Surviving and Thriving as a Sandwich Generation Caregiver

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Are you part of the “Sandwich Generation?” This is the group of Americans juggling the demands of their own lives while trying to meet the care needs of their children and aging family members. According to US News, a 2012 Pew Research report found that about half of all U.S. adults in their 40s or 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child.

Caring for Older and Younger Generations

Both aging parents and children at home need assistance with daily activities, doctors’ appointments, and rides. A family caregiver’s stress level can go up when they have to manage therapies and treatments that must be administered at home. It can be stressful to manage your household, hold down a full-time job, and manage caregiving responsibilities at the same time. The required extra care can be quite time-consuming, like taking on a part-time job in your free time after your regular employment. Over time, it can take a toll on the family caregiver.

Caring for Yourself

As a caregiver, it is essential that you are proactive in caring for yourself to reduce your stress. Here are a few tips:

  • Prioritize your self-care. Ensure that you have time in your schedule for good sleep, regular exercise, healthy eating, and relaxation. Even small changes, like a daily 10-minute walk during a lunch break, can make a difference in your physical and mental health.
  • Seek expert assistance and advice, including care management, counseling and respite services available through community organizations. Don’t wait until you are in crisis to get help.
  • Maintain open communication with your aging parents, so they feel in control of the situation and you can problem-solve together.
  • Make it a team-effort by incorporating other family members into the required caregiving tasks. When others offer to do something to help, give them a specific job to do.

The most important thing that you need to remember is that you don’t have to do it on your own. Family caregivers can struggle with this because it takes time to tell other people how to do things “the right way,” but it this investment of time is worth it. It can also be hard to give up control when you are used to being the main organizer and caregiver for the family.  Remember that it does take a village to ensure the well-being of children, older family members, and the family caregiver.

Support Resources for Family Caregivers

If you are carrying the burden of caring for a loved one, rest assured knowing that local resources are available to help. These local non-profits offer the assistance that San Diego family caregivers need by providing support groups, counseling, respite care, adult day care and/or educational classes:

Windward Life Care is here to assist with personalized help for your family’s situation. Contact our team to learn about an individualized care plan for your loved one, as well as the local resources that can help you.