Seminar provides options for ‘Sandwich Generation’ caregivers - East Valley Tribune: Health

Seminar provides options for ‘Sandwich Generation’ caregivers

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Posted: Saturday, June 2, 2012 8:04 am

An East Valley-based home health-care organization wants to help out a generation of residents who are “sandwiched” between raising their children and caring for aging parents.

It stems from a reality of life many of us in the 40-to-60 age range are facing: Watching our parents age and ultimately having to decide whether to put them in a nursing home or take care of them so they can continue to live in the comfort of their own home.

If that’s what you’re going through, you’re part of the “Sandwich Generation.”

In retirement states such as Florida, California or Arizona, home health-care agencies such as the Mesa-based Visiting Angels are getting the word out about options for those bearing the stress of taking care of children and an elderly parent at the same time.

On July 14, Visiting Angels is hosting a seminar at Mesa’s La Casita Recreation Center at Dobson Ranch.

The free seminar will provide speakers on topics such as how to adjust to change, understanding Veterans Administration aid and benefits eligibility, the importance of powers of attorney and understanding nutritional needs for seniors.

“With 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 across the nation every day for the next 20 years, it seems as we progress, there’s more and more people who need to be taken care of,” said Elaine Poker-Yount, community liaison for Visiting Angels. “If people don’t know where to turn, we can send them in the right direction. There’s all kinds of services that will come to your home. A lot of people don’t know there’s mobile doctors or there’s mobile dentists.”

She added, “Older people don’t want the information because they don’t think they need it, but their children are desperate for the information. It’s easier to get the information when you’re not drowning in it. You want to get the information when you’re not stressed. That way, when you have it at hand, it’s easier to digest it.”

Visiting Angels in Mesa has more than 100 licensed health-care providers as well as retired registered nurses and other caregivers who are helping to take care of elderly parents throughout the Valley.

“Our main goal is to help keep people in their home as long as possible,” said Chelsea Hutchinson, who works at Visiting Angels. “Caregivers often have to take care of both their children and their parents, but they sometimes don’t realize they can have a caregiver come to the home one or two days a week if they can’t afford someone 24 hours seven days a week.”

There are actually multiple layers to what’s known as the Sandwich Generation. You might be in a “traditional sandwich” between aging parents who need care and the children you’re still raising. Or, you could be in a “club sandwich” — a term for those in their 50s or 60s who are sandwiched between aging parents, adult children, and grandchildren, or those in their 30s and 40s, with young children, aging parents and grandparents.

According to the Pew Research Center, about two of every eight Americans ages 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent, in addition to between 7 to 10 million adults caring for their aging parents from a long distance. U.S. Census Bureau statistics indicate that the number of Americans 65 and older will double by the year 2030, to over 70 million.

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