America’s sandwich generation – Generation X – includes men and women in their forties and fifties that are faced with the challenges of caring for both children and aging parents at the same time. It’s our fastest growing demographic.
What does it take to work a full time job, raise a family, and care for parents living with medical complications, all while trying to maintain a healthy relationship with your partner or spouse? And attempt to have life balance and a little me time too?
Something’s got to give. And unfortunately for Gen X, they’re finding there isn’t a lot of wiggle room.
What can you do?
Start planning … now
Remember when you decided to have kids and your thoughts drifted to college days? For many in the sandwich generation, it isn’t a concept of IF they’ll face caregiving from both sides as much as it is WHEN. You can see it every time you visit your parents.
Instead of delaying the process – out of sight, out of mind – start planning for it now. Ask the “what if” questions before they begin. Do your parents have long term care insurance? Do you? Do you have flexibility in your working environment? Are your parents financially secure? While your parents might not be ready to have a discussion, just a little research on your own can give you a sense of understanding. And start the process of finding resources to help you along the way.
Trust your instincts
Let’s face it, we all know when we’ve reached our saturation point. When enough really is enough. The problem lies in the fact that we sometimes push beyond when times get tough. Of course, you’re going to be there when your child or parent needs you. But who’s going to be there for you if you’ve had enough?
Ask yourself a few questions on a regular basis:
- How can I spend my time wisely with my child? My parents?
- How many hours are too much to spend in a caregiving role?
- How do I fit time in for my marriage?
- How do I fit time in for myself?
- When was the last time I sat down?
Start recognizing when you’re stretched too thin. Listen to that internal voice that says, “enough.” Then work hard at asking and accepting help.
Don’t go it alone
Why hand off something we can do more efficiently ourselves? We ask ourselves that all the time. It’s easier to do things instead of asking for help. And that’s where trouble begins. That’s where overwhelm starts.
Help can come in many ways. It can start by attending a class to make you more aware. Or reading a book to open up your eyes. It can come from calling in a resource to be there when you can’t. Or relying on someone who can help you in different ways.
That’s where in home care has helped many people in situations like yours. It’s not just the one on one care, but also the ability to discover things that can help you along the way. It can give you access to new concepts, new strategies, new resources.
It’s a partnership as you walk this new path – it’s not all about you. Asking for help isn’t about your shortcomings, but instead, it’s about strengthening your process. It’s establishing a strategy that works for all.
What could make your life easier today?