How to Juggle Elderly Parents and Younger Children

Juggling the demands of children and elderly parents is tough. Both generations need care and finding the right balance can lead to a lot of strain on the generation caught in between. If you are caught up trying to take care of elderly parents who can no longer cope as well, while raising a young family, this article is for you. 

Understand Your Priorities

With so many things on your plate, it’s important to assess what your main priorities are. Some things will inevitably be more important than others, and you may need to delegate a few tasks to other people you trust, such as a partner, your close friends, or siblings. No man or woman is an island and trying to do everything will lead to burnout eventually.

Identify what your key responsibilities are. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a useful place to start. Children and the elderly must have food, beverages, and a place where they can be safe and warm. These needs are a priority. Make sure your kids and parents are well taken care of, they have regular nutritious meals, the house is warm and clean, and their clothes are clean, etc.

Hire or ask for assistance if you can’t handle all this on your own. Things like meal delivery services for the elderly, a weekly cleaner, and a babysitter may make your life easier. If you can afford it, outsource any tasks you don’t have time for. Or learn to live with a bit of extra mess or meals that are not quite up to your usual high standards. The kids won’t care if they have meatloaf two nights in a row.

Set Boundaries

Always set boundaries so the demands made on you are not greater than you can handle. Elderly parents in particular may want and need you increasingly often as their health deteriorates. While it’s commendable that you feel like you have to take care of them, it’s also OK to say you can’t cope any longer. It’s also OK to suggest your parent moves into an assisted living facility where they will be safe and cared for, such as one that offers skilled nursing in Chesterfield, MO.

Communication is Important

If you want to continue taking care of your elderly parents, at least ask your partner to pick up the slack with the kids. Take advantage of nursery places, after-school clubs, and the kindness of friends and other family members. Don’t be shy in asking siblings to do their share. Even if they live a long way away, they can at least help pay for support staff, such as a cleaner or home aid. 

Create a Schedule

Have a schedule so you know what’s happening when, such as sports clubs, senior medical appointments, and personal self-care appointments. Write everything down so nothing is forgotten. And share this calendar with your loved ones. 

Being a member of the sandwich generation is hard work. There are a lot of people making demands on your time, which is why you must take care of yourself, too. If you get sick, who’ll look after you? Be sure to remember that!

This is a contributed post

Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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