If you are raising a child and caring for an aging parent or relative, then you are among the one out of seven Americans aged 40 to 60 living in the sandwiched (between) generation. This segment in the U.S. population is expected to get bigger and bigger as boomers reach retirement age and find they haven’t planned well enough for their senior care.
The majority of adults in the sandwich generation are employed full time in addition to their caretaking responsibilities. Without any resources or assistance people can easily become overwhelmed and as a result their productivity at work decreases. One person only has so much time and energy and when forced to choose between family and career, family usually wins.
It’s tough for the sandwiched caregiver. You are pulled in many directions. Give yourself an award because you are juggling a variety of responsibilities; a job, a spouse, the doctor appointments for both child and older adult, meal preparation, shopping, sport events, school activities, not to mention finding time to care for yourself and your marriage. According to latest data from AARP, 40 percent to 70 percent of caregivers of older adults have clinically significant symptoms of depression. Family caregivers may also be at higher risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer. And elderly caregivers have a higher mortality rate than non-caregivers of the same age. The demographics of our society may make it impossible to avoid being sandwiched, but there are steps for those “sandwiched” to take to protect their physical and emotional health.
Tips for the Sandwich Caregiver
- Ask for help – seek family support
- Take care of your health
- Learn to balance work and family life
- Hire a personal caregiver
- Set aside time for yourself
- Find respite care
Navigating the demands of caregiving for both your parents and children along with balancing a career is a heavy burden. Managing this can be more reasonable when you are armed with knowledge, resources, and a support system to lean on … When you ask for our help, you will begin to feel that your personal relationships with loved ones are enhanced; bringing you a sense of personal satisfaction and well-being.