Caring for elderly parents is something many people find themselves doing. For some, it doesn’t happen until their own children have grown up and left home. However, for others, it becomes a reality much sooner. Raising kids and trying to care for your aging parents at the same time is a struggle. But many people do it, and some even hold down a job at the same time. It’s by no means easy, but there are things you can do to make it more manageable. If you’re caring for two generations at once, it’s important that you consider how to keep yourself going without burning out.
Learn to Breathe
Caring for both children and elderly relatives can cause a lot of stress. You have several people with important needs who are depending on you to help. Sometimes it can feel like you have a hundred different emergencies at once. If you find yourself getting in a panic or about to explode, it’s important to know when to take a few deep breaths. If you’re able to stop for a second and collect your thoughts, you can calm down and work out what to do first. You might have several things you need to address soon, but they aren’t all as urgent as each other.
Get Some Help
No one can do everything on their own. If you’re struggling to manage everything, it’s essential to ask for help. There are always avenues you can explore to make things a little easier. Can you use Alzheimer’s services to help you look after a parent or grandparent? Are there after-school activities your children can do so you get a free hour in the afternoon? Even if you can’t afford to hire help, you might be able to get it for free. Look for local services that can help you, or accept the help of friends, family, and neighbors.
Take a Break
If you push yourself to keep going through everything, it can have serious consequences. Taking a break is essential, not just for you but for everyone in your family. If you care for an elderly relative, it can have an impact on your children and vice versa. It’s important to recognize how everyone in your family is affected and how you can all deal with it. Taking a break is one way everyone can deal with the stress. You can organize respite care or go on vacation. You should spend time with just the kids, as well as on your own. You can also engage your kids and elderly relatives in some fun activities or to create something memorable such as digital autobiography, in which you can ask them to include their photos and videos. There are many preselected autobiography templates available to create beautiful life stories.
When you have a lot to do, it’s important to stay on top of it all. If you organize yourself, you’ll be less likely to get overwhelmed. While not everything is predictable, you can still get your family on a schedule. Schedules are good for children, as well as dementia patients, so they can benefit everyone. Know who is doing what and when so that you have a good idea of what your next move is.
Caring for two different generations is nothing short of a challenge. If it’s a reality for you, you need to find ways to cope.