Three Valuable Senior Care Tips for Millennial Caregivers

Millennials across the country are feeling the pressure to provide care and support for an aging loved one, whether it be parents or grandparents. Millennials include anyone born between the years of 1981 and 1996. Millennials are often the subject of a variety of negative stereotypes, including assumptions that they are lazy, ill-prepared, and lack ambition. However, millennials around the globe are buying homes, having children, holding steady jobs, and becoming caregivers.

Currently, millennials make up almost a third of caregivers in Canada. Many of them working more than 20 extra hours a week as family caregivers for elderly parents and grandparents. This can be an overwhelming burden as the stress of balancing work, friends, and family can become too much to handle. A lot of millennials are acutely aware that they will likely end providing some level of care for their parents, if they are not already doing so, and are wondering what that situation might look like.

Three Helpful Suggestions for Millennial Senior Caregivers

There is a wide variety of practices and techniques that help family caregivers provide effective care and support. Three useful tips that can help improve the home care situation are:

  • Good planning
  • Time management
  • Practicing self-care

Planning and Preparation

One of the best things you can do before your parents need home care assistance is to sit down with them while they are still healthy and cognizant. Discussions about thoughts, concerns, and ambitions for the future can be extremely helpful to get you and your parents on the same page.

Some potential conversation starters could be:

  • What were some experiences and challenges you had as your parents aged?
  • Did you provide any care or support for aging family members?
  • What was the hardest part of witnessing your parents age?
  • What do you hope to achieve and experience in the next 5 years? 10 years?
  •  If you experience health problems, illness, or injury, what kind of care do you hope and expect to receive?

It is very likely that your parents had challenges working with your grandparents at some point. It could have been a battle to get them to give up their license when driving became dangerous, refusing to accept a medical diagnosis, or not accepting care when they obviously needed help. If they struggled with your grandparents, ask them how they would like you to handle the same situation.

It is often easier to think clearly about what plan is best for future “might be, could happen” situations when we’re healthy. Likely this won’t be one big conversation, but a series of small conversations over time.

Effective Time Management

Efficient time management is absolutely essential to balance full-time jobs, raising children, social activity, personal interests, and basically to just keep yourself sane. How can you care for your loved one, meet your children’s needs, maintain your income, and still have time for self-care and your personal relationships? Here are some helpful time management tips to ease the strain:

  • Lists, lists, lists! – Lists can help you organize information, prioritize tasks, and are easy to share if you decide you would like some help getting everything done.
  • Devise a Daily Schedule – Sticking to a daily routine allows you to put a variety of your tasks on autopilot. Make sure that your schedule includes time for you to take care of yourself as well. Neglecting your own health and interests is only detrimental to the situation.
  • Keep it Realistic – Manage your expectations practically and sensibly to determine what is possible to achieve. Trying to do too much often means that nothing gets done properly. Sometimes good enough really is good enough.

Plans will go off track at some point, and crises will happen. Unexpected issues are inevitable, so when this happens keep in main that it is not your fault! The time management skills you’ve been practicing and mastering will help you get back on track faster.

Practicing Self-Care

Maintaining your own physical and mental health is crucial for providing effective care for a loved one.

  • Attention to Health – Family caregivers can suffer from mental, emotional, and physical health problems due to the stress and demand of caring for loved ones. You may notice you’re exhausted all the time, become easily irritated, or perhaps are so anxious you’ve been unable to sleep properly. Caregivers need to be cared for too and ensuring you are getting enough exercise, nutrients, sleep, and time for yourself is critical.
  • Remember You are Not Alone – Connecting with other caregivers can be helpful for information, relief, and support. Other caregivers can let you vent, give advice, and share resources. Professional respite home caregivers can also provide family caregivers with a much needed break.
  • Put On Your Oxygen Mask First – Just like in dire airplane situations, you need to make sure that you that you address your own health issues first. If you are experiencing illness or chronic health conditions, it makes it almost impossible to provide adequate care for others.
  • Recharge and Rejuvenate – Whether you like to exercise, curl up with a good book, listen to music, or meditate, find an activity that helps you recharge your batteries and ensure you make time for it.
    If you need to take a few days or a week away don’t be afraid to do that! Call in support. That support can come from friends or family members who will visit while you’re away, hiring a housekeeper, or bringing in a professional caregiver.

If you need to take a few days or a week away don’t be afraid to do that! Call in support. That support can come from friends or family members who will visit while you’re away, hiring a housekeeper, or bringing in a professional caregiver.

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