Sandwich Generation

Can Your Parents Spring Clean On Their Own?

Can Your Parents Spring Clean On Their Own?

Spring cleaning is a common tradition because we are ready to shake off the dust - quite literally - and start a fresh new season.

At this time of year, it’s a good idea to take a fresh look at your parents living situation. Your aging parents will want their home cleaned for the spring too, but they may not be physically able to do everything they used to do. A common first sign that your parents are struggling to live on their own is a decrease in their ability to care for their living space and themselves.

How to Bring the Christmas Spirit to Your Elderly Loved Ones

How to Bring the Christmas Spirit to Your Elderly Loved Ones

The Christmas season has long since been a tradition of surrounding yourself with those you care about most. Even during the coldest season of the year, being able to visit your loved ones brings warmth and comfort to family members. But as people age and their lives progress, it can be increasingly difficult to be able to bring family together to share those special moments. 

If your elderly loved one has trouble travelling for the holidays, there are still a number of ways that you can include them in your holiday plans to help ensure they feel connected and cared for during the cold winter.

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. 

7 Things to Consider before Sharing Your Own Home with Your Aging Parent

7 Things to Consider before Sharing Your Own Home with Your Aging Parent

Sharing your home with your aging parents can lead to very positive experiences. Such a merger can save a significant amount of money, while also providing your aging parent the comfort that you feel they are entitled to. But, as with all things, there are certain considerations that you should be aware of before move-in day. These key factors will be highlighted in this post.

Seniors' Month - The Reality of our Aging Population

June is Seniors' Month, an opportunity to honour the seniors who have contributed so much. We are featuring 4 topical trends of senior care this month.

1st week (this week): The reality of our aging population

2nd week: How technology is affecting seniors’ care

3rd week: The role of the caregiver

4th week: The emergence of family-focused care

The Reality of Our Aging Population

With a rapidly growing senior population, it is time for us all to take part in the burgeoning senior care industry in a meaningful way.

Some staggering statistics regarding seniors care and the aging population:

  1. In 1990, there were 11 possible caregivers for every elderly family member; in 2050 there will be 4 possible caregivers for every elderly family member;
  2. It is predicted that the need for elder care will grow by an annual compounded rate of seven percent
  3. Every day there are about 10,000 individuals in North America who turns 65 years old;
  4. Research has shown that Alzheimer's and dementia tops the list of health concerns that require caregiving;
  5. Older adults overwhelmingly express a desire to age in place--83% of seniors have asserted that they want to live in their own home or their families home.

The Need for Respite for Family Caregivers

Becoming a caregiver for an aging loved one can deal a serious blow to a family caregiver's career and personal life. Since the vast majority of spousal caregivers are either in or nearing retirement when their partners start to require care, it is the careers of adult children that are hardest hit by caregiving responsibilities.

Forty-three percent of sons and 42% of daughters agree or strongly agree that their professional career has suffered as a result of their caregiving while 15% of husbands and 25% of wives say the same.

One-quarter of daughters had to quit their job to attend to a parent in need, compared to 17% of sons. An additional 29% of daughters and 32% of sons had to reduce their working hours to help care for their parents.

There are several types of respite services:

  • Informal family support and relief
  • Online caregiver communities and video workshops
  • Volunteer or paid companionship
  • Personal care or skilled health assistance
  • Adult day programs
  • Residential respite seniors care
  • Caregiver support groups

As our population ages, and the family caregivers are sandwiched between generations, communications and technology will be key to managing expectations for the care of the elderly.

  • Talking openly and regularly. Keep everyone up to date on your loved one’s seniors care needs and condition. Family members who don’t share the day-to-day caretaking experience may not fully appreciate the situation.
  • Encouraging family members to evaluate what they can reasonably and honestly do. Changing roles and varying resource levels can impact family involvement. Welcome different viewpoints, accept limitations, and be willing to try alternate strategies. Share your list of needs and take advantage of all offers to help.
  • Recognizing your own feelings and discussing disproportionate tasks. Harboring resentment, when you need more help, can lead to your burnout and impaired health. Ask directly for concrete support and specific time commitments. Consider establishing an online calendar to organize relief and reconfirm schedules.
  • Using technology to bridge distances. Try free video conferencing services to hold family meetings at times that work for everyone. Create a web-based community to share updates and explore options for seniors care.
  • Exploring a family respite cooperative. Consider trading respite services with other caregivers and their families. Pooling resources with others in the same situation can encourage greater involvement, reduce costs, and increase flexibility.
  • Participating in support groups. Learning how other families cope can suggest new options and provide reassurance. When siblings are unable or unwilling to share the load, peer support can be invaluable when it comes to seniors care.

Celebrate senior's month by better education and open communication! It will result in better outcomes for seniors care.

Respite Care Packages

If you or a loved one requires respite care in the Greater Toronto or Calgary areas, book a free senior care assessment with Mavencare and get first 3hrs free when you book 10 or more hours.

or call at 1-800-856-2836

Here is a link to a great resource for respite care:

http://www.stchrishouse.org/older-adults/respite-care/home-support-links-res.php

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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