Family caregivers are busy. And, for members of the sandwich generation—caregivers who are supporting a child or children as well as caring for an elderly parent—it can feel like “caregiver” is your only role. But managing a parent’s medications and arranging outside care aren’t the only tasks of sandwich generation caregivers. They also often have careers, provide or organize transportation, run errands, prepare meals, handle housework and manage finances. It adds up. The average caregiver spends 24.4 hours per week providing care.
However, there are ways to make life a little easier and add some critical “me” time back into your hectic schedule. Here are five tips and tricks to help you make the most of your time.
Sign Up for Meal Kit Delivery
Sure, regularly prepping a week’s worth of meals sounds like a great idea, but who actually has time to make 20 lunches on Sunday? Or dinners for the week? Meal kit delivery services ship fresh, portioned ingredients, and easy-to-follow recipes to prepare them, straight to your door. From Blue Apron and HelloFresh to Purple Carrot and Plated, there’s a meal kit for every kind of cook and every type of palate.
Call a Transportation Service
Now that you’re an old pro at using Uber or Lyft, it’s time for you to show your mom and dad how to call GoGoGrandparent. An affordable, on-demand transportation service for seniors, GoGoGrandparent offers pickups within 15 minutes, allows users to pre-schedule rides for things such as fixed medical appointments and sends text alerts so families can keep an eye on loved ones.
Make Errands Easier
If you find yourself running out to pick up basics multiple times a week, sign up for Amazon Subscribe & Save. Set up regularly scheduled deliveries for staples such as toilet paper, toothpaste, dog food and diapers—and even save up to 15 percent. In fact, there are subscription memberships to help you check everything off your shopping list, from beauty product services such as Ipsy to fashion and accessories subscription services such as Trunk Club.
Look for Shortcuts
Embrace the one-pot meal and your slow cooker. The fewer pots you get dirty, the fewer you have to clean. Put like with like when you load the dishwasher so you don’t waste time sorting the knives from the forks when you unload. Schedule doctor’s appointments in the morning so that you spend less time in the waiting room because the doctor likely won’t be behind yet. Pay bills online instead of writing checks, addressing envelopes and going to the post office for stamps.
Download the App for That
Your smartphone is full of smart apps designed to make caregiving just a little bit easier. CareZone is a health information organizer where you can keep track of all your loved one’s medications, allergies, and insurance and ID cards. CaringBridge allows you to coordinate caregiving duties among family members and makes it easy to communicate, keep track of appointments and share essential information. Both are available free for iPhones and Androids.
Caregiving Challenges and Solutions
Simultaneously supporting a parent and child isn’t easy. Find out what challenges you can expect—and how to cope.