Caring for any person, young or old, can be a draining, complicated task. If you are caring for both an elderly loved one and a young child, then you are sandwiched between two difficult and tricky tasks. These caregivers are often called sandwich-generation caregivers. People in this position can deal with some of the most emotionally draining and stressful situations.
Spreading yourself too thin by attempting to care for too many people at once could lead to an unintentional reduction in the quality of care you provide. To take some stress off of your shoulders and still sleep peacefully, knowing that everyone is taken care of, consider moving your elderly loved one to an assisted living facility. At Rocky Mountain Assisted Living, we can provide them with the attentive, compassionate care they deserve.
What Is the Sandwich Generation?
You rise at the crack of dawn. You make sure the kids eat breakfast, have their homework in their hands, and get to school. Then, you check on your mom and administer her medication. You ask her how she’s feeling and try to get her to eat. Then, you fill out the forms for your child’s schools and make a call to your mom’s doctor about her new prescription. Before you know it, it’s midday, and you have to encourage your mom to eat lunch. You haven’t eaten a thing all day.
The above scenario is one of many possible situations of the sandwich generation. This phrase is used to refer to people who are middle-aged and caring for both elderly parents and young children at the same time. It is a unique phenomenon because your children need a lot of care and attention. Meanwhile, your parents have been independent your whole life and are suddenly becoming increasingly dependent on you.
Effects of Being in the Sandwich Generation
Caring for both the young and the old can have incredible emotional and physical impacts on your life. First of all, watching your parents age and becoming more and more dependent on you for things like eating, moving, and cleaning themselves can be hard to come to terms with. Meanwhile, watching your kids grow up lightning fast the way they do and becoming more distant from you can also be hard to handle.
Having to care for both your children and your parents can also take a physical toll on you. For instance, you might often find yourself putting everyone else’s needs before your own and forgetting to take care of your own nutritional and physical needs. You might also become incredibly stressed and anxious, which can both have physical ramifications and cause your health to decline.
In addition to the emotional and physical effects, caring for everyone at once can decrease the quality of care that you give to those in your life. For example, if you have to take your kids to events and make sure they are doing everything they need to do, you might not be able to provide the socialization and personalized attention that your aging parents need. Regular social interaction is vital for elderly individuals and helps them feel less like a burden and less isolated.
Q: What Are Sandwich Generation Caregivers?
You are a sandwich-generation caregiver if you’re in middle adulthood and you’re caring for both aging elderly individuals and your children. With so many caretaking responsibilities that drastically vary and require extreme attention to detail, you could end up taking on too much and forgetting to care for yourself or making mistakes that harm your loved ones. Being in this unique position is no easy task, and it’s useful to seek out alternative caregiving options.
Q: Where Did the Sandwich Generation Come From?
A: Coined by Dorothy Miller and Elaine Brody back in 1981, the term “sandwich generation” was usually used among people like social workers and gerontologists who were working with elderly individuals. Originally, it was used to refer to people with little kids and aging parents, so it typically applied to people who were in their 30s and 40s. However, today, in the 21st century, we often see it used to refer to anyone in their 40s to 60s, even if their kids are young adults.
Q: What Are the Implications of the Sandwich Generation?
A: If you’re in the sandwich generation, it has huge implications for your loved ones and your own quality of life. Your children are becoming increasingly independent while your parents are becoming increasingly dependent, but both need an incredible amount of attention and care. That leaves little time to take care of yourself and your own responsibilities, which may lead to struggles with financial stress, emotional distress, and problems attending to your health.
Q: How Would the Sandwich Generation Impact the Life of an Individual in Middle Adulthood?
A: There is no end to the ways that being in the sandwich generation can impact your middle adulthood. Contrary to a lot of social narratives, middle adulthood is not the end of your adult life, and you can still live a young, vibrant life. However, if you’re sandwiched between two incredibly taxing caretaking roles, you will have less time to live your own life, let alone take care of your own physical and mental health.
Are You Considering Making a Change?
If you are a sandwich caregiver, you are likely dealing with more stress than one person can handle. You may want to consider an assisted living home for the elderly loved one in your life. With this step, you can rest assured that everyone in your life is cared for, taking some of the weight and stress off of your shoulders.
When you choose the right home, you can have peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are receiving top-quality care and that you can now give more attention to the young ones in your life and yourself. Our team here at Rocky Mountain Assisted Living can help. Contact us today or visit Silver Maple assisted living home in Highlands Ranch to see for yourself.