Sandwich Generation Caring for Parents and Children

By 7  am on

If you are one of 20 million adults caring for your children and your aging parents at the same time, you are part of what’s called the “Sandwich Generation.” According to the Pew Research Center, one in every eight adults across the United States and Canada, ages 40 to 60, is both raising a child and caring for a parent.

The New York Times reports that 53 percent of those in the Sandwich Generation feel forced to choose between being there for their children and being there for their ailing parents. Almost all of these family caregivers feel that they are spread too thin.

So how do you balance this juggling act and keep your sanity?

  1. Organize paperwork – Make sure all legal documents for your elder parent are updated and easily accessible. This includes designating a trustworthy power of attorney in case your parents are no longer mentally capable of making decisions. A health care directive is also important and shows who will make any and all medical decisions.
  2. Be realistic about what you can do – Remember it is perfectly normal to feel that you are not doing enough to meet everyone’s needs. Do the best that you can and those around you will likely understand.
  3. Ask for help – Hire a caregiver from a reputable home care agency so that you can take a break from caregiving, even if only for a few hours a week. Geriatric Care Managers can also relieve some of the pressure you are feeling. Don’t hesitate to contact other family members or friends to enlist their help.
  4. Make time for yourself – Even if it’s a ten minute walk around the block or a quick soak in the tub before bed, it will help maintain your sanity. Find a special place where you can clear your mind, relax and focus on you.
  5. Laughter is the best medicine – No matter how dire the situation may seem, keep a sense of humor and an optimistic outlook.

Although caring for the young and the old at the same time can be challenging, Sandwich Generation caregivers often feel that providing care to those they love enhances the relationship with the care recipient and gives them a sense of personal satisfaction.

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