Can’t-Miss Tips for Managing Compound Caregiving

Managing Compound Caregiving

According to the AARP, “A whopping 24 percent of caregivers care for more than one adult person.”(1) Compound caregiving is defined as when a family or professional caregiver tends to the needs of more than one person at a time. It can be very tricky to find the right balance between caring for one’s own needs as well as the needs of multiple others. Our can’t-miss tips will help by providing time management techniques, assistive technologies, and stress management strategies.

1. Get a Medical Alert Device for Seniors

One tool that can make managing caregiving responsibilities a little bit easier is a medical alert device for the elderly. An emergency alarm button for seniors can ensure your loved ones are protected by giving them 24/7/365 access to a certified emergency response agent who can supply immediate assistance if they fall or experience any type of emergency. This is an especially helpful device if the seniors you are caring for do not reside in the same home, or if you are struggling to find some time for yourself because your loved ones need monitoring.

A medical alert button can give your loved one someone to contact for help even if you are tending to your other loved one, at work, out running errands, or sleeping. It is also simpler to use than a cell phone as they only need to press a single button rather than hitting multiple numbers or searching through contacts. When they press the button, they will be able to talk to an emergency response agent to let them know what kind of help they need. The agent will send immediate help and stay on the line until care arrives.

2. Create a Senior Caregiving Plan

 Time Management

According to Research Gate, “Caregivers averaged 39 hours per week fulfilling their primary caregiving tasks, and an additional 12 hours per week on the compound caregiving role.” (2) Compound caregiving can consume a lot of time. This is why optimal time management is so important.

To start off, it may be helpful to make a list of all of your loved ones’ needs. This will help to stay organized and help reduce the energy needed to remember everything you have to do. Write down things such as:

  • Daily pills your loved ones need to take
  • Doctors’ appointments
  • Personal hygiene tasks
  • Meals
  • Diet plans
  • Fitness plans

You will also want to determine what tasks they can still manage on their own, and what things they need help with. You will likely need to prioritize to ensure essential tasks are completed.

Make a Weekly Action Plan

Once you have a list of your loved ones’ needs, you can use that list to make weekly caregiving action plans. Use a daily planner or calendar to create a daily tentative schedule for yourself. Prioritize the most important tasks and tasks you haven’t done in a while. Doing this at the beginning of the week will help you save time and energy later. When other obstacles come up or you lose track of what needs to get done, you can simply reference your plan to get back on track.

Use Home Fall Prevention Strategies

If your loved ones have trouble getting around, using fall prevention strategies can help you keep them safe. This is especially helpful when compound caregiving as you may not be able to safeguard both of your loved ones at the same time. Install senior safety equipment in your home such as grab bars, handrails, adjustable height beds, chair lifts for stairs and ramps. You will also want to remove hazards that could cause injuries such as throw rugs, damaged floors, damaged furniture, and clutter.

A medical alert pendant for seniors can help keep your loved ones safe when you have other responsibilities to tend to. If they happen to fall or experience any other emergency that requires attention, they can press the panic button to be instantly put in contact with a certified emergency response agent who will analyze the situation to get them the help they need.

A fall prevention alarm can provide them with some extra protection. This type of fall alert system includes a built-in fall detection sensor that automatically contacts an emergency response agent when it registers a fall. This is especially useful if your loved one has an injury or condition that prevents them from pressing a button. They can talk to the emergency response agent through either their base unit or a 2-way speaker in mobile fall alert devices to get whatever help they may need.

3. Get the Help You Need

Realistically, caregiving for multiple seniors is extremely difficult. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, “59% of caregivers report using at least one type of assistance on behalf of their care recipients. The most common types of support caregivers seek out include the following: (3)

  • Modifications to the care recipient’s home: 34%
  • Requests for financial assistance resources: 28%
  • Respite services: 15%
  • Transportation services: 23%”

Ask Family, Friends, and Neighbors for Help

Family, friends, and neighbors can be a reliable source of help when you need it most. It may just take a simple phone call or text message to get some relief if you are overburdened with your caregiver responsibilities. Keep a list of responsibilities that people can help you with from time to time. Use your list of responsibilities and figure out what responsibilities must be taken care of by you, and which responsibilities you can delegate to those who are willing to help.

When you ask friends and family for help, or if they offer on their own, you can let them choose from the list how they would like to help. Giving them a choice can also encourage them to help you more often.

Hire a Professional Caregiver

Another option is to hire a professional caregiver. If you have difficulty finding family, friends, and neighbors who can help you, a professional caregiver can help relieve some of your responsibilities. Professional caregivers already know how to do most tasks they will need to perform and are typically trained to handle a variety of emergencies that may arise while caregiving for your elderly loved ones.

Use Senior Caregiving Technologies

There are plenty of technologies available to help you with a variety of senior caregiving responsibilities. For instance, there are budget apps that can help you manage your loved one’s finances, planners that can help you remember appointments, apps that help you manage stress, and even apps to help you find caregivers when you need them.

