How to handle the stress of caring for elderly loved-ones


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Are you raising your own kids while also acting as a caregiver for an aging parent? If so, you’re what’s known as a “sandwich generation” caregiver, sandwiched between caregiving responsibilities for two different generations. And research suggests that no matter how you slice it, being a sandwich generation caregiver is tough.

For example, around 22% of sandwich generation caregivers surveyed reported spending an average of 22 hours a week caring for someone, often while also juggling work responsibilities, according to Burning the Candle at Both Ends: Sandwich Generation Caregiving in the U.S., a report issued by the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and Caring Across Generations. You don’t have to let sandwich caregiver responsibilities wear you completely down, though.

Below are five of the most common sandwich generation stressors and how to cope.

1. Feeling financial strain

About 1 in 5 sandwich caregivers report feeling financial strain, according to the NAC report. That’s not surprising, since many adult children must help their parents financially with home health care or the cost of assisted living or a nursing home, often while still paying for their kids’ tuition, clothing, school events and other expenses. Your income could also be reduced if you miss work due to caregiving duties.

As a primary caregiver for an aging parent who lives with you, you may be eligible for a dependent care credit when you file federal income taxes. If you don’t already have a written or online budget in place, create one to better track spending and anticipate caregiving expenses.

Find out: 6 ways being a caregiver to an aging parent can take a financial toll 

2. Neglecting retirement savings

Many sandwich generation caregivers are in the sweet spot for retirement savings potential, earning a higher income than ever and enjoying career success. Often, however, sandwich caregivers must cut back on hours or even leave a job due to caregiving for an aging parent. Less income can seriously impact – or even put an end to – contributions to a 401(k) or similar retirement plan.

Even if your income is reduced, try to keep making regular contributions to your retirement plan. You’ll be glad you kept up the contributions and will appreciate the extra retirement income when it’s your time to retire.

Find out: 6 alternatives to quitting your job to take care of an aging parent

3. Juggling workplace pressures

Your boss may have been compassionate initially when you took off early due to an emergency health crisis with your mom or dad, but even the most understanding employers have their limits. After all, they hired you to help run their business, not to run your parents to the doctor in the morning and your kids to soccer practice in the afternoon.

To ease workplace pressures, present your employer with a solution, such as working remotely at least part of the time. Maybe you could get approval for more flexible hours – arriving earlier so you can leave earlier or taking a weekday off but working on Saturday, for example, so you can take care of caregiving duties while still getting the job done.

If caregiving responsibilities for a parent are especially demanding, you may also be eligible for unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks through the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Find out: Caring for an aging parent? Know these 8 family medical leave Act facts

4. Finding no escape from caregiving

Sandwich generation caregivers, ranging in age from mid-forties to early fifties, must chauffeur teenage or pre-teen children to school and sporting events while helping their kids navigate toward adulthood. Meanwhile, they’re watching their own aging parents decline and devoting countless hours to take care of them.

It’s easy to get run down from taking care of everybody else every day. That’s why it’s important to take respite time for yourself. Maybe your son could sit with Mom while you do an activity you enjoy or take a walk in nature. Contact local organizations that help seniors to ask about volunteers who can be with a parent who can’t be left alone so you can get away for a few hours occasionally.

5. Ignoring your own physical health

Roughly 20% of sandwich caregivers with kids still living at home reported that caregiving for both a parent and their children has “made their health worse,” according to the NAC report. Another 18% said that caregiving resulted in physical strain to their bodies.

It’s easy to ignore your own health when your chief concern is the health and wellbeing of people you love. However, you won’t be much good to anyone if you’re run down, irritable, in pain or ill. To take care of your own health, make sure you take time to stay on top of annual check-ups and exams, get regular physical exercise and maintain a healthy diet.


This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by is intended for informational purposes and as a reference tool to match consumers with companies that may be able to assist them.

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How to choose a senior living community for a loved one

How to choose a senior living community for a loved one

Each and every one of life’s milestones can seem daunting at first. Buying a home, starting a family, changing careers, or hanging up the hat and retiring can all be intimidating, yet immensely rewarding life events. Moving into a retirement community isn’t much different; it’s a change that comes with extra joy, good company, and plenty of accessible activities, as well as a more carefree lifestyle that makes way for happiness and fulfillment.

But how do you know which senior community is the best fit? If you’re considering helping a loved one find a new place to call home in a senior living community, but aren’t fully sure what criteria to pay attention to, we’re here to help you navigate this search and make an informed decision. After all, this move is all about finding support, comfort and peace of mind.

With this in mind, let’s look at some key aspects that you should take into consideration when choosing a senior living community.

First off, it’s important to understand that there are different types of senior living communities, each catering to specific needs based on the assistance and overall health requirements of their residents. To pick the right one for your loved one, you’ll want to make sure the community offers the proper level of care — or just the right amount of independence — so that your family member can thrive and live out a happy, healthy retirement.


Questions to ask yourself: Is your loved one able to care for him or herself?Would they like to be surrounded by friends their own age?Do they enjoy participating in social activities and having easy access to age-appropriate amenities?

