Adults are living longer, which means grandchildren become prime caregiving candidates. While caregiving has advantages for grandchildren, such s boosting confidence and building empathy, it's also a struggle for young adults who are delaying their own lives to provide care. Grandchildren caregivers often postpone their education, careers, romantic relationships, and even parenthood. It isn't an easy role for a grandchild to assume. Here are some coping strategies:
1. Utilize Resources
There are a number of resources that can connect you with local assistance for things like meals, transportation, health insurance, housing, home repairs and more. There are a number of additional resources online as well as support groups and chat rooms that can help you as you assist your grandparent.
2. Engage in Social Media
There are numerous discussion boards devoted to young caregivers. Facebook pages like Caring for the Caregiver and the Caregiver Village offer support, advice and friendship. Having a place to connect with others and compare stories is very important for coping as a caregiver. It's nice to have a place to share stories -- the good and the bad. On Twitter, follow the hashtags #caregiving, #eldercare, #AARP, can help you stay current and up-to-date on all the issues and news in the caregiving world.
3. Ask for Help
Being a caretaker doesn't mean you have to do it all on your own. Reach out to other family members and close friends or neighbors to see who can pitch in and help. Let them know they don't have to be a nurse or a trained professional to help out with your grandparent. Simple tasks like grocery shopping, taking your loved one for a walk, reading her the newspaper, or driving her to a doctor's appointment can help free up some of your time. If you don't have anyone willing to help, consider hiring a caretaker once a week. If cost is a concern, your grandparent may qualify for financial assistance.
4. Keep Your Hobbies
Being a caregiver can quickly eat away at your free time. This is especially true for grandchildren who are quite likely already working, in school, taking care of their own family, and trying to maintain a social life. All of a sudden it is easier to just put off activities that you enjoy in lieu of taking care of your loved one, but this will not help you or your grandparent in the long run.
Make time for yourself. Schedule a night out with friends if you are looking for social activity. Schedule a night in with a good movie or book if you want to be left alone. Above all, don't be afraid to leave time for yourself on a regular basis. Not only do you deserve it, your body and your mind need it!
For more tips on caring for your grandparent, check out our FREE caregiver toolkit! You can access this toolkit along with our other free resources by first finding your local Caring Senior Service.