Written by: Lucy Crenshaw
More adults are taking on the responsibility of caring for their elderly parents rather than letting them stay in a retirement home. A recent statistic has revealed that most of these caregivers are women, and the percentage of female family caregivers in the US range from 53 to 68 percent. Moreover, most of these women have children of their own, and this proves that having a multi-generational household is starting to become increasingly common in America. While most women are adept at multitasking, being the primary caregiver in the family can be a challenge, especially if you’re a new mom. However, there are ways to get things done while still looking after your own health and well-being. If you’re caring for your elderly parents as a new mom, here’s a no-stress guide to looking after your loved ones.
Get as much help as possible
Possibly the most challenging aspect of being the primary caregiver in a multi-generational household is the fact that oftentimes, your newborn and your ageing parents will need you at the same time. If this happens frequently, then it’s time to consider getting someone to help you with daily tasks. Most people choose to save their money in case of a medical emergency, but why not use some of that cash now to get the help that you need? As your child gets older and more independent, you may need less help than what you require at this moment in your life, so consider hiring a sitter or a part-time caregiver now when you need help the most. Not only will it ensure that everyone’s needs are met, but you also save yourself from the inevitable burnout that most caregivers experience.
It doesn’t always have to be a long-term situation-- sometimes, having someone come in to cook meals or clean every couple of days can be a big help. Moreover, if you’re planning to go back to work after your pregnancy leave, you can have peace of mind knowing that someone else is there to look after your baby and parents while you’re not around.
Use tech to check up on everyone at home
We’ve all heard stories about nannies who treat children roughly, but there are also paid caregivers who have made headlines for physically, mentally, and financially abusing the elderly. Financial elder abuse is quite common nowadays, as some people may resort to forgery, extortion, or theft when no one is at home. So to ensure that your parents are safe, hire a caregiver from a reputable agency and check their credentials. Make sure to ask for references to be on the safe side.
You can also install tech devices inside or outside your home so you can check up on everyone while you’re out. Smart security cameras from Nest, Logitech, and Netatmo allow you to see what’s going on inside your home, and some even identify faces and notify you via an app if a stranger has been detected lurking outside your house. To make sure that your smart devices are working well, check your Wi-Fi speed and quality, as a bad connection can result in pixelation and lag times.
Do take a break
Most women who care for their babies and elderly parents forget that they have their own needs and that they need a break every now and then. Taking a break doesn’t mean being frivolous or selfish-- it’s about looking after your well-being. Remember that as much as your child and your parents need you, you also need to care for yourself during this time. It can be anything from taking a stroll in the park, having a nice cup of coffee at a beautiful cafe, taking a yoga class, or spending an hour watching an episode of your favorite show on Netflix. By taking a break from your daily routine, you become more energized, attain inner peace, and you learn to value your worth as an individual, and not just as a caregiver.
Caring for your ageing parents as a new mom can be stressful, but by getting help, using the right tech, and taking a break every once in a while, you can get everything done without neglecting your own health and well-being. Don’t forget to love yourself as you care for your baby and parents, and live a balanced and happy life with the people that matter the most to you.
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