(NewsUSA) - Many adults today are juggling the demands of work, household upkeep, finances and school-aged children, while also caring for an aging parent. This group, known as the sandwich generation, may feel more like a panini -- pressed and grilled between the weight of their caregiving duties. According to a recent survey by Home Instead, Inc., 62% of those in the sandwich generation feel they must choose between being a good parent or being a good daughter or son. These pressures are intensified by economic uncertainty and the impact of the pandemic.
“Caregiving can take an emotional, mental and even physical toll on someone, and it can be hard to divide attention and resources to provide the best care to loved ones of different ages,” says Lakelyn Hogan Eichenberger, Ph.D., gerontologist and caregiving advocate at Home Instead. “While caregivers may feel they have to do it by themselves, it's best to avoid the superhero mentality and recognize where support is needed.”
Hogan Eichenberger offers five ways to help manage stress and survive the sandwich generation press:
1. Seek support. To help manage the pressure, seek out a group where you can share your experience with others who are in a similar situation and talk through ideas for respite and support. Consider virtual and in-person support groups for caregivers in the sandwich generation or groups geared toward specific conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
2. Prioritize yourself. It’s easy to view your role as a caregiver as your entire identity. In fact, 63% say that caregiving makes it harder to care for themselves. Set aside time to address your mental and physical health. Aim to eat healthy, exercise regularly and get seven to eight hours of sleep.
3. Line up supportive care. Professional care services can offer much-needed respite and ensure your parent or aging loved one is safe while you’re not there. Many professional caregivers trained specifically for elder care can assist with tasks such as bathing and housework. Family members or friends can also provide relief. For example, you might team up with other parents to carpool or line up play dates.
4. Consider delivery services. As a caregiver, it can be challenging to find time for typical errands. Save valuable time by subscribing to delivery services like Instacart for groceries or your local pharmacy for medications.
5. Communicate with your employer. Seventy-seven percent of caregivers say they have had to make major or minor changes to their work to meet commitments. Help your manager and co-workers understand the responsibilities in your personal life, and discuss a plan that works for you and the team. Ask about benefits or services your employer offers, such as an Employee Assistance Program.
For more information and practical resources to help, visit: https://www.homeinstead.com/sandwichgen.