Have you ever been in the position of taking care of your children while also taking care of your parents/in-laws? If so, you might be a part of the “sandwich generation.” Miller (1981) was the first researcher to name this population. She wrote that individuals who fall in this generation are unique because they often give resources and services without them being returned. Many researchers note that this population faces challenges such as emotional strain, financial burdens, health problems, and little self-care (Chisholm, 1999; Finnegan & Ferron, 2015).
So how do you take care of your children, your parents, and yourself all at the same time?
Well, for starters, self-care can be extremely beneficial! Below is a list of ways you can help to increase overall well-being and combat some of the stresses that come along with this caretaking position.
- Ask for Help- Asking for help can be a huge time saver! If your children are old enough, get them to help with chores or other household activities. If financially able, you can hire in-home services to help with normal day-to-day activities.
- Do Stuff for You!- I know that it may seem impossible to do anything for yourself while in the middle of caregiving for children and parents, but it is essential to remember to refill our tanks now and then! Burnout is a word commonly used to describe the threshold at which your tank hits empty. This can be very damaging because you have nothing left for you or others, therefore burning out. TAKE TIME FOR YOU!
- Remember to be Present- When you are splitting your time and energy, focusing on multiple people, it can be difficult not to be constantly thinking ahead. Remember, not everything has to be done all at the same time. It is alright to let yourself enjoy the moment and to be present within that particular activity.
Caregiving for others is a big task and can often feel overwhelming. Having to be a caregiver for multiple generations can make it even more difficult! However, by implementing these steps, it can make the process a little bit less challenging for you and your family.
Chisolm, J. (1999). The sandwich generation. Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, 8(3), 177- 191.
Finnegan, K. O. & Ferron, L. (2015). Helping the sandwich generation find work-life balance: Learn about the support and resources available for clinicians caring for both grown children and aging parents. Wound Care Advisor, 4(1), 31-34.
Miller, D. (1981). The 'sandwich' generation: Adult children of the aging. Social Work, 26(5), 419- 423.
Editorial Team. (2018). The sandwich generation- Caring for your children and your parents. Retrieved from https://parkinsonsdisease.net/caregiver/sandwich-generation/
E. Dickinson (2015, April 2). 6 Self-care tips for the sandwich generation. Retrieved from https://www.homehelpershomecare.com/blog/2015/04/6-self-care-tips-for-sandwich-generation
Quinn-Szcesuil, J. (2019). Self-care for the sandwich generation. Retrieved from https://minoritynurse.com/self-care-for-the-sandwich-generation/