Caregivers are daughters and sons, partners, relatives and friends. Caregiving takes a financial, emotional and physical toll on caregivers, according to research by Family Caregiver Alliance.

You may have heard of the term “sandwich generation”, which refers to individuals who are in the middle of caring for two generations at the same time – their aging parents and their children. Perhaps you are already part of the sandwich generation caring for and providing financial and emotional support to older adults and young loved ones.

According to the GrandFacts State Fact Sheets for GrandFamilies in Massachusetts, there are 101,538 children under the age of 18 living in homes where householders are grandparents or other relatives. In addition, 35,407 grandparents are householders responsible for their grandchildren who live with them.

A Difficult Balancing Act

Caregivers are often juggling work, family and caregiving responsibilities. According to Family Caregiver Alliance, one out of six working Americans is a caregiver to an older adult or disabled family member or loved one. Working caregivers may experience the need to take time off, reduce their work hours or even give up work entirely. Workplace programs can be invaluable, to both the employer and employees in helping those who are helping others.

Each caregiver’s situation is unique and complex. OCES helps caregivers navigate one of life’s hardest but most rewarding jobs through the Family Caregiver Support Program (FCSP). The goal of this program is to reassure families that they are not alone and that resources are available to assist them in their caregiving. This program provides one-on-one support to create a personalized plan outlining available resources (which includes OCES programs as well as community resources) that are applicable to their caregiving situation.

These resources may include caregiver support groups as well as educational workshops or programs that share techniques to help family caregivers with stress reduction, time management, goal setting, problem-solving, relaxation and more.  The FCSP works with people of all ages including grandparents raising their grandchildren.

Caregiving is a balancing act and caregivers often neglect to take care of themselves. FCSP can assist caregivers in developing a self-care plan. A caregiver’s health is important and when their needs are taken care of, the person they are caring for will benefit. For more information on caregiver support, call OCES at 508-584-1561.