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Caregiving Issues Facing
the Multi-Generational Family

By Helen Hunter, ACSW, CMSW

(Page 2 of 2)

Those who are in the “sandwich generation” often are faced with the daily demands of care needed by their parents or older relatives AND are responsible for the raising of their own children. In addition, they may have to deal with their own health and financial worries. Other responsibilities faced by this generation include the demands of a work schedule and their relationship with a spouse or significant other, in addition to their ongoing relationship with siblings and close friends.

Regardless of their age, there are many instances where the main caregiver in the family refuses to acknowledge that they can’t handle the load. They are too caught up in the daily grind that they don’t recognize the warning signals, which can include extreme fatigue, lack of rest, irritability, and frustration over lack of free time. Letting others know your feelings and that you need help is crucial to the caregiver’s mental and physical well-being.

It is also important to negotiate the exact roles of each family member in terms of providing care. Some may feel more comfortable with hands-on duties – others may want to only focus on household chores or helping with transportation or financial and legal issues.

There are many instances where the care receiver is very stubborn and resistant to any help, even from family members. In these cases you need to be FIRM in expressing the reality of the situation and that the person needs assistance. It is particularly important for those living in multi-generational households who often are providing 24 hours a day/7 days a week care to have an occasional respite break.

With family members living longer, many individuals are faced with the prospect of being a caregiver for a significant number of years. More and more families are opting to live in a mutli-generational household for a variety of reasons, including providing care for a loved one. It is important for the family to recognize that, in many cases, they will not be able to tend to all the needs of their relative, and that they will have to rely on others for occasional support. The support is available – just ask.

 


Helen Hunter, ACSW, CMSW, is an independent geriatric social worker consultant and trainer. She is also a writer and has had numerous articles published focusing on elder care and family care issues. Licensed in Connecticut, New York and Florida, she currently resides in Fort Myers.

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