The Sandwich Generation Takes a Big Bite
As a member of the Sandwich Generation, there's a lot to chew on. Monday we focused on the practical issues as your parents decline and need more support from you, the family and their community. Now here are some ideas specifically for you that may impact your perspective during this difficult time:
Caregiver groups can be a lifesaver for you. These consist of others who are part of the sandwich generation and understand exactly what your life is like. Led by a group facilitator, you'll get support, information, suggestions. You may even laugh a little as you share experiences.
You are more prepared than you think. Look back and track the strengths that have worked for you in the past when you have faced difficult circumstances. For the comfort and wellbeing of you and your parents, put them into play now.
Take note of the changes your family is experiencing. Remain sensitive to what your parents are going through. And come to terms with your own feelings of frustration, anger, sadness or loss. Address unfinished business with your siblings, resolve the issues and get them involved.
Your attitude and behavior impact the challenges. Recognize the emotional shifts you need to make as well. Talk to friends who are having similar problems with their parents. Seeing the situation from another perspective can normalize your reactions and ease the transition.
Trust that you will find solutions to the problems. Once you have identified the situations that need to be dealt with, prioritize the specific issues as you adjust to your feelings. Be sure to find others to help, especially family and community resources. And take care of you as you sustain your parents.
Pay attention to your own needs. As you assume greater responsibility for your parents' care, make nurturing yourself a priority. Renewal gives you more energy and resilience. You'll find that being positive and centered - emotionally stronger - you're more ready to meet the challenges.
This can be a very stressful time in your life. Rely on your coping strengths when you take smaller steps than you would like. Know that by your acts of kindness you'll bring greater joy and richness into your parents' lives. When you spend intentional time with them relish their appreciation, which you deserve. And savor the power of the example that you set as your own children watch how you support their grandparents.