Adult Assistance for the Sandwich Generation

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By Stephanie Chan

Employees who are juggling work, growing children and aging parents have come to define the “sandwich generation.” Coping with the stress that arises from these various responsibilities can lead to emotional distress, employee burnout and long-lasting health consequences.

With a growing number of people in Canada juggling work, children, and other responsibilities, the prevalence is serious; currently, an estimated 35 per cent of the workforce are caregivers to an older relative, with 20 per cent of those individuals also caring for children.

Helping employees who are stretched thin can improve their work performance and well-being, not to mention increase company loyalty. Providing the right resources to employees can help guide them in the right direction when trying to make decisions in regards to their loved ones, thereby reduces the distraction from their work responsibilities.

Here are some resources to help your employees.

Adult Day Services
Adult day programs provide a couple of main benefits, providing stimulation and social activity for those who otherwise may not get out very often. Also, it provides a form of respite for the primary family caregiver such as a spouse, so that they can get a break and some time for themselves while the care recipient is in the day program.

Adult day services can be either subsidized through our health system or pursued privately. Adult day programs offer a variety of activities and services, such as personal assistance, meals, therapeutic and recreational activities, group socialization, and caregiver education and support.

You can find more information on local programs in your area the Government of BC website.

Home Care Assistance Programs
There are also various public home care programs available throughout Greater Vancouver which offer services such as administering medications, providing personal care and hospital post-discharge support.

To determine eligibility, your loved one will undergo an assessment by a case manager which focuses on current needs and challenges. If it is determined that they are not eligible, you may be referred to other services such as private care agencies.

The Government of BC provides you with a list of health authorities that can provide more information on subsidized home care. There are pros and co’s between accessing subsidized home care and private home care; if you feel private home care is within budget, it may be worth researching this option further.

Meal Delivery Services
There are many meal delivery services available, but two low cost options are Meals on Wheels and Better Meals. Meals on Wheels is a service provided by a not-for-profit organization called Health and Home Care Society of BC. Meals typically cost between $5.00 – $7.00 and are delivered by a volunteer. Clients can choose between a Western meal menu or Chinese meal menu. Better Meals is another option for meal delivery. The menu offers many good choices and meals are $6.75 to $7.00.

Transportation Services
HandyDart is run by Translink and caters to those with mobility and cognitive issues. Handy Dart will pick your loved one up directly at home and drop them off at their destination. HandyDART users may be able to also receive taxi saver coupons to save 50 per cent off of taxi trips. More information can be found on the Translink website. In addition to these options, there are a variety of private transportation services available for seniors as well.

Better At Home
The Better at Home program is financed by the BC government and administered by United Way. The program helps seniors stay at home longer and services are carried out by local non-profit organizations. Through the Better at Home program, services offered include housekeeping, transportation, grocery shopping, light yard work and minor repairs.

For more information, you can contact a regional program provider who will assess your loved one’s needs.

Home Safety Monitoring Systems
There are a variety of home monitoring systems available in the market, but the dominant provider is probably Lifeline. Lifeline is a personal response system which calls for help in the case of an emergency.

Lifeline, and other similar companies, provide a monitoring device usually linked to a phone, along with an emergency button on a bracelet or pendant. If your loved one requires assistance, pushing that button will trigger a Lifeline operator to come onto the monitor to address the situation.

Many alert systems are now offering additional features such as fall detection, which triggers the emergency response process if a fall is detected regardless if the emergency button has been pushed.

Additional Resources
There are many other resources out there to help seniors stay safe in their community. The above list only scratches the surface of the most common services which enable someone to continue living safely at home. With the help of outside experts, families may want to look into the affordability and availability of private services, development of a more holistic care plan, and options for planning for future lifestyle transitions.

Stephanie Chan is an eldercare advisor and transition planner, helping seniors and families make informed choices regarding senior living. Stephanie founded and operates Home to Home, a care planning and transition assistance business which helps seniors plan and manage lifestyle changes such as a downsize or change in health.

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  1. Wow! This is a very useful post. Nice post and great job.

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