Women are waiting longer to give birth, according to statistics on birth and natality compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics. Currently, the average age for women who deliver their first baby is 26.6 years. This means that a growing number of first-time parents are members of the "sandwich generation," a generation that is simultaneously providing care for newborns and their elderly parents.
Getting ready for the delivery of your new baby is an exciting, and, nerve-wracking time, but the pressure is even more intense when you are preparing to bring your new baby home to live a multi-generational household. The following tips can help you better manage the stress.
Get Everyone's Finances Squared Away
Having a baby is expensive. Even with insurance, some costs aren't covered, and unexpected expenses typically crop up during baby's first year of life. This means you can ill-afford additional demands on your finances. Take steps now, before the baby arrives, to secure your family's financial future and eliminate one of the biggest worries new families face: how to pay for everything.
Plan how you will spend your household income. Dedicate a portion of your budget to saving for emergencies and unexpected costs. Use online tools to help your parents find the best Medicare plans to pay for gaps in coverage between Medicare, deductibles, and co-pays. When your parents have enough coverage, it decreases the need to tap into your bank accounts to help them cover their healthcare.
Childproofing and Mobility Aids
As an expectant parent, you've probably already received a lot of advice about the need to "childproof" your home before baby's arrival. Don't stop at adding covers to your electrical outlets and safety latches to cabinets and doors. Be on the lookout for additional ways to increase the safety and comfort of your home for everyone of all ages.
Keep your floors and entryways clear of obvious clutter, such as toys, magazines, and electrical cords, as these items can cause young children or older family members to slip and fall. Upgrade your security system so that you're alerted when a door or window is opened. This way you know when a child or other family member is outside, unsupervised. Install adaptive aids such as chairlifts, walk-in tubs, guard rails and more to improve your elderly parent's mobility and lighten your load so you have more time to devote to caring for your newborn!
Improving the safety and usability of your home now, before the arrival of your child, is just as an important part of preparing for the delivery as is eating nutritious meals and getting enough exercise. Making your home comfortable and enjoyable for everyone transforms it into an oasis that renews your spirit rather than adding to your worries.
Line Up Help Before You Need It
Even if you plan to remain at home with your new baby and aging parent, unexpected events, such as illness, can occur. In these instances, you will need help caring for your family. Reduce the pressure by building a list of folks you can turn to now, before you need them. In addition to building a list of providers for childcare and eldercare, consider hiring someone (at least temporarily) to help out around your house. You could also "trade shifts" with other parents. If friends or family members have offered to help you with cooking, cleaning and other household chores, take them up on it!
As an expectant new parent, it's easy to get overwhelmed by everything that you need to do to get ready to give birth to a new baby. This is especially true when you are also caring for elderly family members in your home. A little planning before the delivery, however, can go a long way to helping you be less stressed out and better prepared for the challenges that come with living in a multi-generational household!