It is the natural progression of life that as we age, so do our parents. As we balance our full time jobs, relationships and raising children, we are now also faced with the daunting prospect of caring for our parents.
The sandwich generation are the caregivers that are caught in the middle. In the middle of raising their own families, and working, they also have their elderly relatives relying on them for care.
In days of old it was normal for a parent to be put into a care home, or to move into retirement living and on a Saturday their families would come to visit. The standard of care was high, or so we thought, and the standard of living was good. Everyone was able to continue living their lives without worrying too much about where grandma was going to live when she started showing signs of dementia, or it turned out she was just too frail to look after herself.
We are awash with carers who are too thinly spread to spend any quality time with our loved ones, and the prospect of paying privately just doesn’t bear thinking about.
So, a lot of people just like you and me, are dealing with caregiving challenges alone and taking care of their family members. Be that by moving them into their family home or by keeping them in their own homes and balancing their visits with that of the carers. As people wait longer to start their families these days it’s only natural that many people will find themselves in this position, sandwiched between a rock and a hard place.
What is terrifying about it, though, is that it can be so stressful that carers find themselves entrenched in depression. Sadly it’s very common that a caregiver’s relationship with their patient turns abusive as the caregiver loses patience and starts to wilt under the pressure. It can also turn the other way, where the parents start to turn abusive toward their child who has now taken over the role as parent.
So, how can you ensure you are raising your children well, giving your elderly parents the care they need while managing your job and your own state of mind? If you are one of the sandwich generation and you are struggling in your role as caregiver (or even if you know someone who fits the bill), there are plenty of things that you can do to get some respite for yourself.
If you don’t already have the assistance of a carer then you need to look into whether that’s possible and how it could work for you and your family. This in itself could lighten your load and relive some of the pressures surrounding dealing with your elderly parents- especially if your parent is prone to medication mixups. There are a lot of local options when it comes to support, so don’t feel bad about looking into it because the better you feel the better placed you will be to assist your family.