In last week’s blog we discussed the sandwich generation, the group of people who are simultaneously caring for their children and their parents. They could be supporting both generations financially, emotionally, physically, or all of the above. The sandwich generation is a new phenomenon due to people having children later in life. They are navigating uncharted waters, and we are here to support them. Below are 6 tips for the sandwich generation to help them care for not only the generations around them but themselves as well.
- Talk about Money– Have a conversation with your elderly dependant sooner rather than later. You may be able to help find a better savings plan, or at the very least you will be in the know and know what/ if any financial burdens are on you. We know this is not an easy subject to broach, but it is so important to have a clear picture so you can properly prepare.
- Have a Partner – Have a partner to help you manage caring for both generations. It doesn’t always need to be a spouse, but you need another person to help offload some of the work of caring for at least one of the generations. We have clients who are single parents. They depend on a sibling to help with their adult parent care. We also have clients who are married and care for both sets of parents. A dependable partner and solid communication are key.
- Take a Break – When caring for multiple generations it is likely hard to find time for yourself, but it is so important to recharge so you don’t burn out. Schedule time DAILY to plug into what you need physically, emotionally, and mentally. Make your well-being a priority, a non-negotiable. Even just 20 minutes spent doing what you need can make a huge impact on your mental health, and therefore those around you.
- Consider a Multigeneration Home – Are you considering purchasing a new home? Consider a multigenerational model. A multigenerational home can accommodate a family with children and also allow space for a grandparent(s) to live in the home comfortably. There are homes that are described as “two homes under one roof” with separate entrances and small kitchens. Oftentimes, budget-friendly options will have a separate large bedroom with an ensuite on a private side of the house. Either way, ideally it helps with both caregiver duties and the financial obligations that come with it. This allows a family member(s) to maintain some privacy and space but also only be a quick shout away if someone needs to help for any reason. This floor plan has grown in popularity and you will see builders identify space as a “flex” area (ie: huge entertainment area/gym space/large home office or a private room for a loved one you are caring for), knowing you can utilize the space in different ways helps people see the benefit for the short and long term uses.
- Connect with Other Sandwichers – Make it a priority to connect with others who identify with the sandwich generation. Meet them for a walk, coffee, or something stronger to share stories about caring for your parents and kids. Try to find peace in knowing YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Often when caring for two generations, your care will come last… it is not okay. YOU NEED TO PUT YOURSELF FIRST sometimes. It is impossible to pour from an empty cup, but it is so hard to prioritize filling your cup. We know, we get it. Please try.
- Pat Yourself On the Back – You are doing something unprecedented by humanity by caring for both generations, and that’s even before the pandemic. Add a pandemic to that mix, and well you’re a damn superhuman. Wow. We’re proud of you.
We cannot say it enough, people who identify with the sandwich generation are our passion. We are here to help you. Visit our site at sunwaysseniorliving.com to learn how we advocate for the sandwich generation.