Do you find yourself trying to split your time between caring for the needs of your children and those of your ageing loved ones or parents? You’re not alone. Caring for ageing loved ones and a family of one’s own is difficult at the best of times and our modern world is making this harder. There is a large group of women (and men) just like you – The Sandwich Generation – who feel exhausted by the pressures of this balancing act and struggle to know when to ask for help. Asking for help doesn’t mean you are not going to be there for them. It just means, you need some assistance and that is okay.
Here are 4 common signs you may need some help caring for your ageing parents or loved ones. If one or more of these apply to your life right now, you may need additional support:
1. You’re feeling overwhelmed and emotional all the time
Listen to your body and your inner monologue. If you’re finding it difficult to cope on a daily or weekly basis or just can’t seem to relax and enjoy family activities as a result of the pressures you feel as a caregiver, this should be a red flag for you. When we’re overloaded and stressed, emotions run high so if you’re finding yourself sobbing quietly in the shower or with shoulders so tense you can barely move them, take a moment to acknowledge it and realise that you can’t – and don’t have to – do this on your own.
2. You’re finding it difficult to be productive and present at work
When things in your personal life start to overwhelm you, it can really affect your ability to function at work leading to a vicious cycle of guilt and self-doubt that can be really tough to break. Research indicates that currently 85% of all working women aged 45+ are caring for elderly relatives in some way, (for men that figure is 70%) with some having to make the choice to leave the workforce in order to manage the demands of their caregiving responsibilities. If you’re feeling distracted at work, are having to take time off to care for ageing loved ones or are constantly unable to get the work done that you need to do, then you need to acknowledge that this is not sustainable and think about some help. Begin by contacting Five Good Friends
and let us help you work through the needs of the loved ones in your family and share this responsibility with you.
3. Your children are acting out
Often the first people in your household to register the impact of you being stretched too thin are your children. They are more receptive than you’d like them to be of your high stress levels and very aware when mum is prioritising other things over them. If your kids are playing up at school or fighting with each other or you (more often than normal) at home, this could be a sign that you need to ask for help. Though it feels like it’s your sole responsibility to care for your ageing loved one, it’s not yours alone. There are trusted organisations
that can help take some of the load that is putting strain on you and your family.
4. You’re worried that your loved ones aren’t getting the right care
Because how do you know, right? You’ve sent a repairman around to fix mum’s air conditioning but how do you know he can even be trusted in her home? You’ve arranged for Jason, your father-in-law’s neighbour to drop by twice a week to check in on him but is he really the right person to assess if something isn’t quite right? If you’re worrying about the safety or care that your loved ones or parents are getting then it’s time to ask for help. If friends or family can’t or are unwilling to share the load then it’s time to talk to professional home care partners who’s job it is to take that stress away and help older family members stay connected to and engaged with the communities, friends and homes they love for longer.
If you are struggling to cope and want a flexible, home care partner that will keep you involved, informed and in touch while sharing some of care needs of your loved ones as they get older then contact Five Good Friends. We’re Australia’s first Successful Ageing Platform that gives families a trusted, easy way to help with their ageing loved ones’ care in the homes and communities they love.