Research indicates that, for members of the Sandwich Generation dealing with their aging parents, support is very important. Yesterday, readers wrote posts about the people who are there for them - siblings, gerontologists, caregivers, support groups, community resources.
You don’t have to do it alone – secure help, even if it is over your mom or dad's objections, and get support systems in place. Reach out, create a network, hire someone to assist your parents as often as you think is necessary. Betty was frantic about making arrangements for her dad after his stroke. “I was so relieved when I was introduced to the hospital discharge planner. Her expertise and kindness made the move to a rehabilitation center almost bearable.”
Some nonprofit organizations nationwide offer free services or financial grants for respite care for family members who provide most of the care to their chronically ill elders. The federal government, through the National Family Caregiver Support Program, provided funds for respite care to over 190,000 families in 2004. To learn if there is a program in your local community, go online to Eldercare.gov and look for the Eldercare Locator, or call 1-800-677-1116.
Be forthright with your family. Engage your siblings in the problems and the solutions. Ask for practical help and delegate responsibilities. The value is immeasurable when everyone is willing to set aside personal agendas and work together toward collective goals.