Sandwich Generation Caregiving Organizational Tips
An estimated 11 million caregivers in the United States are part of the sandwich generation, meaning that these family caregivers are not only caring for the aging adults in their lives, but they’re also raising their young children. If you are part of the sandwich generation, you may have high levels of emotional stress and financial and physical strain as you juggle your responsibilities. One way to help reduce the stress and strain is to stay organized so you can continue to care for everyone in your life, including yourself.
As a parent who’s providing unpaid care to an elderly adult, here are four tips to help manage challenges and keep your caregiving duties organized:
On average, people have 15 simultaneous goals and projects in the works on a regular basis, and that number might be higher for an aging adult with health conditions and the need for extra care. Aside from your loved one’s needs, your mind is likely busy with your own priorities and plans. Making to-do lists will lessen the burden of remembering it all.
Today, there are so many digital options for creating to-do lists including Apple Notes or Apple Reminders, Google Tasks, and Microsoft To Do. With digital to-do lists, your phone or device can alert you on specific dates, times, or when you reach certain locations (such as a loved one’s home or doctor’s office). Or, if you prefer handwriting your lists, designating a particular notebook or binder for your loved one’s needs is a great way to stay organized.
An organization system for caring for your loved one will likely include a digital or physical calendar, a digital or physical list of important contacts, and perhaps a color-coding system for either or both. For instance, you can note all medical appointments and medical contacts in the same color on both your calendar and contact list.
If you prefer a physical system, it’s a good idea to have all items, including your to-do lists, in a place that’s easy to access. Designate a specific place such as a home office, a computer folder, or a binder for all items related to managing your loved one’s care. Caring for an aging adult may mean you need to share important details, dates or other relevant information about your loved one’s needs with a doctor or another caregiver. Having everything in one place means minimal disruptions in transferring information.
Like any job, family caregiving is best performed in a well-organized work environment. That means that the aging loved one’s home should work efficiently for both your loved one and yourself. Spend some time decluttering, making accessibility updates, and considering the flow of where you and your loved one spend your days.
Most people wish to age in place, in their homes. Make home improvements as your loved one ages, so they can continue to thrive in their home. Home improvements also make your time as a caregiver most efficient.
Bathrooms tend to need the most safety updates, including adding grab bars and nonslip mats or stickers. Age-related improvements may also include things like making the stairs more accessible, adding braille around the home, rearranging furniture, and moving items lower on shelves.
For more practical renovation ideas, download our Aging-in-Place Guide.
As a family caregiver, asking for help is more than OK—often, it’s necessary. It’s worth seeing if family or friends can assist with caregiving, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Additionally, Right at Home respite care can be a wonderful resource for family caregivers in their quest to stay organized while caring for a loved one. Respite care helps family caregivers recharge. The service allows you to catch up with a friend, grab a coffee, spend the afternoon with your children, or even take a well-needed and well-earned nap. Whether you need a few hours a day or a few days a week, your loved one will be in good hands with a Right at Home professional caregiver, who will follow your loved one’s care plan to the letter while you unwind, allowing you to return to your loved one refreshed to resume your caregiving role. Use our location finder to get in touch with the location nearest you to find out more.