Roughly 20 million people are caught in the Sandwich Generation. This term is applied to the growing number of people simultaneously taking care of their children and aging parents. Baby Boomers are at the heart of this group and many times find themselves assuming the role of parent to their own parents.
By becoming a caregiver to an elderly parent, the traditional roles of parent and child are reversed. While once the parent took care of the child and made all pertinent decisions for that child, now the adult child is faced with making all pertinent decisions for their parent. This role reversal can be stressful, especially when dealing with a parent with dementia, the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s disease, or any other life-limiting illnesses.
For such caregivers, it is important to remember that there are agencies that can help navigate through situations that arise while caring for an elderly parent. One such agency is hospice. When faced with a life-limiting illness, hospice offers support and care for the patient as well as the patient’s family. Caregivers should have candid discussions with physicians regarding expectations and the role that hospice can play in end of life care. With hospice, the focus of care is on symptom management and comfort measures rather than curative care. Hospice services are a covered benefit through Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurances.
Caring for a loved one who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness is a hard road to travel, but not one that has to be traveled alone. Reach out, take advantage of the help that is available; call your local hospice agency to receive more information.S