This article, entitled "Advice for the Sandwich Generation," comes from Annie Payne, MomsEveryday correspondent from Western Colorado.
If you are caring for your aging parents, while still raising your own children, you are part of the Sandwich Generation, which according to the Pew Research Center, is one of every eight Americans.
Here are some things to consider to make the added responsibility easier for all family members:
If living separately, set specific days or times when you can help your parents. This lets them know what to expect and when to expect you. For instance, Monday afternoons are for grocery shopping, Wednesday mornings for helping with cleaning, and so on.
Try to avoid being at their beckon call. This can cause resentment if the calls start to come too frequently and at inopportune times.
Utilize other family members, if possible, so it’s not a one person show. If their work schedule doesn’t allow for them to help out as often, consider leaving the duties that come up only every so often to them, like winterizing the air conditioner or cleaning gutters.
Do your research! Find out what your community offers for free or at low cost for seniors. Many cities have meal services, rides to medical appointments, and social and recreational opportunities that can help mom and dad stay healthy and connected. Poor nutrition and isolation are two of the top major concerns for the elderly.
Regularly, check-in with each other about your needs. These conversations can be hard. It’s difficult at time to tell your parents “no” and they may be feeling guilty about being too dependent or taking too much of your time. Having those frank conversations will keep everyone on the same page and reduce the possibility of resentment or the feelings of neglect.