Caregivers: Sandwiched in the Middle

By Shelley Laurel

If you work in health care or in the senior care industry, you quickly learn to recognize the caregivers: stressed, worried, exhausted and primarily female. 
As caregivers juggle full-time careers, and shuttle their children to soccer practice, piano lessons, and volleyball games, they are also rushing Mom’s new prescription to her or running Dad to another physician appointment. They are caregivers, and their numbers are growing.

Estimates say 59 – 75% of caregivers are female. Caregivers are typically the daughters or daughter-in-laws of aging parents.  It is believed that 35 – 48% of them work outside the home, the majority full-time. As baby boomers continue to age, the population of caregivers sandwiched between their children and their parents will continue to climb.

November is National Caregiver Month. Some ideas to support the caregiver you know include:

  • Offer to provide “relief” known as respite care while they enjoy an afternoon or evening out.
  • Offer to run errands as you run your own. Picking up a few groceries or dropping off dry cleaning could mean a lot to a caregiver.
  • Help them overcome their guilt. Caregivers often feel like they short-change everyone. They might also be thinking it is time to investigate a senior living community for their parent, and feel guilty at the idea of forcing them to move.
  • Help them understand their options include more than just a nursing home.

“Families are sometimes unaware that there are options beyond nursing homes out there for the caregivers’ aging loved ones,” explains Todd Walrath, CEO of SeniorLiving.Net. “Just this week, we helped a daughter struggling with a family member she needed to leave home alone during the day. He was at-risk because he kept wandering away while she was at work. We helped the family find an adult day program near their home. That helps keep the father safe, and give the daughter the peace of mind she needs to be able to work. ”

SeniorLiving.Net is a free family referral service. Experienced Care Advisors help families find the senior care provider who best meets their needs. They help families find care at all levels ranging from private duty aides to assisted living and skilled rehab. To get free advice from an experienced Care Advisor, call SeniorLiving.Net at (866) 662-0435.