It’s a real term! Here’s the Wikipedia definition… “The Sandwich Generation is a generation of people (usually in their 30s or 40s) who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.” This term was added to both the Merriam-Webster and Oxford English dictionaries in 2006.
Maybe you are reading this and realized that you are a member of the Sandwich Generation. Pat yourself on the back, because you my friend are a superhero! While there are certainly benefits of living in a multi-generational family, there can also be incredible stress on the primary caregiver. Caring for children, plus the needs of an elderly parent can be a recipe for burnout. In many families, the primary caregiver is also working a full-time job.
Below are 5 tips to help prevent caregiver burnout:
1) It helps to know that you are not alone. There are some excellent books available that address the issues you face as a caregiver. I like “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” by Roz Chast and “The Caregiver’s Survival Handbook: How to Care for Your Aging Parent Without Losing Yourself” by Alexis Abramson.
2) Join a support group. If your parent has Alzheimer’s, there are many excellent support groups that meet in churches and in Assisted Living/Memory Care communities. The Alzheimer’s Association website offers information on support groups.
3) Give yourself a break. Ask a friend or family member to take over for a few hours so you can do something for yourself. If you have no one to help, consider a Home Care service or check out Adult Day Care centers in your community. Some memory care communities have drop in care one day a week.
4) If your senior family member is still active, be sure to check out your local senior center. There are lots of wonderful activities and would not only give you a break, but would be a way for your parent to engage with other seniors.
5) Take care of your health! It’s easy to slip into a routine of putting yourself last. Try to establish a good sleep routine, eat healthy and drink plenty of water. Share with your family doctor that you are a caregiver, and bring up any concerns you may have.
If you need help with locating Home Care or Caregiver resources, please reach out to me. If you decide it’s time to explore other options, I would be happy to help you locate Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care and Group Homes. My services are always free to families.