Are you a member of the Sandwich Generation?

The term "sandwich generation" was coined to describe adults who are caring for children and/or grandchildren and their aging parents.

Now more than ever, caring for aging relatives is likely to be combined with child rearing. Trends of later in life marriage, later in life child bearing and longer life spans for elders mean more and more people are squeezed between the conflicting needs of children and aging parents.

Elders who need care are more likely to experience a significantly longer period of illness that requires their adult child's support.

You may also to be in your peak earning years and have the additional pressure of balancing busy careers with your caregiving responsibilities.

Trying to do it all yourself can lead to caregiver stress and burnout.

To make your sandwich easier to swallow, consider making these changes:

  • Invest the time to become clear about your values around caregiving and what really matters to you. Use your values to decide which activities are most important to you. Identify any non negotiable items that you must or want to do yourself.
  • Bring the family together to discuss how things are going to change. Everyone from children to elders may need to change and will certainly need to adjust their expectations.
  • Look for ways to bring the generations together to help each other.
  • Look at the impact that your sandwich generation role has on your finances. There are other ways available to finance education for your children and pay for your parent's care. Make debt reduction and retirement savings a priority.
  • Prioritize your time to activities that connect you to your family members and when possible outsource the more routine tasks to outside services and resources.
  • Remember that you are communicating important information about your values to your children when they see you caring for aging relatives and help you care for aging relatives.

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