Are you one of the members of the new “sandwich” generation? If you have children still living at home while you are caring for your parents, in-laws or friends, you are part of this group.
More college students than ever are coming back home to live with family after graduation. And thanks to medical developments, people are living longer with chronic conditions and therefore need more hands-on care for lengthier periods of time than before. Members of the generation in the middle, the anywhere from 35 to 65 year-olds, are finding themselves being needed on both ends of the family.
- Recognize both your strengths and your limitations. Believe in yourself but ask for help when you need it.
- Set goals and boundaries for you and those you care for. If you want to have time every day to take a walk or do some other self-rejuvenating activity, set up a system so that those you care for have others to rely on during that time, and you can get that break.
- Be knowledgeable about any diagnosis and treatment options for those you are caring for, so that you can ask solid questions of health workers and be able to make the best choices for those in your care.
- Take care of your back. It is vital to the care you provide, so don’t lift things that are too heavy or pull items using your back.
- Reward yourself. You do a great job, so take breaks when you need them, whether they’re for an hour or for a weekend.
- Seek support from other caregivers. They are among the few people who know exactly what you’re going through, and can offer suggestions and a listening ear.
- Know that it’s okay to feel angry or frustrated; those feelings are natural and a sign that you are coping.
- Get enough sleep. This will help keep you healthy and lessen stress.
- Try to have a life outside of your care giving role. This will help you cope with everyday stressors and at the same time allow you to feel less pressure in a seemingly never-ending situation.