Caregiving and Raising a Family
Many people who are considered family caregivers fall under the category of “The Sandwich Generation.” This term essentially means that caregivers are in the position of caring for their immediate family and caring for their aging parents. They are “sandwiched” in between two generations, balancing difficult responsibilities. In the U.S., almost half of middle-aged adults have aging parents over 65 years of age, as well as children. Around 15% of middle-aged adults are providing financial support to their aging parents and children. Because the number of aging individuals is on the rise compounded by the amount of young adults who are struggling to gain financial independence, the level of burden for future middle-aged individuals is likely to be high. 
If you are one of these people “sandwiched” between two generations, then you may already be familiar with the level of responsibility this double-sided role entails. It is important to be aware of how you are managing these roles and how to best balance them in a healthy way.
Here are some things to remember:
- It’s crucial to think about yourself: This rule sounds selfish, but it is meant to have benefits on those beyond your individual self. When you take care of yourself, both physically and mentally, it is a lot easier to then worry about the problems of others. This sounds very counterintuitive, but you have to ensure your own wellbeing in order to have the energy, foresight, and drive to take care of others. When you think about yourself it can allow you to more effectively think about others.
- Sleep: ElderCare at Home is adamant about getting enough sleep. We encourage all of our caregivers and weekly blog readers to get at least seven to eight hours of uninterrupted, deep sleep. Stay away from TVs and cellphones late at night as the light from screens impacts our sleep cycles, depriving us of serious sleep we need to restore our bodies and minds. Be sure to set a bedtime and give yourself time to unwind at night. We cannot emphasize enough how crucial sleep is for your overall health. When you are well-rested, you are better able to handle the stressors life throws at you.
- Exercise: Set aside a few days out of the week where you go to the gym, for a walk, for a swim, or on a hike. Whatever it takes to get your heartrate up for at least 20 to 30 minutes and to break a sweat. Exercise can help you relieve stress, go to sleep more easily, and improve your mental health. Consult a doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.
- Divide up your day: Keep a schedule of things you have to do throughout the day, including some of the activities we are suggesting above, like exercise. When you plan, you can better manage the multiple tasks you’re undoubtedly balancing.
- Ask for help: Don’t be embarrassed to say “I can’t.” We are not invincible or untiring. We are only human and we have limits. Reach out to other family members, friends, or professional caregiving services if you need help with your level of responsibilities. It can be a difference of “crashing and burning” and being able to sustain yourself for the years ahead.
If you have any other questions or want to learn more about ElderCare, then please give us a call at 888-285-0093 or visit our website!
 Source: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/01/30/the-sandwich-generation/