The “sandwich generation” comprises those who are taking care of their own children while helping to care for aging parents. Understandably, this dual responsibility can result in significant stress for the caregiver.
It can become challenging to schedule your time properly to allow yourself to be all of the places you need to be each day. For some, this may seem like an unmanageable situation, but below are a few things you can do to help manage the stress.
Allow Time for Yourself
Self-care is essential for the caregiver and the well-being of the entire family. If you are running on empty, you can’t continue to provide the same quality of care and it may lead to burnout.
The idea of self-care has different meanings for people. Remember that self-care can be as simple as stealing 30 minutes for yourself to read a book or take a bubble bath. A half-hour may not seem like much, but it can work wonders on your mind, body, and spirit.
Share the Load With Your Family
Any caregiver needs backup support and reliable places they can turn to. Delegating is essential because it helps to take some tasks off your plate, allowing you to focus on the matters for which you are truly needed.
If your children are older, include them in household chores. Do you have teenagers who can drive? Ask them to help pick up groceries or a younger sibling from extracurricular activities. Finding even an extra few minutes in your day can help relieve the stress of trying to “do it all.”
Remember Imperfection is Alright
When trying to juggle caring for your children, immediate family, and senior parents, you will inevitably become overwhelmed. Sandwich generation caregivers must, at some point, acknowledge that there will be weeks where they do not have balance.
There will be (and need to be) times when your focus must turn to your children and your spouse. On the other hand, there will be weeks when circumstances dictate a need to focus on your aging parent. Let priorities guide where you place your time.
Determine What is Non-Negotiable
Caregivers must be mindful of their needs. Those who fail to address their basic needs will eventually experience burnout or exhaustion. It is essential to remember that you matter too. Take a moment to determine the must-haves or must-do’s that you, as a caregiver, cannot forego for the sake of your mental and physical health. Make sure those things are integrated into your schedule no matter what.
Lean on Your Support System
A healthy support system is vital to the mental and physical health of a caregiver. While friends may be beneficial, it can also be extremely helpful to consider talking to a therapist.
Consistently discussing the stresses of caregiving with friends may eventually have an adverse impact on the relationship. A therapist, on the other hand, is a non-judgmental outlet where you can discuss your stressors.
You may also want to consider joining a local support group for family caregivers. There are many available online and in-person in most communities. Few things can help with emotional turmoil than hearing someone say, “I understand, I’ve been there too.”
As stressful as it may feel right now, remember that this time will not last forever. Often, there will be a change in circumstances when this period of life ends. Realizing that this is only a season of life that will inevitably change can help with the stressors it presents.
Let Us Help
If you’re a sandwich generation caregiver who could use a hand, reach out to us at New Wave Home Care. While serving as an extended family in the home, our caregivers can give you just the break you need. As a licensed home care provider, we use a unique approach that’s all about compassion and connection.
Our compassionate professionals go above and beyond in their dedication to providing care for others while making a difference in the lives of those we serve. We support clients and their families with personalized in-home solutions like personal care, transitional care, specialized care, respite care, medication reminders, dementia and Alzheimer’s care, and hospice support. To learn more about New Wave Home Care now, or to schedule a FREE in-home assessment for a senior in the Pasadena, CA area, please visit us at www.newwavehomecare.com!