Hi Everyone: Sometimes a thought comes to me from something someone said to me and I want to share it and hear what you think too.
I was talking with Steve the other night and the subject of stress came up. I told him that we have Danny living with us and I was dealing with a Dad whose Alzheimer’s went downhill after my Mom died a few years back.
Do I have stress? Uh, yeah..
Steve made the comment “isn’t your age called the sandwich generation?” I said I thought so but didn’t really think much about it as we continued through our workout.
I have been thinking about it a lot though since he said that to me.
What exactly does “sandwich generation” mean?
I found this definition on investopedia.com
“The sandwich generation is named so because they are effectively “sandwiched” between the obligation to care for their aging parents – who may be ill, unable to perform various tasks or in need of financial support – and children, who require financial, physical and emotional support.”
You could have put my picture next to this definition.
Dan and I are constantly trying to balance kids, parents, our marriage, work and ourselves. More often than not we find ourselves tired, cranky, emotionally drained and feeling pretty hopeless at times and like nothing we ever do is good enough.
If any of you feel this way, you can raise your hand now.
Some of the things we struggle with are:
- How do we split time between children/Dan and my Dad?
- How do we find the time for our marriage?
- How do we find the time for ourselves?
- How do we find the resources that we need for our self and our loved ones?
- How do we combat feelings of isolation?
- Guilt, Guilt and more Guilt for feeling angry and resentful when we are feeling overwhelmed.
Here are some of the tips we use to help try and stay balanced.
- Take time for yourself. This is my number one tip. Have you ever been on an airplane and the flight attendants tell you if the oxygen masks have to come down place the mask over your face first and then assist your children. Why? If you are in no shape to care for yourself then you can’t help anyone else out. Take at least 15 minutes a day to do something that relaxes and replenishes you. This is not selfish, it is self-care. You need to be your best to care for others and if you are sick or exhausted you won’t be of help.
- Seek help- I contacted several Senior Centers and finally got in touch with a woman at one that was a life saver. She pointed me in so many directions to help keep my Dad active and that was affordable. I had to call several people before I got to this wonderful lady, but don’t give up! My Dad now has a driver to take him places so he can get out, he has a woman that drives him to church and he visits an older gentleman who can’t get out of his house. This was all set up with the help of people and it has made a huge difference in all of our lives.
- Communicate/ Find Support- Obviously, we are not alone in this situation. There are millions of other people in the exact same situation. Find some support either through a community, friend or therapist if needed. It’s hard to carry this burden alone and you don’t have to.
- Laugh – You know what they say “Laughter is the best medicine.” I called my friend, Pam, the other day and both she and I were having a tough time with our elderly parents. We got on the subject of us when we were younger and silly and in no time we were laughing and reminiscing about good times. Our situations didn’t change with our parents but laughing sure made me feel better. I know things can be tough, but I do really do feel that there is always something good too. You may have to look and find it, but it’s there.
This is a link to another great article about The Sandwich Generation.
Question of the day: Are you in the Sandwich Generation and what do you do to balance it?