AARP estimates that 66 million Americans are currently caring for their children and parents at the same time.
Known as the “Sandwich Generation,” these adults are typically between the ages of 40 and 65. Many caregivers also work full-time in addition to attending to their extended families, and the multiple generations often live under the same roof. Playing so many roles can lead to emotional stress or depression for caregivers.
If you’re currently tackling caregiver responsibilities, consider taking these steps to reduce burnout and stay healthy:
- Delegate responsibilities. Many caregivers think they have to shoulder it all on their own. In most cases, however, family members or close friends would be glad to lend a hand. Identify small tasks others can complete on your behalf, such as going grocery shopping, cooking a meal or taking your loved one to a medical appointment. Ask for help, and then focus on your remaining responsibilities.
- Set—and take—personal downtime. Caregivers need time to relax and recharge. Don’t skip that gym class or manicure. Any activity that offers a reprieve can help you feel better and give you some much-needed breathing room.
- Adopt healthy habits. Incorporating healthy practices—such as drinking plenty of water, having a set bedtime, exercising regularly and eating healthily—into the daily routine can keep caregivers from feeling run down.
- Find a support network. Other caregivers in your area have experienced the same emotions and situations you are dealing with. Attending a support group could give you an important outlet to express yourself.
Taking care of yourself includes getting regular checkups. If you need a new primary care physician, visit parkridgehealthsystem.com to find a provider near you.