Utilize Assistive Devices

There is also a variety of safety equipment that can help improve seniors’ safety and daily lives as they age in place. Some examples include:

  • Canes and Walkers
  • Adjustable Height Beds
  • Special Eating Utensils
  • Grab Bars
  • Shoehorns
  • Medical Alert Devices

Medical alert technology for seniors is an essential tool that allows seniors to get help wherever and whenever they need it. With an Alert1 emergency alert system, your loved ones can access professional help 24/7/365. Even if you are at work, sleeping, or tending to other responsibilities, you can be rest assured that they will have someone they can quickly and easily contact at all times.

With an on-the-go medical alarm device for the elderly, you can add extra protection for seniors who enjoy going out during the day. If they need help while they are away from their home, the GPS tracker can pinpoint their location.

A medical alert system with fall detection can also provide extra protection. The fall detection sensor within the device will automatically contact an emergency response agent when it registers a fall. This can be helpful if your loved one suffers an injury that prevents them from pressing a button or has a mental condition such as dementia that causes confusion.

4. Take Care of Yourself

One of the most difficult aspects of compound caregiving is carving out time to take care of yourself. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, “11% of family caregivers report that caregiving has caused their physical health to deteriorate.” (4) You can become so concerned about meeting your loved ones’ needs that you start to neglect your own.

Don’t Feel Guilty

Don't feel guilty about taking some time for yourself. It is not selfish, it is necessary. It is vital to take care of yourself to avoid caregiver burnout and to be able to continue your caregiver responsibilities in the long run.

Manage Caregiver Stress

If you are feeling stressed due to your caregiver responsibilities, look for ways to manage your stress. Take time to do things you enjoy so you can maintain your health and mood. This may include socializing with friends, participating in hobbies, spending time in nature, or releasing your stress through therapy.

Stay Fit

Keeping up with fitness is another stress management technique. It is also essential to keep yourself healthy. Be sure to take some time to exercise and release pent up energy. You may even consider doing exercises with your elderly loved ones. Fall prevention exercises can help them reduce their risk of falling. Exercise will help you both stay healthy.

If you do decide to exercise together, consider getting your loved ones an on-the-go medical alert watch. This medical alert device includes a pedometer as well as a medical alert button. It can help your loved one track their steps so they can meet their fitness goals and keep them safe by providing them with a response center to contact for help whenever needed.

Eat Healthy

Compound caregiving can get tiring. Keep your energy up by eating a healthy diet that will provide you with the fuel you need to take care of multiple people. Some foods that will help keep up your energy include: (5)

  • Almonds
  • Popcorn
  • Peanut Butter
  • Salmon
  • Bananas
  • Kale
  • Oatmeal
  • Pistachios
  • Humus
  • Greek Yogurt

With a healthy diet, your caregiver chores won’t tire you out as easily. You will also feel better and be more productive throughout the day.

Sleep Well

You also need to get adequate sleep to keep your energy up. When you get good rest, you can reduce stress, improve your mood, keep your immune system strong, and get along better with the seniors you are taking care of. These benefits can make your caregiving responsibilities much more manageable.

Join a Senior Caregiver Support Group

Caregiver support groups can help you find those in a similar situation as you. You can get caregiver tips you may not have thought of and make friends who understand what you are going through. You can find senior caregiving support groups online or on social media.

Be Aware of Caregiver Burnout

According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion. Stressed caregivers may experience fatigue, anxiety, and depression.”(6) Learn how to read your body’s signals so you know when you may be reaching caregiver burnout. Take breaks and give yourself some time to take care of your own needs.

Don’t Forget the Rest of Your Family and Friends

It can be easy to become consumed by compound caregiving responsibilities. You can get tunnel vision and only focus on fulfilling your loved ones’ needs. However, you likely have a spouse, children, and other people in your life who could also use some of your attention as well. If they have a special event coming up and want you there, hire a caregiver for the day so you can spend time with your other loved ones.

Set Boundaries

If you are a compound caregiver, have a job, and other people to take care of, you have more than enough responsibilities to fill your day. You may feel like you are being pulled in multiple directions much of the time. You will likely have to start setting boundaries and saying no to some tasks. While you don’t want to miss out on all other special events, you may have to decline invitations at times to focus on more important matters.

5. Try to Find a Balance

The best way to manage compound caregiving responsibilities is to continually try to find the right balance. Once you do, you can fall into a routine that makes your caregiving responsibilities more manageable.

Continue to Look for Elderly Caregiving Tips

Senior caregiving may not go quite as planned, especially when you are caring for more than one senior. You can expect to hit many obstacles and detours in finding the right balance of caregiver responsibilities and managing the other responsibilities and commitments in your life. Just take each day one step at a time until you find the balance that works for you and your loved ones. 


1 Singleton, Amanda. Sept. 2020. Family Caregiving. AARP. The Nonstop Juggle of Compound Caregiving.

2 Perkins, Elizabeth Ann. Haley, William E. Nov. 2010. Rehabilitation Psychology. ResearchGate. Compound Caregiving: When Lifelong Caregivers Undertake Additional Caregiving Roles.

3,4 Family Caregiver Alliance staff. n.d. Resources. Family Caregiver Alliance. Caregiver Statistics: Health, Technology, and Caregiving Resources.

5 Appold, Karen. Oct. 2017. Diet & Nutrition. Everyday Health. 10 Healthy Foods That Boost Energy.

6 Cleveland Clinic staff. n.d. Disease & Conditions. Cleveland Clinic. Caregiver Burnout.