Not that long ago, people got married, raised a family, the kids got married and lived near by. When the parents got older, family assisted them, maybe moved in with them or had them move in with them. As society has become more transient and more couples are both employed outside the home, this story is decreasing in frequency.
In other words, being a sandwich generation is nothing new. Rather, changes in society have modified that sandwich.
July is Sandwich Generation Month. The purpose is to increase awareness and support for caregivers who are sandwiched.
Everyone needs to be informed as most of us will become part or know someone in a sandwich generation situation. I have a teenager and a father in his late 70’s. While Dad is healthy, there is a chance at some point he will require assistance. My siblings and I need to know his preferences. We are lucky. He has shared many of his desires with us over the years.
Having worked over 20 years in various senior living communities, I have observed the challenges of the sandwiched generations. Based upon these personal and professional observations, here is what you need to know.
First let me applaud those living in this situation. Yours is a complicated road. It does have the upside of creating memories.
Second, remember to care for yourself. That means asking for assistance when you needed. It means searching out the networks in your community. It can mean finding respite care from time to time so you can get away.
Third, get to know your neighbors. Talk with them. Watch out for each other. Sometimes we all need a hand whether we are in a sandwich generation situation, have health issues, or a young professional. Being in community is part of good health. We can each make a difference in the lives of others.
Fourth, plan for the future. There are a lot of baby boomers entering the retirement arena. They and all of us need to share in writing and verbalize our desires for our later years. If you don’t tell someone that you do not want heroic measure no matter what, they may not make that choice on your behalf., Have the paperwork in place for health care and financial issues. Draw up a basic will. You can make changes across the years.
Remember, most of us will become part or know someone in a sandwich generation situation. Together we can create a healthy sandwich generation situation. Decide now on one step you can take. Share it in the comments below.