Sandwich generation adults care for elders and youngsters

Are You Part Of The Sandwich Generation? Here Are Tips To Help Balance It All Out

Are you caring for your parents and your children simultaneously? If so, you’re part of the sandwich generation. Pegasus caregivers in La Crescenta and elsewhere can help.

Family members have always cared for other family members. Sandwich generation is a relatively new term coined to describe caregivers in the middle. That is, those responsible for the care of generations older and younger than they are.

Generally, the term refers to 40-50-year-old adults. They are helping a parent aged 65 or older and are also raising or supporting their own children. Depending on age, some are caring for grandparents or grandchildren as well.

Caring For Multiple Generations Is A Balancing Act 

The care they provide includes financial, emotional, and physical assistance. While some adults are caring for young children, many are supporting grown children. Young adults are having difficulty in finding jobs and require financial help.

Improved health care means older adults are living longer. As the years pass, their need for assistance can increase. Some just need someone to check in on them daily or prepare a meal.

You may need to:

  • Provide transportation 
  • Monitor medications
  • Accompany them to medical appointments
  • Help with legal or financial affairs
  • Do household chores

Others may need help with the activities of daily living, which can include:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Walking
  • Eating

Depending on age, you may be simultaneously providing all of the above and more to two generations.

Young or old, able or disabled, they all depend on you to be there for them. There is no “right” way, and you cannot allow yourself to feel guilty or inadequate. 

Caring for multiple generations means you’re always balancing their needs. Count on making tough decisions when parent and child need you at the same time. You have to choose, then move on.

You are also balancing more than the needs of your loved ones. You have your job and other family members to consider. Your friends and social activities often fall by the wayside.

Making Time For Yourself Is Essential

Somehow, you manage to make time for everyone. But it comes at the cost of time for yourself. Your mental and physical health can suffer.

You may experience chronic stress, which can lead to:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Poor eating habits
  • Insomnia
  • Digestive problems
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Substance abuse

Without relief, you can end up burned out and in ill health. Then you aren’t able to help those who depend on you. 

One way you obtain relief is through respite care. Respite care means that Pegasus professionals provide the caregiving services your loved ones need while you take a break. Respite care continues for as long as you want and can be daily or occasional.

Self-Care Is The Key To Keeping Your Life In Balance

Caregiving is work. It’s comparable to holding down a full-time job, except you don’t get paid or take vacations. Just because you provide care out of love doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Self-care is essential for your mental and physical health. Tending to your needs may seem impossible due to the demands others place on your time. But as noted above, you can’t care for others if you don’t care for yourself first.

The first step is asking for help. Pegasus respite care allows you to catch your breath. Then you can investigate community services and resources such as your church for additional assistance.

If you are employed, ask about working from home. Perhaps changing the hours you have to be on the job can help. If your job involves a lot of stress, you may have to find other employment, at least temporarily.

Talk to other family members. Often others don’t realize just how much you’re responsible for. Even an hour or two now and then can give you a break.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to reduce your stress. You can find a selection of stress management techniques at sites like these:

American Heart Association

American Institute of Stress

American Psychological Association

Help Guide

Positive Psychology

VeryWell Mind

You will have to experiment to discover what works best for you. As you will probably notice when you scan the sites, everything requires setting aside some time for yourself. Again, you will need to ask for help or respite care to schedule quality time to recharge.

As well as practicing stress management, other essential self-care practices include:

  • Attending a support group
  • Consulting a therapist
  • Exercising
  • Following a healthy diet
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Listening to your body and seeking medical care if needed
  • Socializing

Find someone or something that can make you laugh. Few activities are more healing than laughter.

Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our goal is to keep individuals safe and independent in their home. 

Our caregivers in La Crescenta and our other locations can help members of the sandwich generation balance their lives. Our respite care services will give you a needed break. We’re available for whatever level of home care is required for your loved ones.