The winter snows are flying and it’s too cold to be outside, yet the rooms inside the homeÂ seem to be closing in. The kid’s winter sports activities are in their final days and very intense.Â Meanwhile, having a cup of coffee with a friend, she talks about her mom and how mom justÂ does not seem to be the same lively person anymore. Life today is active, especially for womenÂ aged 45 — 55 who care for both their parents and children. These are the people caught in theÂ “sandwich generation”.
Her mom turned 87 last week and lives in the same home she raised her family. About 6 monthsÂ ago she had abnormal surgery and came home after a hospital and rehab stay in a nursing home.Â She did well in physical therapy, but now seems to be getting weaker again and just won’t do theÂ exercises she was told were important for her.
The doctors say she has a mood disorder, otherwise depression. People in mom’s generationÂ were taught as children to “take the bull by the horns” and work yourself through it, butÂ sometimes it just isn’t that easy. In addition, depression affects millions of people regardlessÂ of ethnicity, education, gender or income. When a social person has no one to socialize with,Â they can struggle with depression. This may result in a change of eating habits and an “I know IÂ should but I could care less” attitude. In these cases, some type of change may dramatically helpÂ my friend’s mom.
Studies show activities and physical exercise can significantly reduce these mental health issues.Â So, what can my friend’s mom do? It seems she lacks in social interaction — so work her intoÂ social activities. If physical exercise can reduce depression and anxiety — find an exerciseÂ program. Easier said than done. Her mom still needs to brave the winter weather and have safeÂ transportation.
So, there can be three broad answers to her situation bring homecare and/or private therarpy intoÂ the home, take mom out to classes such as Silver Sneakers or perhaps Senior World, or look toÂ change living arraignments.
Most assisted living and some independent living homes have daily exercise programs andÂ possibly fitness equipment. These retirement homes may also serve 2 — 3 well-balanced mealsÂ per day. A bonus is the socialization and perhaps the re-connection with old friends who areÂ also going through the same stage of life. A study showed that people in assisted living homesÂ live greater the 5 years longer than their counterparts living in their own homes. This is just anÂ option on the cold, wintry days; and it may be more affordable than you think.
Coordinating care for your children and parents simultaneously is not easy. What can you do toÂ manage this? Three words of advice: Plan, Plan and Plan. Legal, financial, residential, mentalÂ and physical healthcare elements must be addressed prior to a crisis. A sandwich generationerÂ should guide their parent through these issues and the primary issue of safety, while beingÂ careful not to take all control away from a parent. Once again, it is important to start talking,Â making suggestions and guiding early, do not wait for a crisis.