We’ve all heard the term before, “The Sandwich Generation”, the 20 or so million Baby Boomers who are in the incredibly difficult role of still raising their own children while also being called upon to help out their parents. Whether you are a full-time caregiver for a parent or in-law, or just starting to see that Mom and Dad need a little extra help around the house, it can be a difficult time. Figuring out how to balance all the responsibilities and demands on your time is a challenge and for many, it comes with feelings of guilt that you are not giving anyone everything they need.
For those coping with these challenges, we offer you these tips:
The organization is Key. With so many demands on your time, the best way to keep track of it all is to stay organized. Keep lists and a calendar to help you keep it all straight. Right things down, keep detailed notes. The more you can look at a road map of your day and the week ahead, the less frazzled you are likely to feel.
Get Educated. Learn all you can about your family member’s illness or the aging process in general. The more you know the better prepared you will be.
Balance Time between the Kids and Your Parents. It can be hard to manage everyone’s expectations, so schedule a time for everyone. Designating specific times when your attention is devoted to your kids or your parents will help you to focus and avoid feeling that you aren’t giving your all to anyone.
Ask for Help. You can’t do it all. It can be hard to ask for help, but it is important to do. You need relief, so ask for it. Get help from family, friends, or a professional caregiver.
Don’t Forget Yourself. You need to remember to care for yourself. Take a break at least once a week and do something good for you; even if it is just stopping for a cup of coffee and to read the paper. Do something that helps you feel better. You deserve it.