Posted by Intuition Girl
Are you part of the “Sandwich Generation“? This particular age group (ranging between 40 to 60) often finds themselves caring for both an aging parent and a child (and sometimes grandchildren, too). It is not that humans are not capable of multitasking and caring for those they love; but all too often, we as adults become caught in the crossfire of what Associate Medical Editor of the Mayo Clinic, Edward T. Creagan, M.D. refers to as the “perfect storm”. If you are one of these individuals, you know exactly to what he is referring. You are struggling with your own emotional, physical, mental and spiritual needs whilst at the same time trying to fill your immediate family’s individual needs as well as caring for your aging parents. It can become quite the task just waking in the morning to take your drive to work while all this chaos is happening in your life. Whew! By day’s end, you are ready to pack a suit case and run away to some deserted island. You are not alone.
Maybe the senior in your life depends entirely upon you, but there are ways to help alleviate some of the stress that being a “sandwich” child brings. Between work, the kids, (and the grandkids), your spouse, your household, and your parent(s), you may feel like you are simply running around in circles with no end in sight. The first step to relieving stress is to eliminate those items on your list that are unnecessary for you to do. For instance, if you are taking on extra projects at work that are not required of you, perhaps you need to pull back the reins on those. Or if you are the only one doing the family shopping, perhaps you can have your adult children pick up grocery items needed in the household.
What are you doing for you? Remember, it is important to care for yourself first. If you are caring for everyone else and not tending to your personal needs, you will find yourself in a world of hurt. When you are a sandwich child, you tend to neglect your physical issues, emotional stresses, and other relationship challenges. If you feel like you are carrying the weight of the world upon your shoulders, then you must make it a point to give yourself some “me-time”. It is not selfish to take time for yourself to get a massage or simply curl up on the sofa with a good book. Meditation or deep-breathing exercises would be helpful as well helping you to center yourself and regain lost balance in your life.
Additionally, there is some positive news. Now may be the time to research senior co-housing. Today, more and more independent seniors are turning to one another to meet each others’ needs. One case that is becoming a strong trend in these United States is that of co-housing like “real-life Golden Girls“, Nancy McPhaul and Nancy Fairbanks out of Saratoga Springs, NY. As aging adults still choose to be independent, many are like Ms. McPhaul and Ms. Fairbanks, who have elected to share expenses and enjoying each other’s company in the same home. It saves money and enables each to help one another without the physical assistance of their adult children or grandchildren. This would be an admirable and cost-effective opportunity to help mom or dad still maintain independence without making them feel unwanted or uncared for. I know it is a challenging situation, but if you involve your parent in the decision-making of these options, it will help alleviate both yours and his (or her) stresses and fears.
There are also senior home service centers that will pitch in to assist when you cannot. They offer transportation, medicine reminders, assisted living services, and so much more. The nice aspect of these service providers is that you can acquire their help as often or as little as necessary. Remember, you are not abandoning your parents, you are helping them.
In the end, you need to create time for yourself so that you can begin living a joy-filled life and still love and care for those around you without running yourself down in the act of doing so.
Joan Marie – your Intuition Girl
© Caught in the Crossfire – 2013
By Joan Marie the Gift, Intuition Girl
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