How To Cope with Being Part of The Sandwich Generation
You usually become part of the so-called ‘sandwich generation’ between the ages of 40 and 60.
Your children are still living at home, and you are busy with your family life there, but your elderly
relatives are no longer able to cope as well as they used to and they need you too. This leaves you
‘sandwiched’ in the middle, trying to look after everyone around you while not going to pieces
yourself. This is not an easy task. Read this guide for tips on how to cope with being part of the
Get Kids to Help
There has been a lot of research done into the advantages of mixing the eldest and youngest
generations over recent years. It has been found that integration is a positive experience for both
generations. Your elderly relatives may not be able to actively babysit your young children, but they
can still chat to them, play non-active games, and tell them stories, and your children will enjoy this
quality time with their relatives. Older children can enjoy teaching their elderly relatives about
technology that they may find useful, such as how to shop online or order prescription medication
from their doctor. This will help to create a bond between them that surpasses the generation gap.
The advantage to you in mixing the generations is that it means they can entertain each other while
you get on with other things. For example, you can take your toddler to grandma’s house and do
her cleaning and unpack her shopping whilst safe in the knowledge that everyone is safe and being
Ditch The Guilt
It is easy to feel guilty if you feel that you are not doing enough or you are worried that you are
unable to be all things to all people. You might spend a lot of time and energy beating yourself up
about what you haven’t done rather than rewarding yourself for the things you have done. Guilt
doesn’t make things better, so it is time to stop feeling guilty and concentrate on doing one thing at
Ask For Help
As families have got smaller over the decades, it is unlikely that you will have a lot of siblings you can
call on for help. We live in a global world which means that any siblings you do have may not live in
the same state or even in the same country as you. You may need to think outside the box when it
comes to asking for help. Speak to other family members such as cousins to see if they can help and
see if you can get support from within your neighborhood too. There may be a child-care facility or
some organized events for the elderly that you were not aware of. Faith groups are often very good
at providing this, so speak to your local church leader if you have one. This will give you some much-
needed respite time.
Know When to Make Bigger Changes
People will often carry on with the burden of trying to look after two generations at the same time
for years. However, this can lead them to burn out and it is important to know when to quit. If your
elderly relative is too frail to look after themselves or they have dementia that is getting worse, the
kindest thing for them may be to move into an assisted living facility such as Brandywine
Haddonfield, where they can be looked after by professionals who are on hand to assist them 24/7.
Many people feel guilty at the thought of suggesting that their loved ones move into a facility as if it
is their own inability to cope that has caused the problem. However, this could be a great new
adventure for your elderly relative who may have been feeling lonely and unable to cope on their
own. An assisted living facility will provide your loved one with social interaction, organized
activities, meals, and support from on-site carers. They will not have to do things on their own if
they feel unable to and as their health deteriorates, they have the peace of mind that comes from
knowing they are with staff who can look after them. There may be a time when moving your
relative into an assisted living facility is the best thing for everyone, although it is a big change.
However, they will still be able to have visitors, so you can spend as much time with them as you like
and be reassured that they are safe when you are not there.
Look After Yourself
It is all very well running around after everyone else but don’t neglect yourself. You can pour from
an empty jug so take some time out when you need to. Whether you take up a new hobby, get
some exercise, read a book, or simply spend the time sleeping, this is your time to do with as you
will. Make sure you schedule an hour or two into your week to take care of yourself, otherwise, you
will end up feeling stressed and burnt out and you will be unable to take care of anyone.
It may seem exhausting but taking the time to connect with your friends could be the thing that
keeps you sane in a difficult time. We all need someone to talk to and being able to offload on to a
friend over a coffee or a walk in the park will do wonders for your mental health. It will help you put
things into perspective and unburden yourself so that you can cope with being a part of the
‘sandwich generation’. These are some of the ways you can cope when your life feels out of control. It is not easy being part of this generation but with a little bit of planning and the strength to reach out and ask for help
when you need it, you will survive.