There are many caregivers who find themselves pulled between caring for younger loved ones such as children, and their elder parents or other elder family members. The demanding role of being a caregiver spreads across all racial, gender, age and ethnic boundaries.
Common Stressors Affecting the “Sandwich Generation Caregivers:”
- Splitting time between my children/family and my older loved one.
- How much of my time is too much time in each care giving role?
- How do I find the time for my marriage?
- How do I find the time for myself?
- How do I keep the generational peace between my kids and my elder loved one?
- How do I find the resources that I need for my self and my loved one?
- How do I combat my feelings of isolation?
- Guilt, guilt and more guilt for not having enough time to accomplish all that “should” be done.
Caregiver Tips to Help Sandwich Generation Caregivers:
1. Hold a Family Meeting
Discuss the many different tasks that need to be accomplished each day or week. Set a task list for family members. Set mutual expectations of how tasks will be accomplished.
Encourage children and elders to communicate with one another. During the family meeting, make sure that all family members have a chance to talk about their thoughts and feelings.
3. Ask for Assistance
Ask for assistance when you need it. You may be surprised at who has been waiting to help you.
4. Take Time to Care for Yourself
- Take time every day to “check-in” with yourself, even if it is only 10 minutes. This should be your protected time. Enjoy this time by reading, listening to music, exercising or whatever you like to do.
- Remember to laugh at the funny things in life.
- Take time to be “in” your marriage.
- Listen to your body. If your body is telling you to slow down, or that something is not right, seek medical advice.
Lois Young-Tulin, PhD, is an Assistant Geriatric Care Manager at Complete Care Strategies