School drop-off. Client meetings. Doctor’s appointment with mom. School pick-up. Finish that work presentation. Pick up dad’s medication. Cook dinner. Help with homework. Go to sleep. Repeat.
Pretty hectic day, right? It may seem like this chaotic schedule doesn’t occur in real life and only exists in comedy sitcoms. But, in reality, this could be a typical day for someone in the sandwich generation - those who take care of their children, their aging parents, and (when time permits), themselves.
With over 47% of adults in the sandwich generation, Brickmont Assisted Living knows the importance of understanding and approaching this unique situation. We proudly offer assisted living, memory care, and respite care services throughout Atlanta, Georgia, and we’re sharing strategies for balancing your care responsibilities while managing the feelings of sandwich generation stress.
Am I in the Sandwich Generation?
By technical definition, the sandwich generation is a group of “adults in their 40s and 50s [who] have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child age 18 or older (Pew Research Center).”
Statistics aside, the sandwich generation can encompass a wide range of roles, ages, and scenarios. When it comes down to it, if you’re in the sandwich generation—you’ll know. You may have an aging parent who is starting to require more assistance and young children who are still in school. Or you may have an elderly parent who needs a full-time caregiver, and you’re still financially supporting your grown child. In addition, you’re trying to manage your own life—your job, your relationships, your friends, and yourself.
Sandwich Generation Stress
Due to the various demands, obligations, and responsibilities, people in the sandwich generation experience more stress than any other age group. Individuals in this group often find themselves overextended, struggling to stay on top of everything that needs to be done. Eventually, this stress can take a toll on work, relationships, and even physical health. Ultimately, too much stress can influence your ability to take care of your parents and children.
Managing Sandwich Generation Stress
Because they have so many people relying on them, caregivers in the sandwich generation need to recognize and manage stress in healthy ways. In the long run, staying ahead of stressful feelings can save time, energy, and frustration. Here are some tips on managing the stresses that can come with being in the sandwich generation.
Skip The Fast Food
When you’re trying to juggle work, doctor’s appointments, and school, it can be very easy and tempting to stop and pick up fast food or pop in a frozen meal for dinner. While this may seem like a simple solution to save time, it can do more damage than good. Not eating enough nutrient-dense foods can result in fatigue, headaches, and a general fogginess—which isn’t exactly ideal for a busy caregiver.
Instead of processed foods or packaged meals, take some extra time one night a week to prepare some healthy meals and snacks. This way, even when you’re on the go, you have healthy options to choose from. Read our blog, Quick, Easy, & Healthy Meal Prepping Options, for a little inspiration!
Schedule “Me Time”
With so many responsibilities on any given day, it can be challenging to find time for yourself. However, self-care is essential in managing sandwich generation stress; it promotes overall health and wellness, improves relationships, reduces depression, and so much more.
To practice self-care, start by setting aside a block of time every week that is your time. If you need to, ask another family member or neighbor to look after your parents and send your child to a friend’s house. This way, you can focus on yourself without any distractions or worries. Next, do something you love with that time. Go to a yoga class, get coffee with a friend, take a bubble bath, or simply take a nap. After, you’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated to return to your daily routine!
Ask For Help
One of the biggest stressors that members of the sandwich generation face is that they feel like they’re alone. It can be difficult to reach out for help—some may see it as an admission of failure or weakness, or some don’t want others involved in their personal lives. However, many sandwich generation caregivers don’t ask for help because they simply don’t know the options and resources available.
Help can come in various forms: from hiring a part-time caregiver to utilizing a respite care program—like the one offered by Brickmont Assisted Living. Respite care is a short-term, no-commitment option that provides care to older adults on a temporary basis. This option allows you to take some time to yourself without worrying how your parent is faring. While in respite care at Brickmont, guests are immersed in a lively and comforting environment full of professional caregivers and peers.
Alleviate Stress at Brickmont
Brickmont Assisted Living understands that the stress sandwich generation members face can be overwhelming. We encourage you to follow these steps to manage and relieve your stress levels. We also encourage you to consider respite care with Brickmont Assisted Living. With communities throughout the Atlanta area—including Milton, Woodstock, Alpharetta, Acworth, and John’s Creek—there’s a convenient location for everyone.
For more information on respite care services at Brickmont Assisted Living, contact us!