Every day can be challenging when someone you love is coping with a serious illness. For members of the Sandwich Generation - adults who are caring for their parents while still having young children to take care of and a career to balance- it’s a reality they juggle daily. The majority (55%) of people with elder and child care responsibilities are between 28 and 42 years old with parents in their 50s and 60s.
Almost one-quarter of Americans have cared for an aging parent in their home, or financially provided for a parent. This number will only increase as there will be more than 70 million Americans aged 65+ by 2030.
7 million adults are caring for an aging parent from a long distance.
Summer months: Those with young children have trouble finding a reliable sitter, struggle with paying for additional daycare, or worry about children left home alone.
Decline in personal health:
A decline in the caregiver’s health is often the result of caring for an aging parent while balancing children and work. Caregivers often report having one or more chronic conditions like high blood pressure.
Moving a parent:
Often there comes a time an adult child has to ask his/her parent to move into a nursing home, assisted living facility, or move in with them.
Many caregivers have to make personal sacrifices, including giving up hobbies, going to church, or socializing, because they are too tired or don’t have time.
As you think about how you want your own care decisions to be followed, it’s a natural time to discuss this with parents and spouses/partners. Start thinking about how you’ll care for your parents as they age. Do you know who they want to make decisions for them or what kind of care they want and don’t want?
Take time now to research options, then talk about these care wishes with family, friends, and physicians and, most importantly, document them to make the process easier and less stressful when a health crisis occurs.
As a caregiver, remember to place your health first. You cannot take care of others if you are not well. Changes in appetite, irregular sleeping patterns, or withdrawal from friends and family are signs of caregiver burnout. Learn to cope with stress by journaling your experiences, becoming more physically active, and developing your own relaxation techniques. Support groups can offer an outlet to vent frustrations and find alternative ways to deal with stress. Maintain open communication with your aging loved one and your family. You may consider holding regularly scheduled family meetings to keep everyone informed on your loved one’s condition and discuss ways in which others can help.
Resources and support available include Pikes Peak Palliative Services which provides pain and symptom management for those living with a serious illness. We understand the uncertainty, but also the hope, that accompanies being a member of the Sandwich Generation.
ABOUT PIKES PEAK HOSPICE & PALLIATIVE CARE
Pikes Peak Hospice & Palliative Care is the largest and only not-for-profit hospice and palliative care provider in El Paso County. It provides outpatient hospice services in patients’ homes and extended care facilities throughout the county and also delivers care at the 16-bed Pikes Peak Hospice Unit at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs. Services also include a robust palliative care and consultation program and comprehensive grief support for adults and children. The organization also participates at the highest level in “We Honor Veterans,” a national program jointly developed by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
We’re available 24/7 with specialists who are here to help. Call 719-633-3400.
Pikes Peak Hospice & Palliative Care
2550 Tenderfoot Hill Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80906
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gloria A. Brooks, MPA, FACHE, is President of Pikes Peak Hospice & Palliative Care and the President and CEO of Pikes Peak Hospice since June 2017. Brooks is only the third leader in the history of Pikes Peak Hospice & Palliative Care. A Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, she holds a Master of Public Administration with a minor in Nonprofit Management from Oakland University, Rochester, MI, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Evansville, Evansville, IN, with a major in Art Therapy.