As Published in the Whitefish Bay Leaves Publication, September 2021
Do You Ever Feel Like a Club Sandwich?
By Luci Klebar
Saint John’s On The Lake
THE SANDWICH GENERATION depicts the layers of responsibility for those we love … our children, grandchildren, aging parents and we are squeezed in the middle with our careers. Searching for the ever elusive balance between work, caregiving and home life – the extra layers – can be stressful.
And, to add to that, you may be noticing changes in mom or dad. A lack of enthusiasm for hobbies or interests that they used to enjoy – or can’t enjoy because of COVID created barriers. According to a 2021 report from the CDC, loneliness and social isolation are linked to serious health conditions. These conditions can include, but are not limited to heart disease, stroke and even premature death. AARP research in 2020 identifies socialization as the number one activity for older adults to maintain or even improve their overall wellness-even more so than maintaining physical fitness.
Are you thinking it is better to have your parents remain in their home and bring caregivers in to attend to their needs? Remember, that brings its own challenges. Staffing and managing care workers around the clock can become a part-time job.
Consider the enriching life older adults can experience when moving to the right senior community and the safety and the assurance of future care if needed right on campus. They may find a great deal of peace of mind knowing they are living in a safe, healthy, enriching environment. It can be a gift to you too, especially if you are juggling home care and work life and trying to be the caregiver for your parents! There is often a renewed quality of life for the resident, making new friends, rekindling lost friendships, and renewing and pursuing new hobbies. A 2019 study from Innovation in Aging shows friendships are as important as family ties in predicting psychological well-being of older adults.
Before helping your parents move to a senior community, it is important to do your homework. Check out multiple communities and explore if the community has the support and amenities your mom or dad would enjoy. Do they provide a full continuum of care-Independent Living, Assisted Living, support for Memory Loss and Skilled Nursing Care? If not, you may be setting yourself up to another move in the future – at a time when they are most frail and would benefit from the continuity of care and the caregivers who already know them. Some communities offer a hybrid – a blending of Independent Living and Assisted Living called Enhanced Independent Living. This new model of care offers an independent lifestyle with catered concierge services available 24/7 to meet the individual resident’s needs. In addition, all of the amenities and enrichment of the campus are available to the resident. This offers a little more wrap around care than independent living alone provides.
Moving to a senior community which offers a full continuum of care and support can be a life saver for everyone!