A day in the life of a baby boomer caregiver – part of the sandwich generation – consists of a delicate balancing act of shuttling kids to sports practice, dance lessons, musical instrument instructions, medical appointments, school or camp, giving her all to her career, taking care of the infinite commitments required to manage a home, and carving out as much quality family time as possible – not to mention, taking the stress up a notch by adding in the overwhelming tasks required in providing care for aging parents.
In the midst of all of this busyness, it would stand to reason that those sandwiched between caring for children and aging parents would have more than their fair share of socialization; however, the truth is that they’re very often isolated because of an inability to interact with their peers regularly. There are only so many hours in a day – and sadly, family caregivers often neglect their own needs in favor of meeting those of their loved ones.
Considering the needs of the family caregiver lends home care agencies another slant in marketing home care – proving to baby boomer caregivers that caregiving promotes isolation, which leads to poor health, and showing them that home care benefits not only the elderly, but the caregivers themselves. It takes away some of the guilt, and we know guilt is a huge part of why family caregivers make the unhealthy choices they make.
Maintaining social ties is vital for all of us. Studies have shown that isolated mice developed an increase in cancerous tumor growths. Other studies have placed damage from isolation on the same level as smoking and obesity in terms of health detriments, and even death.
So the concern for those in the sandwich generation is not whether or not to ensure sufficient social time, but how to make it a real and recurring priority. And no, checking Facebook does not constitute effective socialization! According to Dr. Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Oxford, “The vital friendships—the pals you hug and laugh and lament with—are the ones who have the greatest impact on your health and happiness. You need between three and five of them for optimal wellbeing.”
The solution is actually quite simple. It’s the solution to a plethora of care concerns, but we can now add “staving off caregiver isolation” to its benefits: in-home care. A recent Stanford Center on Longevity and Standard Psychology Department study, in conjunction with ClearCare and Comfort Keepers, examined the lives of thousands of families across the country, in particular gauging the social connectedness of the family caregivers. And the results speak for themselves:
- A full 66% of sandwich generation caregivers whose loved ones receive home care services are enjoying “meaningful interactions with friends” – much higher than the percentage reported by the overall population for this age group.
- High levels of emotional wellbeing were also reported among participants, despite the stress of providing care.
As Geoff Nudd, CEO of ClearCare states, “These findings provide us with invaluable insight and implications into how the power of home care can improve lives.”
At corecubed, we’re strong proponents of in-home care, and our expert team who comes up with home health marketing ideas helps agencies more effectively promote their services, enabling families to discover the many benefits, both to their senior loved ones and themselves, that result from a professional home care partnership. For instance, we can help with creating content and/or presentations designed for the boomer/family caregiver audience around how data proves that it’s wiser and healthier to get help with caregiving instead of trying to go it alone. Contact us to learn more.