Tips for the “Sandwich Generation”

Tips for the “Sandwich Generation”

By Grace Sailor

I am a member of the “sandwich generation.”   The dictionary definition is: “a generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.”  I had heard this term in my social work classes, but felt that I would for sure have my children raised before my young and healthy parents would need assistance – I was wrong.

Due to an unforeseen terminal illness, my father passed away this year at the age of 62 and my mom contracted a serious and life altering infection from a routine surgery. My siblings and I, ages ranging from 27 to 41 and raising families of our own, have now unexpectedly taken on a caregiver role with our mom.   We are helping her on her long road to recovery and assisting with the care of our 25-year-old brother with Down Syndrome.

Life sends us in unexpected directions, and families are an integral part of our lives. Events that happen to our spouse, children, parents, siblings, or extended family can impact all family members. To me, family is what life is about though – no matter what the challenges. Even though we want all of our family memories to be joyful, that is not always the case. Many times it can be painful, exhausting and difficult – but it is worth the journey.

Most likely all members of a family will at one time or another find themselves in a caregiver role. It is surprising to note that according to the Pew Research Center, just over 1 of every 8 Americans aged 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent.  In addition, it is estimated that between 7 and 10 million adults are caring for their aging parents from long distance.

So you might be a little better prepared than I was, here’s a link to a site that gives helpful suggestions on preventing caregiver burnout and provides insights on how to maximize the success of the relationships.  With some planning and some effort we can maximize the positive outcomes and make these necessary transitions through life go more smoothly as well as be more enjoyable.

Tips and support for Family Caregivers

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