Q: I have been working from home for the last several months, and in addition to my job responsibilities, my elderly mother who has dementia moved in with us. To compound things, my two teenagers must complete the school year online and my office is reopening in September. My mother really can’t be left alone for long periods, and I have no idea what to do. Are there any options for her care while I am working?
A: You are part of the sandwich generation, which are adults who have elderly parents to care for and have children at home. I am sure you are pulled in different directions daily, and you may continue to feel that way for the immediate future. If your children are responsible, you may be able to just check in on them occasionally during the day. Do you have a trusted neighbor or another family member they could contact if a problem were to arise? Your children’s education is their priority so they shouldn’t assume responsibility for their grandmother.
A case manager from our agency can conduct an assessment regarding eligibility and assist in designing a care plan for your mother. She might be a good fit for one of the Adult Day Health programs if they have availability. Our programs have been operating throughout this pandemic following all public health and safety standards. Staff have been trained on all required procedures regarding screening participants, maintaining safe distance, use of Personal Protective Equipment, such as face coverings and gloves and practicing good hand hygiene. Another option is Meals on Wheels, which provides a nutritious lunch for her during the week and provides a daily check-in. There are also telephonic companion services that may be a good fit.
You are strongly encouraged to speak with your employer about the possibility of continuing to work at home either on a part-time basis or full time if the need arises. The business community may experience this with many of their employees. We are all trying to be optimistic there is not a resurgence of COVID in our communities, but it is best to have a backup plan in place.
Visit us online at www.ESMV.org for more information about our Healthy Living programs and other resources or contact our staff at 1-800-892-0890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of Elder Services of Merrimack Valley and North Shore.