If you laughed, chances are you are in this predicament, or know someone who is. Family caregiving often falls to the women of the family, and sometimes to those who already have an outsized role in family care.
Sometimes, the caregiver for a family member happens to be the member of a ‘sandwich’ generation, that means struggling to balance life as a wife, mother, and caregiver all at once. When asked to do so much, this can put a serious strain on all relationships. A child might feel unwanted when mom has to leave the soccer game to check on her own mother’s life alert, as an example.
While wearing too many hats will always be a struggle, there are things you can do to make life easier on yourself, and also those who depend on you.
Caregiving often comes on gradually. Your parents might not realize just how demanding they or their needs have become. They just know that they need help getting to the store, to their doctors’ appointments, getting their food cut up, and help with hygiene. They may not understand why you can’t drop everything each time they need help.
While it’s important to be there for your aging family member, you don’t need it to be at the expense of your own and your family’s health and wellbeing. You are also a parent. It’s fine to set boundaries. Be clear about when you are not available, and stick to those times.
As your parents need more and more care, there will come a time when they need or want more than you can provide. It’s not reasonable to ask you to set your entire life aside for their sake, and sometimes even your whole being is not enough.
When this happens, it’s best for everyone to recognize that they need an extra pair of hands, and to delegate that help to those who are able to offer that care. This could come in the form of your big brother, who is strong enough to lift them up a step, or in the form of a professional caregiver.
It's important to recognize when you need that help, and to make sure you get it so that you have enough time for everyone in your life.
Take time for yourself as well
One of the most common mistakes made by women who wear many hats, is to take off the hat of self-care and leave it in the closet. It’s easy to let yourself be consumed by being a wife, mother and caregiver, and think that ignoring your own personal needs will give more time to everyone else.
The simple truth is, no woman on earth can possibly provide ideal care to a large group of people. You need to get support, set boundaries, and ensure that you are getting enough support so you have a few minutes to yourself as well.
Being a member of a sandwich generation can have a lot of demands placed on you, but with the right tactics, you can balance it all.
For more information on how our professional caregivers help family caregivers through respite care and many more caregiving services throughout Loudoun County, contact Homewatch Caregivers of Loudoun today.