Critter Corner: Tips for Sandwiched Caregivers

Dear Commander Bun Bun,

I am caring for my father, while being a working mom with a husband and three children. I am feeling overwhelmed to say the least. Do you have any tips for someone in my situation?

Thanks very much!

Sandi Witch


Dear Sandi,

Many of us care for our family and friends (parents, children, grandchildren, grandparents, siblings, spouses, partners, neighbors, pets) while working, managing finances and households and caring for ourselves. Our lives often feel like triple-decker sandwiches.

Below are some tips for sandwiched caregivers:

1. Practice Self-Care: It can be easy to forget about self-care when caught up in your daily jam-packed schedule. Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to properly take care of others. Self-care comes in many forms, including making sure you get exercise, proper nutrition, sleep and regular medical appointments.

2. Share the Load: You may handle most of the caretaking duties, but that doesn’t mean you need to do absolutely everything yourself. Stop stressing and start delegating to other family members and friends. Teach your children how they can help out with caregiving duties.

3. Get Some Help: Find a senior care aide to help your mom while you take your son to soccer practice. Hire a babysitter to watch your kids while you take your dad to the doctor. Or even just get a housekeeper to clean your home, so you can focus on your family.

4. Talk to Your Employer: Do you have a job in addition to your caregiving responsibilities? Talk to your boss about switching to a more flexible schedule. Or see if your company offers benefits like child or senior care.

5. Prioritize What Matters: Make a list of all of the things you think need to be done. Then prioritize them. What can you cut out? How can you minimize your workload each day?

6. Take Some Time for Yourself: Do at least one thing for yourself every day — just because you enjoy it. Whether it’s watching your favorite TV show, going to a yoga class, taking a power nap, or reading a book, put yourself first. Then you can come back to your caregiving duties with fresh eyes.

7. Get Support: Talk to other family members and friends about what you’re dealing with. Or join a local support group. You’ll often find that other people in your life are going through similar situations. You can act as one another’s support system when things get particularly challenging.

And when all else fails, take a step back and breathe.

Hop this is helpful!

Commander Bun Bun

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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.