Our global population is rapidly aging, and many Millennials are grappling with the reality that they will soon be caring for their baby-boomer parents as well as raising their children and sustaining the obligations of a full-time job.
According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, there were over 700 million individuals aged 65 and older worldwide in 2019. This number is expected to swell and double to 1.5 billion elderly individuals on the globe in need of care by 2050.
This phenomenon is known by the World Health Organization as population aging. While humans have a longer life expectancy than they once did, the elderly are beginning to outnumber any other age group, with more individuals aged 60 and older on the planet than children under 5.
This is beginning to create a crisis in care; while adult children want to honor their aging parents, many have decided to have families of their own later in life and are struggling in a tornado of child care, elder care, and responsibilities in work and personal life.
If you are stuck in a balancing act of managing life’s stresses and maintaining proper care of an aging parent, let’s discuss a few ideas to manage work and kids while caring for elderly loved ones.
Implement A Routine To Create Stability
Structure is very important for your elderly loved one, and creating a routine for your elderly parent can help you maintain a work-life balance as well.
If your loved one is in an assisted living facility or nursing home, they likely already have structure in their day provided by a caregiver. If you are caring for your loved one at home, maintaining a routine can be crucial for memory. Much like kids need structure in their day to manage remote learning, your parents need structure as well; It will strengthen their memory and make them less likely to get confused and disrupt your work-from-home or childcare routine.
Create structure by making sure your parents know when to expect meals, medication, and when to engage in certain activities such as watching TV or reading. This will improve their cognitive abilities while allowing everyone to effectively utilize their time.
Minimize Stress And Set Elders Up For Success
In the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic, your loved one is likely stressed, whether they are at home with you or in a professional care facility. They are likely watching an endless stream of bad news on TV and concerned about the future, the potential of getting sick, and their family’s well-being.
If they are confused about what’s going on, set them up for success by communicating with them clearly about current events to ease their stress. If you can, encourage them to watch a fictional TV show, pop in an old movie, or read a lighthearted mystery instead of watching news 24/7. This will lower their (and your!) stress levels and ease everyone’s burden.
Closely Monitor Caregivers To Ensure Safety + Comfort
Do life’s many stresses seem to take up all of your time, and you haven’t had the chance to check in with your elderly parents in person recently? While it can be difficult to manage the balancing act, always be sure you are properly vetting your elderly parents’ caregivers, whether part-time or full-time, in-home, or in a care facility.
While no one likes to imagine harm befalling their elderly parents, neglect in nursing homes is a present problem worldwide that can cause painful emotional or physical injury to your loved one. The World Health Organization reported that 2 in 3 nursing home staffers worldwide admitted to elder abuse while on the job.
Nevertheless, nursing homes remain the best choice for many families and there are plenty of highly-rated homes in the US that take elder care seriously. Don’t drop the ball in your balancing act by failing to vet your parents’ caregivers; if you notice emotional or physical injury in your elderly parent, it may be time to contact a personal injury lawyer.
Communicate Openly With Your Colleagues At Work
While most working moms and dads openly communicate with their employer about challenges with their kids, many feel uncomfortable communicating the difficulties involved in caring for an aging parent. If you’re open with your colleagues about your challenges, It will help you create a better work-life balance.
While it may feel uncomfortable at first, you will likely find that many at work can empathize with you and are more than willing to cut you some slack. This honestly helps you to thrive at work while allowing the margin time needed to care for and honor your elderly parent.
Being there for a beloved parent in their final years is both joyful and painful. You have chosen to honor your elderly parent by giving them the best care possible, whether in a professional facility or your home. The best action you can take to balance life’s stress while caring for a parent is to take care of your mental health while enjoying those final moments with your loved one.