The sandwich generation describes a generation of caregivers who are “sandwiched” between caring for both their younger children and aging parents.
This generation often balances the daily emotional, physical, and financial needs of their children and parents, which can eventually lead to exhaustion and caregiver burnout.
Kensington Park Senior Living partnered with three experts who had unique sandwich generation caregiver experiences. Our expert guests shared tips and advice for navigating the challenges of caring for both children and parents.
If you are a younger caregiver who is struggling to navigate the daily challenges of caring for multiple family members, Kensington Park Senior Living is here for you.
Read on for tips and advice from experts who understand these common experiences, as well as the services to offer the resources and support you may need.
Who is included in the sandwich generation of caregivers?
The sandwich generation includes almost half of adults in their 40s and 50s who have a parent age 65 or older and are also supporting either young children or adult children who are 18 or older.
One of the biggest stressors for members of the sandwich generation is providing financial support to both growing or adult children, as well as their own aging parents.
Another major stressor is the need to provide emotional support for both children and parents, which can begin to impact a person’s mental and physical health.
Kensington Park Senior Living believes that hearing from others who are going through similar journeys can offer much-needed support and provide a sense of community.
That’s why we’ve partnered with the following experts to hear their tips and guidance on navigating the challenges of being a younger caregiver:
- Christy Byrne Yates, mental health professional and member of the sandwich generation who wrote the book, Building a Legacy of Love: Thriving in the Sandwich Generation
- Alexandria Goff, founder of Goff Legal, PC, a law firm focused on estate planning, probate, and estate administration matters
- Karen Osborne, full-time trial lawyer and creator of the podcast, Living in the Sandwich Zone
In an interactive conversation, our guests share tips on creating balance, as well as practical advice on how to manage the stress of caring for your loved ones.
Kensington Park Senior Living regularly hosts events designed to uplift and support caregivers, including our recurring Caregiver Connect event.
Let’s take a look at the unique challenges that sandwich generation caregivers face, and how to best navigate these challenges.
What unique challenges belong to the sandwich generation?
Members of the sandwich generation have reported feeling extreme levels of stress, and many have said they believe they manage their stress poorly.
This stress affects not only their closest relationships, but also their overall health and well-being as they neglect caring for themselves in efforts to be a consistent source of support for their children and parents.
Members of this generation feel pressure to be not only a source of emotional support for their loved ones, but also to provide financial assistance during a period when they are also trying to work and save for retirement.
Over time, they run the risk of developing caregiver burnout, which is a state of exhaustion caused by prolonged, unrelieved stress. If you feel fatigued, irritable, exhausted, and hopeless, you may be suffering from caregiver burnout.
Read on for our tips to navigate your responsibilities and overcome burnout.
Tips for navigating your caregiver responsibilities
It is crucial that caregiver stress and burnout is addressed, as it can impact a person’s mental health.
Consider the following steps to help you find balance as a caregiver.
Talk about your situation with someone you trust
Many caregivers are reluctant to speak about their struggles, but talking to a trusted friend can help you problem-solve, consider ideas you hadn’t thought of, or connect with others in similar situations.
Also consider speaking with a licensed counselor or therapist to give yourself an outlet and help you set tangible mental health goals.
Understand your limits — and ask for help
It’s difficult to ask for help if you don’t realize the true scope of your responsibilities or how others could assist you.
Take a step back and evaluate the full picture: What are your daily, weekly, and monthly responsibilities?
Do you have any family or friends who could help “lighten your load”? Can you ask adult children to take on some additional responsibilities? Can you hire help in any of these areas?
Often, people are happy to help if they are given a specific task. It could be as simple as picking up a grocery order every month or calling your senior loved one once a week to chat.
Focus on the basics of good health
The basics of good health include:
- Nourishing foods
- Adequate hydration
- Quality sleep
- Regular exercise
- Social activity
- Personal hobbies
- Personal stress-relief activities
- Cutting out unhealthy habits
It may feel overwhelming at first when you’re used to caring for everyone else above yourself, but slowly begin to carve out time for yourself.
This might mean taking a 10-minute walk each day, setting reminders to eat three meals a day, or going to bed one hour earlier.
You may be surprised how much good sleep and eating regular meals can do to improve your mood and outlook.
Consider an enhanced assisted living community for your senior loved ones
If your aging parents begin to require greater assistance than you are able to provide, it may be time to consider an enhanced assisted living community.
Kensington Park Senior Living offers a full spectrum of care in a loving, positive environment.
Through our expert partnerships and Our Promise to love and care for your family as we do our own, we are able to support not only your senior loved ones, but also the family caregivers who love them.
How does Kensington Park Senior Living support a generation of younger caregivers?
Kensington Park Senior Living is a community of caregivers.
We understand the unique challenges of the sandwich generation and all those who want to provide the best care possible to their senior loved ones.
We offer the following services in our community:
- Independent living, assisted living, and specialized memory care
- Three memory care “neighborhoods” to match specific levels of care
- Nutritious, gourmet dining services
- Full calendar of life enrichment activities
- Full-time nursing director to coordinate care
- Licensed nurses onsite 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- Rehabilitation services onsite through our partnership with Powerback Rehabilitation
If you’re interested in learning more about our community, please reach out today and speak with our loving team.
We offer the following additional resources for the caregivers in our community:
- Calendar of upcoming caregiver support and educational events
- Blog featuring the latest news and tips
- Kensington Konnect hub of entertaining resources
- The Park Bench newsletter
We look forward to hearing from you and welcoming you into our beautiful community, where you can witness true “aging in place” and see Our Promise in action.