Over 1 in 4 caregivers in the US are currently caring for an elderly relative while raising their children. Known as the sandwich generation, these adults may often feel like they are living a balancing act between supporting their elderly relative, nurturing their children, and fulfilling their own working needs. Many feel like they are merely surviving, and frequently report that they are stressed and unable to work the hours they need to support two generations at the same time. Who are these sandwich caregivers, and how can they be supported?
Who Is The Sandwich Caregiver?
With over 11 million sandwich caregivers in the US, the need for support is greater now than ever before. A 2019 report revealed that many sandwich caregivers worked a full-time job and gave over 20 hours of elderly care provisions for their aging family members. While one-third of caregivers reported emotional stress, one in five disclosed they were suffering financial strains.
The Stress Of Sandwich Caregiving During End Of Life
Those in the sandwich generation are often caring for elderly parents or relatives with a terminal condition that will ultimately require palliative care. Helping your parents during end of life care can feel like an emotionally fraught and distressing time. Sandwich caregivers are pulled in all directions – trying to give their parents some dignity at the end of life, while still giving their children support. It can feel like an impossible task.
How Can Support Be Provided To Sandwich Caregivers?
If you are a sandwich caregiver continually juggling the needs of your parents, your children and your working life, you’re not alone. An end of life doula can provide vital support to your elderly relatives or parents during end of life care. By providing both practical and emotional support to your loved ones during the final stage of their life, a death doula aims to guide them through the end of their journey while providing advice and support to you during this difficult time.
What Is An End Of Life Doula?
An end of life doula (also called a death doula or death midwife), believes that an individual’s final years are a sacred part of life. As a birth midwife brings a child into the world, a death midwife balances out the life cycle and supports people through their death. They learn to serve by providing non-medical spiritual, emotional and physical care to ease stress and provide comfort to both the individual and the caregiver.
What Tasks Does A Death Doula Carry Out?
An end of life doula will be able to support the sandwich caregiver by being there both physically or virtually for your loved one if you are in need of assistance, work long hours, or live long distance. Through comprehensive training in end of life care, they can relieve the stress of the older adult through reiki and mindfulness techniques. With their in-depth knowledge and exposure to death, they are also able to guide your loved one through what to expect and help them document their life and final wishes. From providing social interaction to practical needs like transportation, an end of life doula provides a wide range of support to your relative.
What Training Does An End Of Life Doula Have?
Death midwives have extensive experience in end of life training and non-medical palliative care, to ensure they can provide vital support during a difficult time. Background checks are a critical part of keeping your elderly safe. All qualified death doulas like Adrian Allotey at You Are Not Alone Elder Care should be fully insured and have criminal and DMV checks conducted regularly. To protect your loved one, a death midwife should also have full medical screenings, including TB, Rubella, Measles, Mumps, and Chicken Pox Immunity and of course the yearly flu vaccination.
Providing Support For The Sandwich Caregiver
At You Are Not Alone Elder Care, we understand the stresses and fears sandwich caregivers face when trying to support their loved ones during their end of life care. We aim to provide both practical and emotional advice and support so you can be confident that your relative’s end of life care will be conducted with love, kindness and dignity. We serve our elderly clients so that they maintain a high quality of life right up until their passing. We’re also here for you after their death; assisting with their documented life experiences and memorial and remembrance service options to take the stress out of those decisions.
Find out more about the role of an end of life doula here, discover how we are helping during COVID-19, have a chat with us at (856) 497-3512 or email [email protected] to see how we can help you and your loved ones today.