you really feel. You are going to be stressed in this role, especially in the beginning, but there is a positive outlook to keep in mind. 

How to Talk to Your Employer When You Are a Family Caregiver

How to Talk to Your Employer When You Are a Family Caregiver

It’s very difficult, if not downright impossible, to fully manage the day in and day out demands of providing care at home and providing support at work – no matter what job you have. At some point, you may need to speak with your employer and ask for their understanding in finding creative ways to help you manage your dual work load. We recommend the following four steps to help guide you in asking for assistance.

Tips to Help Manage Stress in the Sandwich Generation

What is the Sandwich generation?

As a parent, managing responsibilities of your children, no matter what age, is a strenuous enough task on its own. However, a sizeable percentage of the population, are taking care of their elderly parents while raising kids. Perhaps they can no longer live on their own and need some sort of daily assistance. Maybe they’ve moved in. However the familial make-up, those people who are raising their own children and taking care of their parents are often overworked and stressed.

They’re known as the sandwich generation, a term first used by American social worker Dorothy Miller in the early 1980’s. Today, those in the sandwich generation occupy more than one quarter of Canadians aged 45-64, according to the National Post. And studies done by the Pew Research Center indicate that 1 in 8 middle-aged Americans are currently caring for at least one child and a parent under the same roof.

Women are far likelier than men to be the main care provider — by more than three times. It’s estimated that at some point in their lives, 50-66% of all adult women in the United States will provide care for an elderly parent or in-law.

While the sandwich generation is not a particularly new phenomenon, it is one that can be the source of major stress for those who find themselves “sandwiched” between children, their elderly parents, while trying to maintain a work-balance and keep family finances in check.

How Do I Survive it?

Okay, so you might be reading this and think, “Wow, that’s me!” Stop. Breathe. All hope is not lost. There are many resources available online to help manage stress in the sandwich generation.

Here are some great tips on stress management from the American Psychological Association for those feeling the burden of taking care of children and a senior family member simultaneously:

Identify stressors

What events or situations trigger stressful feelings? Are they related to your children, family health, financial decisions, work, relationships or something else?

Recognize how you deal with stress 

Are you using unhealthy behaviours to cope with the stress of supporting your children and parents, and is this specific to certain events or situations?

Put things in perspective 

Make time for what’s really important. Prioritize and delegate responsibilities. Identify ways your family and friends can lessen your load so that you can take a break. Delay or say no to less important tasks. Find healthy ways to manage stress — Consider healthy, stress-reducing activities — taking a short walk, exercising, or talking things out with friends or family. Keep in mind that unhealthy behaviors develop over time and can be difficult to change. Focus on changing only one behavior at a time.

Take care of yourself 

Eat right, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and engage in regular physical activity like walking or yoga or your weekly softball game. Keep in contact with your friends, family members. No matter how hectic life gets, you need to take care of yourself — which includes making time for yourself — so you have the mental and physical energy to care for your parents and children.

Ask for professional support 

Accepting help from supportive friends and family can improve your ability to persevere during stressful times. If you continue to be overwhelmed by stress or the unhealthy behaviors you use to cope, you may want to talk with a psychologist who can help you address the emotions behind your worries, better manage stress and change unhealthy behaviors.

What else can I do?

Of course, sometimes priorities shift quickly and life maneuvers you into a place where you are simply unable to address all aspects of family. You might find yourself unable, despite your willingness, to take care of your elderly loved one. We recognize this, and it’s why we built Mavencare — to help families by providing quality in-home care services.

If you’re finding the bind of being in the sandwich generation too great, perhaps your family might want to think about an in-home caregiver to assist your elderly parent. Visit us online and see how Mavencare can help.

Don’t let the sandwich get to you.

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