My mother in law had emergency surgery two weeks ago; now she’s in a local nursing home under hospice care. Meanwhile, my father-in-law, who no longer drives, needs to be picked up from the other end of town daily, brought to visit his wife, and returned home.
Fortunately for my husband and I, his two sisters also live in the area. The three of them are alternating days – for now. Both sisters have summer vacation plans, and we’ve got work-related travel that we can’t reschedule.
Like millions of Americans, we’re living the classic “sandwich generation” life. We’re squeezed between the needs of our elderly parents, our own children and our work demands. Add to this the anxiety many are experiencing related to job layoff or uncertainty, and its no wonder families are feeling the stress.
It seems like the perfect opportunity for senior care companies to step in and provide some relief.
“Hey,” you say, “We’ve got the vacancies. We can help by moving their parent in tomorrow!”
For many families, however, an immediate move isn’t the solution. Worries about finances make this a bigger challenge – and potentially longer closing time – than anytime in the past several years.
So what can you do to support those families in your communities that are feeling the squeeze?
Offer respite care – and let the community know about it. Now is a great time to really promote your respite care options. For families that are on the verge of burnout, just a weekend or a few days mid-week can make all the difference. Can you offer it at a reduced rate for first time users? For repeat clients? Be creative and think of ways to nudge the family into giving respite care a try. They may well become long term clients with this small first step.
Beef up your family support services. You probably tried family support groups with little success in the past. This might be the perfect time to try it again, however. Call them “Family Education Seminars” rather than support group. Schedule area professionals to be your guest speakers, including physicians, pharmacists, occupational and physical therapists, hospice nurses and more. Tap into public service announcements on radio, TV and in newspapers to promote these seminars. This is a perfect opportunity to position yourself as the expert in senior care, and as the trusted advisor to families living in the community.
Offer caregiver training for family caregivers. You probably train caregivers all year long in your community. What about extending an offer of training to family caregivers? You can set up a short series of training sessions, charge a nominal fee and offer it to families in the community who are choosing to care for a parent instead of seek placement in a care setting. Contact us to set up a blended training program offering families some training through our online courses, followed up by hands’ on training you provide in specific caregiving skills. We’ll help you design a ready-to-launch family training program that can be a genuine benefit to caregiving families in your community and a great PR tool for your company.
These are just a few of the ideas you might want to explore to help ease the pain of families in your community who are feeling the pressure of being, as one person puts, it, “the baloney in the middle of a smushed-bread sandwich.”
Friday, December 16, 2011
1 year ago