You’re used to your regular routine. Wake up around 6:30 AM to your alarm clock to get ready for work. Wake the kids up 30 minutes later. Eat or skip breakfast – depending on how late you are. Finally, drop the kids off for school and grab some Starbucks before you arrive at your job. You’ve been doing this for so long that anything else would throw off your entire schedule. But one call would change everything.
Mom’s sick. The doctors are saying she won’t be able to function on her own anymore. She’ll need assistance – assistance that you don’t have the time for. Working full-time and raising a family are difficult enough. But it’s Mom. You can’t abandon her. Now what?
This is the struggle that thousands of people across America encounter. The sandwich generation deals with tough choices: Should Mom and Dad remain at home or be moved to a nursing home? Is private home care affordable? How can I trust that my parent is left with a reliable caregiver? How can I balance being a caregiver and a parent? What type of geriatric care would be needed for this condition? It’s questions like these that cause many to feel uneasy about whether or not they should take on the burden alone. We like to see ourselves as our own island, but in times like these, we all need someone else to lean on. Below are three tips for the unexpected.
Step 1: Talk to Your Loved One
Waiting until they fall, injure themselves or become diagnosed with a terminal illness is not the time to begin addressing your loved ones about their health. It’s a tough conversation and understandably so, but it’s best to be prepared if/when this occurs. Ask them about their medical plans. Discuss living alternatives if they are no longer able to live on their own. This gives you ample time to plan for the future.
Step 2: Seek Professional Intervention
Calling the field of healthcare broad is an understatement. With a plethora of options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and be unsure of which direction to turn to. Doing your own research plays a huge role in selecting the most suitable choice. Usually, our first option is to search online, but remember to consult the health professionals in your life. Contact them for advice on the what to look for in caregivers as well as trusted agencies that provide quality service.
Step 3: Take the Lead
It’s hard to take ownership over such a huge task. For most of us, our loved ones are our parents, guardians or elders that have spent most of their lives looking after us. Switching roles can be a difficult transition. But use discernment on the time that you feel is best to intervene. Pay close attention to signs of dependency and don’t take them lightly. The sooner you take the lead, the better you can support them.
Learning to balance our everyday lives and take care of our loved ones can be challenging, but it isn’t impossible. Learn more on how you can receive the support you need to prepare for the unexpected.