Do you find yourself rushing around during day? Trying to beat the traffic to work, driving kids to school, fumbling with lunches, back packs, and brief cases, when you get the call. Dad's in the emergency room, alone, scared, and stressed - "please come home, I need you," he pleads.
But "home" is 200 or more miles away, and it'll take you hours to get there plus the home health aide you'll have to hire, will set you back $400 at least.
And what about work? There's a major business deal you're about to close this afternoon. You're worried about your dad, the kids, the boss and how in the world you can pay for it all.
Welcome to the world of family caregiving! You're now a part of the sandwich generation with all the trimmings. And don't even think about how little you've saved for retirement at this point in your life. Yep, you need help.
The good news is, there's plenty of it out there - if you know where to look!! Now, that's another topic. But there is help. There are programs to national organizations, from books to Web sites - all there for you to research and a huge industry has sprung up to assist in juggling the demands of raising kids while also caring for aging parents.
I wish I had paid more attention when my dad or mom landed in E.R. I guess resources were a bit hard to locate or maybe I thought "the family" had to handle it alone. It was our job. Beside mom and dad expected that of us... we owe it to them. Maybe that's why I didn't bother. But had I known back then what I do today.. it would be different. And a couple of things I'd do now are:
1. Bring up "the aging" conversation with parents early on - get them engaged with you in finding viable and quality solutions that'll help them so you're not left carrying the bag.
2. Call a family meeting and get everyone else engaged. It's better down the road.. eliminates future stress, anxiety, and family estrangement. Trust me, it happened to mine and I'm not sure that can be healed.
3. Do your research now. Get a plan in place. Talk with an attorney about legal matters and estate planning. Take the time to find local resources while your parents are still able. Resources are popping up everywhere due to the explosion of aging America.
4. Financially plan with them - so your parents have one? If not, take measures on learning how to do that.
5. Do it now! Learn about the most common aging topics of interest which include; physical and mental conditions of aging, living arrangements, financial & legal assistance, self help for the caregiver, and dealing with changes.
WorkingCaregiver.com is headed in that direction. We'll keep you posted. Thank you for visiting! Carol