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article imageBaby Boomers Juggle Caring for Elderly and Children

By Lisa Angotti     May 2, 2007 in Lifestyle
Baby boomers are facing the unique challenge of caring for their children and their parents. iVillage Live offers tips for staying sane in a multi-generation household.
Today, more than ever, baby boomers are being faced with the Sandwich Generation syndrome -- the unique challenge of not only needing to care for their children, but their own parents.
Today's episode of iVillage Live on NBC welcomed author Dorothy Breininger who wrote "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Life Lessons for Busy Moms." Breininger discusses her "Sandwich Generation Survival Guide" that can help with coping with such a demanding lifestyle.
Since 911, there has been movement of returning to our old values... caring for parents within our own homes rather than in an outside facility. It's estimated that at least 71 percent of baby boomers still have at least one parent alive, and many of them are needing to care for them.
We're now into our values. It's hips to actually want to be responsible and take care of our parents, and bring them on home,"
said Breininger.
"Around 911 we saw an increase of the number of people who not only wanted to have their paper work in order but their belongings (material possessions not so important) family members, very important. We have a new value system,"
said Breininger.
One challenge in this situation is the financial strain. It's estimated that caring fro the elderly costs on average $6200 a month for a nursing home, "$3000 a month for assisted living, and $19 an hour for in-come care. And those costs are not including medicines and other expenses.
It's more important than ever to prepare in advance for the financial costs you may incur later on in life. Not only should you prepare financially, but you should also prepare yourself emotionally for when it's time to either care for the elderly or be care for yourself. Brieninger suggests having conversations with your parents and children early, before elder care is needed, to determine the best way to deal with these circumstances.
In the case of a combined home that includes three generations, the female baby boomer often suffers the most because she is often holding down a job while trying to get kids off to school and care for her parents each morning, day after day. Like an oxygen mask on an airplane, Brieninger says it's most important that the female boomer take time to care for herself first, and then care for others. At the end of the day, who will care for her? She will.
To stay organized, Breininger suggests keeping care details (medications, allergies etc.) documented in a book. In case of a trip to the Emergency Room, you'll be better prepared and get better care.
For more advice and assistance, visit AARP online for caregiving support and [url=http://www.eldercare.gov]www.eldercare.gov for resources in your area.
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