We made it! Part three of How the Sandwich Generation Does It All (by Not Doing All of It) ties everything together through communication. To recap, Part One shared how home care can help the Sandwich Generation (typically thirty to late forty year-olds caring for their children plus their aging loved ones). Part Two added empowerment as the second puzzle piece. Now, we’ve arrived at the final component: communication. As within home care and empowerment, you’re going to ask for help.
Communication connects you, the caregiver, with your kids and your aging parents. It supports how you care for your aging loved one and your kids. It is also how you ensure home care and empowerment are successful. There are four key facets of communication: home care, your support systems, your aging parents and your kids.
Communicate regularly with your home care company. This begins when you call them to ask if they provide both Medicare and Private Services. This question ensures you can meet your loved one’s medical needs, plus their assistance and supervision needs, more seamlessly than from two different companies.
Next, establish what your ideal communication system is. Think who, how, and how often. Reciprocate by communicating when you have a concern of any size.
Your Support Systems
Empower your support systems through regular, open communication. Ask your spouse and children to take on more chores, and work together to negotiate where your family will, and won’t, invest their time. Accept help from extended family members who want to help, whether it’s a regular weekly visit, and/or help when you are temporarily away. You aren’t the only one who loves your aging parent!
Your close friends want to help when they can, too. Remember to ask them for help with your kids. Equally important is the occasional “friends’ night out”, minus kids and aging parents.
Get input on how they want their schedule to go. A major part of caring for someone involves organization, planning in advance, and schedules – all very practical things. Carve out time to reminisce with them, and to do activities that they enjoy, modifying as needed.
When kids are younger, you may be communicating to them, instead of with them. This structure and information helps your young children know what to expect. It also helps them to grasp their routines, which bring comfort and security. As your kids mature, it’s important to expand your communication with them, asking how they feel about what is happening.
When you’re caring for kids and aging parents, inevitably you’re going to miss activities. Possibly this means skipping an occasional game, but it can also means giving up regular music lessons or a fall sport season. The tricky part is, asking your child how they feel about this, doesn’t mean that if they are unhappy, you can go back to the way things were. Hopefully, though, it can help you learn to openly communicate with each other, as well as to avoid or minimize resentment, and to grow coping skills and the ability to compromise. Communicate major changes with important people in your childrens’ lives, too. Inform their teachers, coaches, spiritual mentors, and instructors, who can all use this information to help them achieve success. They may also be able to accommodate schedule changes when they understand why they are happening.
- Communicate! It will improve every facet of your Sandwich Generation life.
- Assess how you communicate in these four areas: home care, support systems, aging parents, and kids
- Boost your communication as needed, and ask for help as much as possible
- Remember that you are helping your kids and your aging parent live their best life, and that you are doing a great job.
- Home Care – set expectations and share concerns
- Support Systems – ask for help from your village, and take a little bit of “you time”
- Aging Parents – balance responsibilities with meaningful activities
- Kids – how do they feel? Communicate and compromise!
It is never too soon to begin your home care journey. Try an affordable weekly wellness visit to get used to how home care feels. Call Cooperative Home Care directly to schedule your free assessment!