The sandwich generation refers to those with a living parent or parents as well as children. In many ways, this situation is fortunate because not everyone’s parents get the opportunity to enjoy their grandchildren.
However, as some of our loved ones age, they often need to be cared for in some capacity. Raising children and caring for an elderly loved one can add stress and present challenges.
Handling both situations simultaneously can put immense pressure and stress on a person, but there are several ways to alleviate some of this. If you find yourself balancing the care of people from entirely different generations at the same time, these tips could save you a few headaches.
Assess the Severity of Situations
When you are under intense stress, everything can feel like a crisis. The truth is unless someone is in immediate danger, it is probably not a crisis. It is essential to step back, take a deep breath, and put the situation into perspective. Allowing yourself to take a moment to calm down and reflect upon the problem will not only help you have a more appropriate reaction but also prepare an appropriate response.
Ask for Help
It can be difficult to know when you need to ask for help, but with so much on your plate, it is important to identify when it’s time to reach out to someone. If you cannot find help from other family members or friends, knowing where else to look is helpful.
Schools often have after-school programs your child could participate in. This gives you some extra time to yourself or to care for your elderly loved one, and it is also an excellent opportunity for children to experience something new.
There are lots of services available to alleviate some of the responsibilities that come with caring for a loved one. Home care can be a great option if you are looking for full-time help or just a bit of a break. These services will come to your loved ones and provide them with the care they need, either full-time or as a respite service.
Include Your Children in the Care
No matter the age, it is important for children to understand the importance of being there for their loved ones. Even small tasks like playing a game with grandma or bringing grandpa a glass of water teach children how to care for others.
This is also a great time for your children and parents to spend quality time together, and having everyone in one place will make it easier on you.
Put Yourself First
When so much of your time is devoted to caring for those around you, it can be challenging to remember to make time for yourself. Remember to devote even a small amount of time each day to doing something for yourself. Even half an hour a day to go for a walk, read a book, or focus on self-care can make a big difference in relieving some of your stress. You will be a better caretaker for everyone when you feel less overwhelmed.
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Bio: Jenn Walker is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beach goer operating out of Southern New Jersey.