Do you feel overwhelmed by the ever-increasing demands placed upon you as a member of the Sandwich Generation? From caring for aging parents to managing young children and trying to find time for yourself, it can be hard to know how to properly manage all these stressors.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can make life more manageable while still being available for those important people in your life.
What Is the Sandwich Generation?
The term ‘sandwich generation’ refers to a generation of people who are simultaneously caring for their partners, children, and aging parents.
This can be an exhausting experience, as previous generations have typically relied on each other for support.
It can also strain relationships between family members and put a financial burden on individuals in the sandwich generation. Many members of this group must manage their own jobs and familial responsibilities as well as caring for elderly relatives with declining health, all while requiring personal time for themselves and their close family relationships.
Why Do People in the Sandwich Generation Experience More Stress?
The Sandwich Generation’s unique experience can cause immense stress, as these individuals often have trouble navigating multiple generations with different perspectives. They have competing requirements when it comes to managing finances, honoring obligations to family members, and sacrificing personal time for caring for others.
Additionally, the uncertain health of further aging parents can weigh heavy on sandwich generation members, increasing their levels of stress even more.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when multiple generations are relying on you – understanding why people in the Sandwich Generation experience more stress is important in helping them manage those stresses and make smarter decisions about how they handle their current obligations.
Plan Ahead Financially
Planning ahead is key to ensuring that you can adequately care for your aging parents and children without financial strain.
By creating a prioritized budget that accounts for different costs of care, such as medical bills, housing expenses, and daily necessities, you’ll be able to have an understanding of the out-of-pocket expenses involved – allowing you to adequately plan for regular payments or potential bedsides.
Additionally, it’s important to plan your own retirement savings – including how much to withdraw from savings or put into investments or college funds.
Taking these proactive steps while your parents are aging will make it easier to manage when their care needs increase, as well as give you peace of mind knowing that you’re proactive in protecting their wellbeing and security.
Share the Financial Burden With Family Members When Caring for Aging Family Members
Caring for aging parents isn’t easy; the physical, mental, and emotional toll on one person can quickly become overwhelming. Fortunately, help is available – it’s called family. Sharing the burden of caring for elderly parents amongst siblings or other loved ones can help to lessen the strain that comes from being a sole caregiver, especially if your parents have degenerative diseases.
Delegating tasks like grocery shopping, medical bill paying, housekeeping tasks, rides to appointments and more can all work to lighten an individual’s load while allowing their own family members to form meaningful connections with their aging parents. Taking this approach not only alleviates the stress of one person but also fosters loving relationships between all involved.
Hiring help to care for an elderly family member can be a daunting task. When seeking assistance, you want to ensure that you are getting someone who is experienced and trustworthy.
Look for qualifications such as certification in geriatric caregiving or medical degrees from reputable institutions. Ask for references from past employers. If the person is already known to you, talk with their friends and family members to get an understanding of how well equipped they are to handle the job.
Take your time in making this important decision – it pays off in providing your loved one with peace of mind and optimal care from an expert caregiver.
Additionally, you might also consider hiring a child care professional. Still, this can be an overwhelming task, especially when prioritizing the safety and well-being of your kids. It’s important to research potential daycare centers or nannies thoroughly — start by asking family, friends and colleagues for referrals.
When you have a few in mind, create a list of questions to ask regarding their experience, qualifications, hours and rates. Furthermore, always arrange an in-person meeting with each hire; this gives you the chance to judge their attitude towards children and their commitment to safety practices.
Finally, don’t forget to request references from past employers or families they have worked for previously — these can give you valuable insight that will help you make your decision.
Talk to Your Employer
As a member of the sandwich generation, you’re likely constantly juggling multiple roles and responsibilities. By talking to your employer about specific ways they can help, it could alleviate some of the stress and pressure you’re facing on an everyday basis.
There are changes they could implement to make balancing home life and work life a little easier, such as offering more flexible hours or providing additional support in terms of childcare or eldercare. Moreover, by knowing that your employer is willing to accommodate your lifestyle needs and has your best interests at heart, you’ll likely feel even more empowered to achieve greater things both inside and outside of work.
Despite its rewards, being a member of the sandwich generation is often exhausting and full of stressors. To manage these stressors, it is imperative to prioritize self-care and have outlets for managing emotions.
Consider scheduling time for hobbies and leisure activities to reduce stress levels, engaging in a form of therapy if necessary, or creating a support system of friends, family members, and professionals who can lend support and guidance when needed.
Although responsibilities will never disappear entirely, prioritizing your own needs can help maintain mental wellbeing when dealing with any additional pressures you may experience in juggling the demands of multiple generations.
Allowing yourself time to heal and nurture your mental health can help you become better able to take on the tasks associated with being a sandwich generation member.