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What do you do when your Sandwich Generation issues seem about to explode? Recently, a friend asked me for some ideas to help since she was feeling extra stressed juggling the multigenerational issues of babysitting her sweet grandchildren and caring for her aging parents, one of whom has Alzheimers Disease and dementia symptoms. She is definitely deep in the trenches and I could feel her pain, as I've been there myself.
I touched base with some of my most resource-full friends and we came up with some suggestions for her that I hope and pray were a big help. Of course, I immediately thought of you! I knew I had to pass this great info on to you as well. And yes, there is good news and good resources for all of us boomers and seniors taking care of our elderly senior parents. It may not be pefect. But just knowing there are some options can be such an encouragement, don't you think?
Start with your church – many churches do have senior ministries in place, especially the bigger ones. Even if your own church doesn't offer that, they might be networking with another church that does. It's definitely worth asking for help. Even if they don't have a formal ministry, they may have some type of "helps" ministry with volunteers who could come and stay with your parents while you run errands, go for a doctor's appointment, or just take a nap.
Meals on Wheels. They provide meals – sometimes daily. In rural areas, they bring a week's worth once a week. It's can be provided free if you need it to be or you can chip in – we used them for a long distance relative and it was such a blessing. A neighbor used them as well and it was such a help to her and her caregiver, giving them both a break in both the cooking and budget.
The U.S. government has some excellent resources for us, including:
- The Administration on Aging. Among other things, they have a National Family Caregiver Support Program that varies from state to state. As their site explains, "The National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP), established in 2000, provides grants to States and Territories, based on their share of the population aged 70 and over, to fund a range of supports that assist family and informal caregivers to care for their loved ones at home for as long as possible. The NFCSP offers a range of services to support family caregivers including some respite care."
- Tax Breaks For Caregiving Expenses Help Sandwich Generation at Forbes.
Hospice – at such time as our aging parents' health gets to a point where they qualify for hospice, it can be wonderful at providing extra help including some caregiving help. They were a real blessing to us. A couple of useful links for them are:
- American Hospice Foundation
Denise Brown at Caregiving.com had several great links to share including:
- Benefits Checkup
- Eldercare Locator can help you find Senior Agencies in your area.
- Financial Resources Guide post at Caregiving.com
- Caregifters – Funding Caregiving Solutions, One Family at a Time – A program at Caregiving.com that provides special grants for caregivers
Seniors for Living is another resource-full site I value. Michelle Seitzer told me about the site, EasyLiving, with a free "Paying for Home Care" Fact sheet. Seniors For Living also has several excellent reports that are valuable for caregivers including:
- Caregiving Resource Guide
- Transition Resource Guide
- Alzheimers Resource Guide
SandwichINK at Facebook
Be sure to follow me at Facebook – my profile page as well as both of my Facebook Fan pages – SandwichINK and SandwichINK Real Estate Info. I frequently post excellent links, resources, and information there for Sandwich Generation caregivers and grandparents that I don't get a chance to use here.
#ElderCareChat is another excellent resource that is held at Twitter twice a month. Meetings are on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month at 1pm ET and the next chat is Wednesday, March 21st at 1pm ET. You can read the most recent meeting's recap by clicking on – #ElderCareChat Recap 3/7/12: Transportation and Mobility Challenges
ElderCareABC – Last but definitely not least, ElderCareABC is another favorite resource of mine – and one where I post monthly guest posts, including March's post – Wheelchair Safety Tips for Caregivers. And speaking of wheelchairs, if your aging parents need one and it's not covered by their insurance, be sure to check with your church to see if they offer loaners. Also, if they live in a retirement community or senior apartment, check with the management there as well. Sometimes they will have a wheelchair and other durable medical equipment "lending library" that can be a big help. Another great resource can be Goodwill. I've spotted wheelchairs for sale there on more than once occasion, along with other useful items for caregivers. Most recently, I saw several unopened packages of Depends for Seniors there at very affordable prices. It can pay to shop there regularly. Your grandkids might enjoy going with you as well. Mine sure love it! 🙂
Isn't that a great batch of links specific to helping all of us in the Sandwich Generation? And I'm not done. As you all know, I was a finalist in the recent SeniorHomes.com Best of the Web for the second time in two years. Not only that, I was also, once again, asked to be one of the judges of the finalists (for categories I was NOT in, of course ). I really enjoy doing that. One of the reasons is that I get to learn about great new resource-full sites and helps for all of us to share with you. So over the next few weeks, on Thursdays, I'll be introducing you to even more great sites and resources to help all of us in the Sandwich Generation, with a focus on baby boomer and senior citizen news and information when caring for our aging parents. Soooo…