If you’re providing care and support for your aging parents at the same time you’re raising your children, there’s a term for you, and surprisingly, it’s not “overworked” or “stressed.”
Although these feelings are common and expected, the official demographic description is “sandwich generation,” which is a place where more and more residents of Sherman Oaks and elsewhere find themselves in as they provide care for the generation above them, including those receiving palliative care, at the same time they’re raising the generation below them.
The team at Accredited Home Care understands and appreciates this role that more and more ‘sandwich’ members in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and even 60s are playing. Sometimes it’s out of necessity – their parents might not have the resources or abilities to live on their own or don’t want to move to an assisted living facility. Sometimes family members simply feel obligated to help especially if people live nearby and have fairly good relationships.
It can be a financial commitment as well as something that takes a good deal of energy, especially when children or teens may need extra supervision or care, or seniors may be suffering from dementia or chronic health problems.
But in many cases, the experience can feel rewarding and can be a good chance for multiple family members to spend quality time together. But it can also be tiring since caregiving and child-raising both have their own challenges all on by themselves.
That’s why Accredited Home Care offers a variety of services to ease some of the burdens on caregivers, whether it is a temporary or a permanent living arrangement.
For instance, we’re happy to work with any family situation or schedule, including offering to provide round-the-clock or scheduled care for any client or coming over a certain number of hours each week for different services.
We’re also able to provide respite care through our regional centers, where one of our trained employees will be happy to provide temporary care and supervision for your loved one or loved ones while you take a needed break to run errands or do anything you want to do outside of your home. Even a few hours can give you an opportunity to catch your breath and recharge your batteries (try a massage or pedicure!), knowing that they’ll be safe and in good hands until you get back.
This option can help avoid burnout, reduce stress, and may even be appreciated by the person you’re providing care for who may also welcome some time apart.
This summer is a perfect time to learn more about your options, whether you’re a member of the sandwich generation or could be so in the future.
The month of July has been designated Sandwich Generation Month, and an opportunity for caregivers and family members to learn about available resources for care in their communities.
Another benefit of the month is that caregivers can learn that they’re not alone, and many of the feelings, stresses, and concerns they’re feeling are also felt by others in similar situations. This can be especially affirming – many family members like being able to help but sometimes may feel overwhelmed sometimes, such as occasions when either a parent or a child may need more attention than normal (an adult is sick or a child is having problems at school, for instance.)
The month is good to let people know that the numbers in the sandwich generation keep increasing.
In 2013, the Pew Research Center reported that 47 percent of American adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 years old and are also raising children. About 15 percent of these were providing financial support to both groups at the same time.
The center also found that the numbers of people providing care for both generations keep growing, which could take the form of direct health care, financial support or emotional support.
Why respite care
Accredited Home Care believes respite care can help families in many ways.
For instance, there’s nothing wrong with families offering different levels of care to loved ones and other family members, but challenges can certainly come up if a family has limited finances and is trying to incorporate new people into their household, or has a busy work/school schedule that barely has time for children needs let alone parents.
People are also living longer, although they may be prone to mental health or physical health problems as they age. At the same time, children aren’t leaving home as early as they used to; traditionally many would move out and get their own place in their late teens or early 20s, but often, many still want to or financially need to stay at home in their late 20s or longer.
So these situations where you feel like you’re the center of the sandwich are when you need to also focus on you and your self-care. In order to avoid burn-out, find opportunities to give yourself a break including respite care or other options from Accredited Home Care.