The Kensington White Plains hosted a complimentary webinar “The Sandwich Generation Squeeze” which offers valuable guidance and support for “sandwich caregivers” — dedicated individuals balancing the care for both their senior parents and young children.
Sandwich caregivers are faced with navigating the complexities of caring for their senior parent and children simultaneously, experiencing heightened stress levels compared to other caregivers.
We invited guest speakers to share insights on this: Christy Byrne Yates, a clinical psychologist and author, Alexandria Goff, an estate planning lawyer, and Karen Osborne, creator and host of Living in the Sandwich Zone.
In this dynamic conversation, we share tips and tricks on how to create balance and find practical ways to manage the stress that comes from caring for two generations of loved ones.
What is the sandwich generation?
The sandwich generation includes people in their late 30s, 40s, and 50s who care for their aging parents and their children simultaneously.
An estimated 11 million caregivers (which consists of 28% of all caregivers) are caring for a parent and raising a child in the same home, with many being younger caregivers and newer to caregiving than usual.
People in the Sandwich Generation are often caught in the middle trying to manage their careers, finances, and personal lives sandwiched between two generations — their parents and their children.
Studies have shown that sandwich generation caregivers face higher levels of stress compared to other caregivers. Additionally, they may experience more financial strain and time management challenges as they balance the needs of multiple generations.
Understanding the challenges of the sandwich generation
Sandwich generation caregivers, whether they’re a younger caregiver or older caregiver themselves, face a wider range of challenges than traditional caregivers, trying to be in three places at once. Here are some of the specific challenges facing sandwich caregivers:
- Time management for driving parents and children to school and doctor’s appointments
- Financial strain of caring for multiple generations
- Emotional stress while caring for aging parents and children simultaneously
- Physical demands for helping with daily assistance, medical care, and daily activities
- Lack of support from other family members or employers
How to balance caregiving responsibilities for sandwich caregivers
With some planning, it’s possible for caregivers to balance and prioritize responsibilities between their parents’ and children’s needs. In this section, we’ll explore more practical tips for balancing caregiving responsibilities.
Create a schedule
Each month, or at the beginning of each week, plot and outline your caregiving responsibilities for both your parents and your children. Consider using your phone’s calendar or a dry-erase board at home to help you stay organized.
If you’re sharing caregiving tasks with your partner or family members, communicate your availability and establish clear boundaries around your caregiving duties. For example, you may be “offline” or “unavailable” at certain times or certain days.
Don’t try to do everything yourself — outsource some of your tasks to family members or professional caregivers to lighten the burden. For example, delegate tasks such as meal preparation, transportation, and household chores to make your caregiving tasks easier.
Take time to exercise, meditate, or participate in hobbies. By setting clear boundaries as previously mentioned, you give yourself more time to practice self-care to prevent burnout and caregiver fatigue.
Use planning apps and organizational tools to stay on top of appointments, administer medications, and other caregiving responsibilities.
Managing stress and practicing self-care for caregivers
Sandwich caregivers can face significantly more demands and responsibilities that can take a toll on their mental and physical health.
In this section, we’ll explore more practical strategies for managing stress and prioritizing self-care.
Getting adequate sleep is important for managing stress. Aim for getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night and avoid looking at screens before going to bed.
Practice mindfulness meditation
Make some form of mindfulness meditation a part of your daily routine. This can include yoga, pilates, exercising, or performing deep-breathing exercises that can reset your nervous system.
Make time for yourself
Try to schedule a few moments or hours for yourself each week to catch up with friends, exercise, or read. Even practicing a few minutes of self-care each day can improve your overall well-being.
Seek professional help from a therapist
A therapist or mental health professional can provide professional support and guidance, especially if you’re already feeling burned out or experiencing caregiver fatigue.
Seeking support and building a community of like-minded caregivers
Caregiving can be a lonely and isolating experience, even for sandwich caregivers who are frequently spending time with their parents and children.
It’s important for caregivers to seek support and build a community of like-minded individuals who can share similar experiences and voice their support and encouragement.
At The Kensington White Plains, we frequently host free webinars and events to educate caregivers on a variety of topics, including caregiver tips and techniques, stress management, and learning more about healthcare.
Be sure to check out Kensington Konnect, an online hub and resource for caregivers and their families.
The Kensington White Plains — your partners in caregiving
If you’re a sandwich caregiver providing care for a parent with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s disease, The Kensington White Plains can offer the support and resources to manage your loved one’s care and maintain your own well-being.
The Kensington White Plains is an enhanced assisted living and memory care community that is dedicated to providing high-quality, personalized care for residents with memory loss.
If you are a caregiver in need of support, we encourage you to reach out to The Kensington White Plains. Our promise is to love and care for your loved one as we do our own.
Our team of dedicated professionals can help you navigate the challenges of caregiving.
Contact us today to learn more about our services and to schedule a tour of our community.