The term “Sandwich generation” defines the group of people that care for their children as well as one or both of their aging parents. They are quite literally sandwiched between them. Most people that fall into this category are in their 30s to 50s. They often have careers and marriages to manage as well as their care giving duties. Clearly these sandwich generation caregivers are stretched thin. The purpose of this article is to provide resources and encouragement to anyone who finds themselves in this stressful stage of life.
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
The first thing I suggest is to reach out to your local area agency on aging. They are a federally funded program “established under the Older Americans Act (OAA) in 1973 to respond to the needs of Americans 60 and over in every local community.” They provide countless services to older adults AND their caregivers, and this assistance is not reserved only for those with low income. If there is anything that you need help with: home modifications, meal delivery services, transportation, guidance with medical bills, etc. then connect with your local office. You can find all the info you need by typing in your zip code on the home page of their website. Click here to access the website.
If you are in need of specialized equipment but you don’t know where to start, then this article might help.
This website is great for teaching caregivers how to easily and inexpensively modify items at home in order to make them more accessible for older adults. They teach “crafty ways to re-engineer simple household items.” Click here to check it out. Here’s a look at what you’ll see on the website.
Sandwich generation Facebook group
This group currently has about 1000 members. Several people post each day to offer encouragement and inspiration or to seek advice from peers. I personally learn a lot from these people’s experiences even though I work with this population in and out of the hospital every day. It’s a great place to go for advice. It’s also great if you simply want to be heard by someone who knows what you’re going through. It is a “closed” group so the only people who will be able to see your posts are those that belong to the group. Click here to request to join the group.
Avoid Caregiver Burnout
Caregiver burnout is a real thing, especially when there is added stress being sandwiched between the needs of your children and your aging parents. Here’s an article that may help you discover some ways to decrease the burden and prevent burnout.
I’d also like to invite you to follow my self care board on Pinterest by clicking here. Most of the information that I’ve pinned is from authors other than myself. Still, I trust that you’ll find something that will apply directly to you.
The Caregiver Space
The Caregiver Space provides extensive information and resources as well as a community of like minded individuals that support one another. I must include some text straight from their website, it’s too good not to share.
“Our community of caregivers is a place to ask questions, share experiences, get real answers, or just get things off your chest.”
“No matter what stage you are in your caregiver journey—whether you currently care for someone, are about to, or did it in the past—you’re welcome here. This website is always accessible, so you can look forward to finding comfort and relief at any hour of the day or night.”
This website also provides access to hundreds of articles and resources. Some examples include: gift ideas for your parent who is going to die and alcoholism and addiction in the elderly. You can sign up for a free account to join the community. They have a general Facebook group. They also have several smaller groups that have a narrower focus. For example; groups for people caring for their spouse, young caregivers, male caregivers, continuing your life after being a caregiver, etc. If writing is therapeutic for you, then you can start your own blog on their site. Writing a blog is one avenue for connecting with more caregivers. You can also sign up to be paired with a caregiver pen-pal.
Advocating for the Aging
Here is the shameless plug for my own website. Through various avenues I aim to educate, empower, and equip older adults and their caregivers. The goal is to keep older adults safe in their homes and out of the hospital. You can check it out or connect with me here.
The House on Beartown Road by Elizabeth Cohen is a fantastic read for anyone that identifies as a Sandwich Generation Caregiver. It is a beautifully written memoir about a woman who cares for both her toddler and her father with Alzheimer’s disease. With great wonder, she notes all the things that her daughter learns while her father simultaneously forgets. Her story is funny, touching, sad, and lovely all at the same time. Elizabeth poignantly describes her experience of caring for her father and her daughter in one sentence. “I lived in the small space between their needs.”
National Caregivers Library
The National Caregivers Library is a great, free resource for caregivers. Think of it as a database of information on specific elder care topics that you need guidance. I promise that you’ll also find information on topics that you didn’t even know that you needed to learn about! Here are some examples of topics that are covered in their library.
- Legal matters like evaluating attorneys, healthcare directives, and protection from elder fraud and abuse.
- End of life concerns
- Disease specific information
- Details on how to be the best caregiver for your loved one as well as for yourself.
- Info about medicare and other financial things such as social security and reverse mortgages.
I’d like to offer you one last thing that I believe will allow you to sleep easier at night for knowing that your elderly parent is just a little safer at home. Everything listed in the free guide I’ll email to you is something that can be done simply and for free. Click the image below to sign up.