Just one of the things caregivers say to themselves daily.
THE SANDWICH GENERATION refers to middle-aged individuals who find themselves supporting both aging parents and their own children. The sandwich generation is named so because they are effectively "sandwiched" between the obligation to care for their aging parents—who may be ill, unable to perform various tasks, or in need of financial support—and children, who require financial, physical, and emotional support.
Research estimates that about one in seven Americans between the ages of 40 and 60 are simultaneously providing some financial assistance to both a child and a parent. With the added pressures of managing one's own career and personal issues, as well as the need to contribute to one's own retirement, the individuals of the sandwich generation are under significant financial and emotional stress.
In some cases, these individuals are having to postpone their own retirements because of the added financial obligations. Also, some members of the sandwich generation are further overextended by caring for their grandchildren.
MANAGING STRESS - Managing the care for another person can be physically and mentally exhausting. The stress associated with managing care for multiple people with varying needs, such as children and aging parents, can be overwhelming.
Research studies have shown that caregivers of multiple generations often develop chronic stress, which can lead to serious illnesses like high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression.
Those in the roles of primary caregivers cannot do it all by themselves. People within the household can and should share the burden of care, but this is not always the case. The primary caregiver should seek assistance outside the household when they are unable to help. Options include extended family, friends, in-home assistance, and adult day health care.
SELF-CARE - Do you remember the primary rule in an airplane when the oxygen masks drop down? Put yours on first! Unless you take care of yourself, you won't be able to help others. Wise words.
The same sentiment goes for caregiving - it is important for caregivers to not forget about caring for themselves. They need to recharge and refuel. They can delegate tasks to others, find time to do things they enjoy, join a support group, and seek help from a counselor. Self-care activities can be whatever makes them feel good. Some examples include getting a massage, spending time with friends, visiting a salon, or just having a few quiet hours alone.
Counseling and support groups can provide the caregiver with the space to discuss their feelings, share stories, and gather advice to help them manage their life and stress. Counseling can help with the anxiety, stress, and depression associated with caregiving.
Caregiving is hard. And it can be hard to find a balance between work and home that also gives caregivers time for themselves. We know that caregivers who don't make themselves a priority run the risk of increased stress, illness, burnout, and exhaustion.
SarahCare Adult Day Health Centers provide daytime medical care and supervision for seniors so their caregivers can work, run errands, make appointments, or just take a moment for themselves.
SarahCare centers have unique programs, services, and activities that are designed with your loved one's individual needs and interests in mind. Membership at an adult day health center is a great way for your loved one to make new friends, remain active, and enjoy life again.
SarahCare also cares for the caregiver by facilitating caregiver support groups. These groups are open to the public and all are welcome. In addition, some locations hold support groups just for male caregivers, as they often face unique challenges as the primary caregiver to female loved ones.