If the answer is Yes across the board, independent living communities are the way to go. Think of them as housing arrangements designed exclusively for older adults, where they can spend time with like-minded individuals and engage in tons of activities tailored to their interests and activity levels. They’ll enjoy the privacy of their own home and have access to suitable amenities.

After a lifetime of caring for a home, children and grandchildren, independent living communities also provide a well-deserved break: things like housekeeping, meals, and transportation are taken care off, allowing your family member to focus exclusively on relaxing, socializing with others, and enjoying a carefree life.

And while the residents enjoy an independent lifestyle, there’s usually staff on-site to provide help and assistance, if needed.


Questions to ask yourself: Does your family member need help with daily tasks? Are they still somewhat active and have control over their mental faculties? Would they benefit from senior wellness services, like specific dietary needs or dedicated social activities?

Then you should be looking into assisted living communities, which provide a little more support for daily activities (including things like bathing, dressing, using the toilet or taking medicine), but that otherwise allow for an independent, fulfilling lifestyle. Assisted living doesn’t provide intensive hands-on care or skilled nursing care, but offers a full range of services for seniors who are no longer able to live alone.

They won’t have to worry about maintaining a home, will have plenty of opportunities to socialize with others and not feel lonely or isolated, and you can rest assured that there’s someone assisting them with their daily needs.


Questions to ask yourself: Does your family member suffer from Alzheimer’sor other forms of dementia? Do they need regular supervision and specialized help? Are you concerned about their safety and quality of life?

Dealing with dementia and memory loss is incredibly difficult, both for those living with it and their loved ones. Memory care communities are a safe, healthy living accommodation that provides a uniquely designed environment that focuses on improving quality of life, reducing confusion, and meeting dietary needs.

Here, your parent or spouse with declining mental faculties can have staff on-site 24-hours a day  — trained in dementia care — in a safe and secure environment. They’ll also be able to participate in group activities that won’t overwhelm them and get mental stimulation through specially-designed programs and brain games.


The best part about living in a community is having access to a bunch of amenities that wouldn’t otherwise be available when living at home. These perks can make all the difference for seniors, who are far more likely to be withdrawn and avoid long walking distances — which can severely limit the types of activities they can access.

Senior living communities offer lots of common areas for their residents to socialize (think game rooms, arts and crafts rooms, woodshops), facilities for them to exercise and stay healthy (swimming pools, spas, fitness centers) and lots of other perks like barbershops and beauty salons, libraries, green spaces, and even on-site chapels.

In warmer climates, like the West Coast, outdoor facilities take center stage, as fresh air activities can contribute significantly in keeping seniors healthier and happier longer. To give you an idea of what to look for, take a cue from Brookdale Senior Living, whose Los Angeles area communities offer a wide range of outdoor amenities including walking paths, courtyards and gardens, fishing ponds, and outdoor pools.

Make sure the community you’re considering has the best mix of amenities for your loved one, based on their individual preferences. It can make a world of a difference and give them lots of things to look forward to when waking up in the morning.


Regardless of the level of care they provide, the best senior living communities offer a good choice of activities for seniors to engage in and enjoy themselves — tailored to their interests and activity levels. Think game nights, exercise classes, field trips, support and discussion groups, and workshops, to name just a few. You’ll want to pay particular attention to this if you want your loved one to thrive and love their new home.

You’ll also want to ask about the types of entertainment the community offers or has offered in the past, to give you a good idea of how residents get to spend their time. Some communities invite stand-up comedy or drama groups to perform or have visiting choirs, others throw dancing soirees, pool parties, or hold art shows and movie screenings. 

The range of activities and entertainment options available will give you a great idea if a particular community is a good fit for your family member (and whether you can picture them being happy in that environment).


Not only is nutrition crucial in maintaining your loved one’s health and strength, but meals are an important part of their day and social routine. So you’ll want to make sure they have access to tasty, varied meals that are appetizing and will cater to their preferences and tastes. 

After all, access to ready-cooked meals and proper nutrition is one of the main draws of moving into a senior community, so that you don’t have to worry if your aging parents take care of their diet and have professionals pick up the slack instead.

Many facilities, like Brookdale’s Dallas-area communities, know how important this aspect is and list their daily menu online, giving you a great idea of the type of food they provide for their residents. Look for healthy, appetizing options and a variety of choices — that are bound to make your loved one look forward to each meal of the day.

Naturally, you’ll want to rest assured that your loved one is safe and that the people in charge of their care are trained, reliable and certified professionals. Make sure to ask about the community’s history, how long it’s been operating, whether or not it is licensed, and if it follows the rules and regulations set forth by the federal government.

Pick communities with tradition and a long history of catering to seniors in a professional, caring way. After all, you’re not just looking to provide your family member with good care, but you’re also giving yourself some much needed peace of mind that your aging parent or spouse is  being taken care of by the best professionals out there.

Disclaimer: This article was sponsored by Brookdale Senior Living. While this is a paid article, its contents reflect our honest opinion and our reporting on the topic has not been influenced.

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