Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What Does A Caregiver Look Like?

Make no mistake about it: Caregivers come in all shapes, sizes, colors and both sexes. Caregivers range in all ages, from small and young to old and older. We reside all over the world and are in need of support now.

Our children play a key role in our lives, both young and old, who still rely on us for a variety of reasons. I've been mostly focusing on senior care, but the fact is we are called The Sandwich Generation for a reason. We are sandwiched in the middle of generations. A responsible role riddled with emotions of great highs and great lows. I love midlife for so many reasons. What's not to like? You don't have to wait to be dismissed at the end of the day by a school bell. 

In my opinion, the current definition of The Sandwich Generation would be someone in midlife between the ages of mid 30s-mid 60s. 

What is different in 2015? The global army of Caregivers is growing by leaps and bounds. People are living longer and in turn the needs become greater. 

Caring for the Caregiver is essential. It's only a matter of time; in the next 2-5 years there will be an explosion of support systems in place for the "Cargiver Industry." It's only a matter of time because Caregivers need support systems in place to be resilient and stay healthy enough to do what they do. It is no secret that Caregiver's lives are hugely impacted emotionally and healthwise from the stressful and responsible job positions they fill. 

We are a pioneering generation that has a broad age range. The level of care and medications to sustain a life is costly. And let's never forget that at the end of life how many people it may take to sustain a life. 

Feeling rundown, isolated and/or anti-social are not healthy places to be emotionally and mentally for extended periods of time. My Caregiver journey and aftermath of what took place with my Mother looking back, is monumental. The impact is ever present. 

One of my biggest take aways from my Caregiver journey was to understand my limitations better, ask for help more often and take better care of me. I wasn't thinking of myself until day's end, and then I was too exhausted to figure out how to "do" self-care. I wasn't thinking about me at all. I was consumed with my Mother's care. I have no regrets. I'm not complaining. I wouldn't have it any other way. 

The stats are high and climbing for people afflicted with terminal illnesses, both young and old. Beyond aging, there are a plethora of maladies plaguing mankind. Alzheimer's Disease is on the rise worldwide. The wreckage that disease causes to a person and a family is critical. To learn the definitions for Alzheimer's Disease and dementia, click here 

This week when you are taking care of business, make sure you are high on your check list to care for. You are managing a very important role in the life of someone who counts on you to sustain their life. I'm not sure there's a higher calling in life than that.

The role reversal that comes in the course of caring for an elder may be minor or extreme. No matter, it's an adjustment and there's no denying you are making important decisions about or with your loved one's future. Planning for the future is critical, so if a crisis or a turn for the worse occurs, you are prepared.

I admire you and respect you for all you do. You're doing a great job. Keep it up. We do what we do in the name of love. Come visit The Sandwich Woman: Caring for the Sandwich Generation facebook page often and please continue to embrace this community as your own. 

#caregivers #carers #selfcare #caresupport #endalz

Best wishes for the week ahead,
Carole Brecht

Copyright 2015

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