For Multigenerational Caregivers, Caregiving is a Constant
As Sandwich Generation multigenerational caregivers, caregiving is a vital constant, whether we are full time or part-time caregivers, or even if we are overseeing a beloved senior’s care at a distance.
While caring for a loved one is a noble and loving undertaking, it’s also hard work and it can be extremely stressful. If you’re caring for someone close to you, it’s important that you also take care of yourself. If you don’t, you risk burning yourself out—and then you won’t be able to help anyone.
Manage Stress and Help Prevent Caregivers Burnout
Here are five time-tested ways to manage your stress and help prevent caregiver burnout.
- Learn everything you can about your loved one’s condition. Once you understand the disease, its prognosis, and the treatments available, you’ll be better prepared to face the future and figure out the best ways you can help. It will also help you to remember that it’s the disease that’s causing the changes in your loved one.
- Allow your loved one to care for herself as much as she can. Not only will it make your job easier, but it will also help your loved one to maintain her dignity and allow her to keep her independence for as long as possible.
- Get help. Don’t be afraid to ask others to pitch in. They may be more than willing to help, but they may not know how. Be specific about what you need: “Mark, can you drive Grandma to her weekly physical therapy appointments and bring her home after?” or “Susan, would you be willing to pick up Grandma’s groceries when you do your own shopping each week?” Besides asking for help from friends and family, find out what kinds of services your community offers, such as Meals on Wheels or caregiver workshops.
- Take breaks. It’s imperative that you take frequent mental and physical breaks. Enlist a friend or neighbor to sit with your loved one for a few hours every so often. Alternatively, you might want to hire a health care worker to come in for a day or more. Some communities offer day care or longer-term respite care for seniors who don’t require intensive medical care.
- Seek out support. When you’re caught up in the day-to-day caregiving cycle, it’s easy to feel like you’re all alone and that no one understands what you’re going through. Finding a caregiver support group can be tremendously helpful; it’s comforting to know that you aren’t alone, and you may even learn some helpful strategies from others in the same situation.
Caring for the Caregivers is Vital
No matter how much you care about your loved one and want to help them, you MUST take care of yourself first. You’re not being selfish in doing this; you’re actually being very unselfish. It’s the same reason flight attendants instruct us to put on our own oxygen masks before assisting others. If you’re out of commission, you won’t be able to help your loved one anyway. Your job as caregiver is one of the most important jobs you’ll ever undertake; just remember that you have to take care of yourself, too.
Almost Wordless for Wednesdays and other days. A big thank you to Heather Heuman for the sweet gift of COGO caffeinated hot chocolate – it has as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. As I think I’ve mentioned, I am NOT a coffee fan but I do like caffeine and the extra energy it gives. Usually I make do with Pepsi, Cherry Coke, etc. But occasionally, I need a WHOLE LOT MORE. I used to enjoy Swiss Miss with extra caffeine til they discontinued it. But thanks to Heather, I now have a new go-to drink for those sleepless nights, days when I have to be on the go non-stop with grandkids, or when I HAVE to drive at night. Hmmm, I will also have to tuck a packet into my “GO-BAG” for the next time I have to take my senior mom to the hospital.
Thank you again to Heather for this sweet treat!
Cogo’s hot chocolate with extra caffeine will be a very handy tool in my caregivers toolbox, that’s for sure! How about you?
One of the things I love to do is add encouraging Bible verses to cute photos and put them in various spots where my senior mom, grandkids, and I can all see them. For years, I hung them in the bathroom and bedrooms and other rooms. Nowadays, because I’m in a rental, I am less likely to hang them on walls. but – as you probably know – I love to decorate my cell phone and computers with them.
This week, I had fun playing with some new-to-me iPhone apps:
- Some free wallpaper apps – I love to “buy” these when they are free BUT if you also like them (they are just lots of background photos to use as-is or edit for cell phone wallpaper) be cautious. As I paged through all the photos I did find some that I would not want my grandkids to see. So I put them on, use the one or two I like, and take them right back off again.
- Font and graphic apps – Phonto (puts cute labels on my photos), Instaquote (no photos, just quotes I type in with their intriguing backgrounds and fonts), and my personal favorite, Color Cap, which lets me add words directly to the photos, picking the font, size, and color. Like these two variations of Psalm 31:24 with pink vs. a maroonish font:
Of course, I can do the same thing online with iPiccy or PicMonkey – or with a graphics program like Photoshop Elements. But using the Color Cap app makes these so quick and easy I can literally have a new one made while standing in a long and boring line. And I love that when my grandkids pick up my cell phone, or my senior mom is browsing through her photos on her iPad, God’s Word is there to encourage them and set a positive example for them. For that matter, I can’t tell you what a spirit lifter it is for me, on a tough day, to see those words right there. (Talk about “caring for the caregiver”) And when I’m tucking them into bed, and so tired I don’t even have the energy to find a long book and read it, I can read the two verses in my iPhone to them quickly and easily. (They’re a great way to help grandkids memorize school Bible verses too! 🙂 ).
My grandsons love the ocean photos while my granddaughters are pinkies all the way, so we really liked the pink font best with these gorgeous flowers. Which did you prefer – the pink or the maroonish font? 🙂
But I trust in You, Lord,
I say, "You are my God."
My times are in Your hands.