Research indicates that one out of eight Americans belongs to the “sandwich generation”.
What is the sandwich generation? If you juggle raising your kids and taking care of your aging parents at the same time, you are a part of the sandwich generation.
This can be a tough load to carry, being “sandwiched” between two very different, yet very essential sets of responsibilities. Chances are you find yourself running from activity to activity, yet never being able to accomplish everything on your list. You may feel guilty when helping one when you have another commitment for the other.
The following tips will help you survive the sandwich generation.
Do not be afraid to ask for help. Caring for elderly parents can be exhausting, especially if they have health problems. Yet this is your time to be a mom or dad. Don’t let caregiving for your elderly parents take over your need and desire to raise a healthy family. If you have siblings near by, work out schedules to take some of the load off of you. Make sure you are there for the important parts of your kids’ lives, even if it means hiring a caregiver to be with your parents. And talk to other parents in your community that may be facing similar issues. Its always nice to have a neighbor nearby you can quickly call to pick up the kids when you’re running late.
Help your parents retain their independence. Instead of doing everything for them, encourage them to do those things that you know they can do without assistance. Your parents may be aging, but they want to be independent – so do not go shopping for them if they are still capable of doing it on their own. Help them make decisions instead of taking it over for them. And have them hire help when necessary instead of doing it – for instance, gather flyers for lawn care services and help them choose the best for their circumstances. Focus your efforts on the areas where they truly need your help.
Do not quit your day job. Not only do you need the financial freedom that your job gives you, you need the time away. Do not rush to move in with your parents at the first sign of their aging – keep your job and keep your own independence.
Make time for yourself outside of work and caring for your parents and kids. Take a weekend getaway to recharge and refresh yourself. If you cannot get away for a few days, seize an hour or two throughout the week that is all about you. Your parents and your children will be much happier if you are happy, too.