Simultaneously caring for both young and aging loved ones is exceptionally time and labor-intensive. Not even to mention the financial burden. However, it’s an all-too-real reality for 23% of all adults. Sandwich-generation caregivers must also juggle numerous demands from other areas of life—it’s no wonder that they often report feelings of depression, stress, and burnout.
Challenges Facing the Sandwich Generation
Whether you realize it or not, the strain of dual caregiving can take an emotional and mental toll. See if you identify with some of the common things many sandwich generation members suffer from:
- Caregiver Burnout
This can cause feelings of depression, guilt, and isolation.
- Role Strain
The struggle to fulfill the role of spouse, parent, and child while managing many other responsibilities. This can perpetuate feelings of inadequacy and depression.
- Life Mismanagement
With too many things to juggle, basic things like work, hobbies, relationships, and personal time become difficult to manage.
- Underlying Issues
Being stretched thin daily can cause psychological problems that many caregivers are unaware of.
Whether one or all feel familiar, there are ways to lighten your load and reduce the strain you feel. Here are some tips to help you assess how it’s impacting you and how to manage that strain.
In-Home Care Management Tips For Sandwich Generation Caregivers
Whether you’re welcoming your adult child back home or still raising youngsters, supporting your aging parents can complicate many aspects of your life. So here are a few strategies to help you combat the overwhelming responsibilities.
Create A Daily Or Weekly Plan
There’s never enough time to complete everything on our to-do lists. But we’d say the same thing even if we had more hours in the day. Recognize that you can only do so much and acknowledge what you do end up accomplishing.
Outlining and prioritizing your daily and weekly tasks is one of the most obvious but also most important things you can do. You probably already do this in your work life, so make sure you bring that focus to your personal life. There are multiple ways to approach this—find a way that makes sense to you and commit to it.
- The ABC Method
Categorize things into 3 buckets: Absolutely Must Do, Begin Now, Can Wait.
- Develop a Value System
Some tasks are objectively more important than others. Categorize your to-dos with those power rankings in mind.
- Outwit Yourself
Some tasks are daunting and some are simple. Strategically order your tasks to make sure you get some easy wins to motivate you for the bigger challenges.
As you visualize the week ahead, you may find it easier to set realistic expectations or even find pockets of time for yourself.
For the sandwich generation, there are 3 specific areas of finances to address: child care, your parent’s living expenses, and additional care for your parent. Addressing all of these at once can be easily overwhelming. Try to dedicate specific time to each to break it into manageable parts. Here’s a checklist for each area:
- Learn what the local rates for babysitters and nannies are
- Understand what employer benefits you have for child care (especially if you have Bright Horizons benefits!)
- Utilize your Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit
- Check out other ideas to make child care more affordable
Parent Living Expenses
- Outline a monthly budget if one doesn’t exist already
- Understand how bills are being paid and if the process could use improvement
- Look into the option of a financial planner or bookkeeper if it’s too much for the family to manage
Aging Adult Care
- Does a parent have care needs that no one in the family can fulfill?
- Could some care provided by family members be supplemented with hired help?
- Understand the difference between respite care, adult day care, and part-time in-home care services.
Professional Support Resources
A professional caregiver—for your child, parent and/or both—might be the solution that gives you the relief you need. Many people feel guilty about hiring someone else, however a caregiver can give your child or parent their undivided attention and full support throughout their time together.
Sittercity can help you with everything child care from the emotional work of finding child care, to hiring a nanny for the first time. Our partners at MeetCaregivers can help with finding the right senior caregiver support. MeetCaregivers uses technology to intelligently match pre-screened caregivers to seniors. They focus on understanding seniors’ care needs and personalities to match them with the perfect caregivers and ensure excellent care.
Sittercity parents can get a 10% discount on an hourly care rate with MeetCaregivers—sign up today!