Raising and caring for children can be hectic. Between helping with homework, transportation to soccer games and dance rehearsals, and meal preparation, it can seem like you hardly have time for yourself.
Now imagine caring for an aging parent, as well. On top of homework, soccer, and meals, you also have transportation to doctor appointments, help with housework, and your parent’s physical well-being to navigate. Welcome to the sandwich generation.
With senior living communities throughout San Antonio, Texas, Franklin Park® understands the challenges of caring for both children and parents. We’re sharing some ways to balance these responsibilities and avoid sandwich generation stress.
What is the Sandwich Generation?
The sandwich generation is made up of individuals who care for both growing children and aging parents. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly half of American adults have both an aging parent and a dependent child, and 15% of these adults provide financial support to both their parents and their children.
While the moniker of “sandwich generation” is literal, light-hearted even, it fails to fully grasp the emotional and financial toll that this position can create. Individuals in the sandwich generation often feel overextended as they try to keep up with the various demands asked of them. These caregivers will often put the needs of their children and parents before their own—creating a climate of constant stress and exhaustion.
How to Manage Sandwich Generation Stress
Caring for children or parents can be stressful separately, but it can be even more overwhelming when you have to do both. Because of this, those in the sandwich generation experience extreme levels of stress. In the long run, this stress can cause a significant toll on mental health and well-being, ultimately affecting relationships, physical health, and the ability to provide effective care.
Identifying and managing stress can be extremely valuable for those in the sandwich generation. By properly recognizing stress and controlling it in healthy ways, you can begin to focus on your own well-being, making you a stronger caregiver.
One of the biggest stressors caregivers face is time. With all the responsibilities and things that need to be done, it seems that there’s never enough time in the day. Figuring out how to balance the care responsibilities between your children and your parent can lead to problems with scheduling, transportation, and energy levels.
An effective strategy to combat the issue of time is to combine your care responsibilities. When possible, bring your child to your parent’s house or doctor’s appointments, or bring your parent to your child’s activities. Combining your responsibilities is a great way to not only manage your time and tasks but also to involve your parent and child in each other’s lives, creating a stronger family bond.
Maintain Healthy Habits
We all know that it can be easier to pick up fast food for dinner on the way home or stay up late watching TV to unwind from the day. While it can be easy to develop these unhealthy habits, they can be difficult to break. By maintaining healthy habits and behaviors, you can prevent feelings of stress and anxiety.
Once again, you can use your care responsibilities in partnership with implementing healthy habits. Have your child help you cook dinners in the evenings, and go on daily walks with your parent to ensure you both are getting enough physical activity.
Ask for Support
It’s no secret that the sandwich generation faces a lot of stress and responsibilities. However, it’s important to remember that self-care is essential. In addition to caring for your parents and your children, it’s vital to take care of yourself. It can easily be forgotten when you are so dedicated to caring for others, but taking time for yourself to do the things you love can refresh and rejuvenate you to provide the best care that you can.
Accepting help looks different to everyone. It could be asking a friend to take your child for the weekend so you and your spouse can spend time together. It could also be joining a support group for other stressed-out sandwich generation caregivers. Or, it could look like considering the possibility of transitioning your parent into a senior living community.
Senior Living Options
It can be challenging when your parent requires more care and attention—especially when you feel like you cannot give it to them. We all want what’s best for our parents, and it can be emotional when we can’t provide it.
Fortunately, senior living communities, such as Franklin Park®, are an excellent solution for both aging adults and family caregivers. Franklin Park® offers a variety of care options in the San Antonio, Texas, area, dedicated to providing upscale, supportive care. Franklin Park communities will give you peace of mind knowing that your parent is receiving professional care and attention in a luxurious, engaging environment.
The sandwich generation faces a unique set of stresses and responsibilities, but it doesn’t need to be harder than it has to be. By managing stress, finding innovative ways to combine care and take breaks, and seeking professional care, you can find a healthy and tranquil balance.
Franklin Park® Senior Living has resort-style senior living communities throughout the San Antonio area. Contact our team to learn more about our care options and services, and to see if Franklin Park® is right for your family.