Have you heard that November is National Family Caregivers Month? Many people do not realize how critical family caregivers can be to the lives of our country’s elderly and disabled population. While some families choose to hire home nurses or health aides, or to seek alternative living arrangements like nursing home care, others make the choice to provide the majority of care within the family. There are several ways you can care for family caregivers no matter which category they fall into, or how caregiving impacts their day to day life.
Many family caregivers today are members of the so-called Sandwich Generation. As people marry and have children later, and also live longer, members of this generation may find themselves caring for minor children at home while also providing family caregiving for an elderly parent or another relative. For example, a mother in her 40s may have three children under the age of 10, and caregiving responsibilities for her own father in his 80s, as well as an aunt of a similar age who never had children of her own. That is five people depending on one woman who is mother, daughter, and niece. It can be enough to make anyone feel stressed, even if the caregiving she provides is limited to “just” a day or two of running errands and helping around the house for the two older adults. So, how can you help her?
If the family caregiver in this situation is your spouse, offering to take on more of the daily labor in your own household can provide immediate relief, allowing her a little more time to take care of herself when she is not focused on caring for others. If the caregiver is a friend, and has children of a similar age to your own, offering to do the school drop-off run so she has a chance to get a little extra sleep, or take them all to soccer practice and out to dinner after so she can have a quiet meal to herself for once, may be great opportunities to show you care.
Are you interested in more ways you can support a family caregiver in your life? Do you want to know more about setting up long term care plans for yourself or your loved one? Please get in touch with our office to schedule an appointment. We are here to help.