What is the Sandwich Generation? Beyond visions of creamy peanut butter and bread, the “Sandwich Generation” is a term, growing in its usage, related to the increasing number of people who are caught between the needs of multiple generations; those caring for their own children or grandchildren while simultaneously caring for their aging parents. While research has found that interaction between multiple generations is incredibly beneficial, family caregivers feeling pressed by needs of all those both younger and older, leading to tension and chaos. According to Carol Abaya, a journalist and speaker, two different types of living arrangements may be found within the “Sandwich Generation”: First, the “Traditional Sandwich,” where one is torn between caring their aging parents and their own children, or second, the “Club Sandwich”, where all three, or even four, generations are found living under the same roof. Either way, the primary caregiver, or caregivers, are left to attempt to figure out how to balance all those involved, without neglecting one or the other.
In balancing the varying needs of multiple generations, we would like to offer a few tips to benefit family caregivers in their juggling act. Here are our suggestions to minimize the impact of living in a Sandwich Generation-type situation:
- Meet with other family members who can help out. Dividing a seemingly impossible task into bite-sized pieces among several different people can help make a to-do list much less daunting. Regular checking-in to make sure it is working is key, as well as being open to input and ideas from those who can help. Delegating responsibility, even down to the smallest members of the family, will ensure that no task gets left undone.
- Set aside time to rest, recharge, and reconnect. Oftentimes caregivers are so consumed with completing all that needs to be done that they will forget to take time for themselves or their loved ones, damaging relationships and their own motivation. Setting aside time for catching up with friends, spending one-on-one time with children, or a date night with a spouse will remind them that they are not forgotten and refresh the caregiver.
- Know when to ask for help. Sometimes, the pressures of caring for many different people is simply too much. Admitting that the needs of those around you is more than you can handle is not a sign of failure or of weakness. Look around and discover some of the many resources available to you and your loved ones and be open to exploring them as they may end up benefiting you and your family greatly.
If you want more information about senior care, our team at Tealridge Assisted Living and Memory Care retirement community is always available as a resource for you and your family. Contact us here to connect with one of our team members and schedule a tour of our community.