Serving Others Better
Who Cares for the Caregiver? from Blue and You
Reprinted from the Autumn 2017 Blue & You (with their permission)
Adult children who care for their aging parents, or another family member, is becoming the norm rather than the exception.
Often called "the sandwich generation," these adults are middle-aged children caring for their elders and their own children.
Caregiving can range from a full-time job at home to supporting family members in care facilities. Regardless of the level of
responsibilities, caregivers experience similar challenges. Caregivers often have no formal training, so knowing where to find
services and how to pay for them can be confusing and stressful.
And although caregivers serve out of love and obligation, these new responsibilities compound the demands of everyday schedules.
It's no surprise, then that caregivers can experience exhaustion, burnout, isolation, illness, anxiety and depression. The good news is
that being aware of these challenges can help caregivers and their friends and family to work together to reduce the negative effects on the caregiver.
Caregivers express that they have no spare time to take care of themselves, but they recognize it's important.
The challenge is making the time. And here's where friends can help.
Being aware of what your friend is experiencing is very helpful. It helps manage your expectations of this season of your friendship.
Occasional phone calls, texts or visits can help caregivers from feeling isolated.
Sending a card on special dates such as birthdays or anniversaries can go a long way to making caregivers realize they are remembered.
Here are some other tips from caregivers:
- My friends know I love fresh cut flowers; a surprise bouquet can make my day. -Monica
- Make me move, even if it's stretching or arcing in place in the living room. We'll probably end up laughing, which means I exercised AND got some entertainment. - Brad
- The last thing I need is advice. Or a story about how your aunt/niece/sister is having the same experience. What I really need is for you to listen and say, "Hmmm" every now and then. - Laura
- I’m taking emotional body blows. I’m exhausted. Sit with my loved one while I take a nap. -Jerilyn
- Every day I ask myself, "Am I doing enough?" Tell me that I am. -Bob
- An errand that used to take 20 minutes now takes me two days of planning. Please be OK if I cancel. Or, ever better, offer to do the errand for me! -Veronica