Nurses May Be The Double Decker Of The Sandwich Generation
Pegasus skilled in-home caregivers in Mount Washington and elsewhere offer one-on-one services to their patients. Some individuals require 24/7 care, and others only need minimal assistance. Career home health care nurses often provide care to their own family members in addition to their professional services.
The Sandwich Generation Cares For Young And Elderly Family Members Simultaneously
Approximately 47% of individuals in their 40s and 50s are part of the sandwich generation. The sandwich generation is defined as individuals caring for both older and younger family members simultaneously. That’s usually their aging parents and their dependent children.
However, many grown children have moved back home. Their sandwich parents often provide financial and emotional support. As well as their grown children, the sandwich generation may also have dependent children to care for.
At the same time, they have the responsibilities inherent in caring for their elderly parents. They may also have a career. And don’t overlook nurturing relationships with their spouse and friends.
One expert describes three kinds of sandwiches, as follows:
- Traditional: Individuals simultaneously caring for elderly parents and grown children.
- Club: Those caring for aged parents or grandparents, adult children, and grandchildren or younger children.
- Open face: A non-professional caregiver for the elderly.
Juggling everything can lead to high stress levels for caregivers. As an in-home health care nurse, you may assist the elderly or the youngsters. Or your services may be providing respite care for the family caregiver.
Nurses Provide Professional And Personal Health Care
You may also be one of the many professional nurses who also provide healthcare for your family members. That is, you yourself are also part of the sandwich generation. You’re an additional layer on top, making a double-decker sandwich.
Depending on the level of healthcare your family needs, you may be working 24/7. In addition, the pandemic likely increased the difficulty of meeting those needs. For example, you may be responsible for frequently testing family members.
It’s all extra toppings on an already full life. Extreme stress may be affecting your emotional, social, and physical health. It can impair both your professional and personal caregiving ability.
Whatever happened to your work-life balance? If you’re like many nurses, you put the needs of everyone else ahead of your own needs. Maybe it’s time to engage in a little self-care.
You can start with getting more help from family members. You’re the professional, but not everything needs a professional to do it. You might be surprised at what others can do if you ask them for assistance.
Learn to say no. Set boundaries. Practice keeping the “tyranny of the urgent” from controlling your life.
Making Time For Yourself Is Essential
Although it may seem impossible to carve out time for yourself, doing so is essential for your well-being. Remember, “finding time” rarely works. You have to “make time” for what’s important.
When you try to find time, you put yourself after everyone and everything else. You rarely get your turn. And if you do, you’re too exhausted to take it.
When you make time, you commit to a specific activity. You give up some other activity to keep your commitment. Doing something for yourself, like self-care, takes priority over doing something for someone else.
You already know the basics of self-care. These include good nutrition, adequate exercise, and getting enough sleep. But there are lots of other ways, some very simple, in which you can reduce stress.
Try something new. Or do the same old thing in a new way. Anything done a little differently can help lower your stress level.
Even a tiny change can be refreshing, if not humorous. For example, spend the day opening doors with your left hand if you’re right-handed or vice-versa. Concentrate on that, and you’ll approach what’s on the other side of the door with a clear mind.
Negative Self-Talk Destroys Your Confidence
As a healthcare nurse, and as part of the sandwich generation, you have a ton of professional and personal responsibilities. There may be times when you can’t do them all perfectly. You may even make mistakes occasionally.
Your inner critic is quick to leap on anything less than perfection. It starts condemning your every action and destroying your confidence. Its weapon of choice is negative self-talk.
It’s essential to catch negative self-talk and stop it as quickly as possible. One way is to ask yourself whether you would criticize a friend the way you just did to yourself. Try talking to yourself as a good friend in a gentle, but constructive, manner.
Realize also that your inner critic is prone to exaggeration and catastrophizing. It’s usually out of touch with reality. Remind yourself that you’re a member of the double-decker sandwich generation, and silence your critic with positive self-talk.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our skilled in-home caregivers in Mount Washington and our other locations tailor their services to meet individual needs. Career home health care nurses join the sandwich generation when they also provide health care for their families.