There comes a certain point in your life when your children still need your help, but so do your parents. This can put a lot of pressure on you and add extra stress to your life. Trust me, I know how you feel. In fact, I wrote a book about it.
July is National Sandwich Generation month, recognizing the efforts of caregivers everywhere. With the needs of your kids and your parents, it can be hard to find time for yourself or your spouse. I have put together a list of tips on how to take care of yourself while living life in the sandwich generation and help you prevent burn out.
First, divide up chores. Have the kids pitch in. Sure, there are certain things they can’t do, but you can have them take the dog for a walk or put away the dishes. If they’re older, have them help you with your parents. Have them take grandma to the doctor or go to the grocery store. This will make it so there is less on your plate.
Second, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you have siblings ask them to help. Create a schedule. One week it will be your turn to help mom and dad with stuff around the house and the next week you can rotate. Also employ the help of trusted neighbors. Ask your parents neighbors to keep an eye on the house. If they notice something abnormal have them call you so you can go check on mom and dad. This way, if you don’t have time to stop over on a regular basis, you can still have the comfort of knowing they are safe.
Third, plan ahead. This way there are no surprises. If you know your kids have a baseball tournament out of town this weekend, make sure you help your parents out earlier in the week. If you know mom and dad need groceries, take them earlier in the week. Let your siblings know they are going to need to be available to help while you’re gone.
Fourth, be sure to make time for yourself. When you feel like you’re being pulled in a million different directions, it’s important to do something for yourself to relax. Treat yourself to a manicure and pedicure or hit the gym. This will help relieve some of the stress.
Life in the sandwich generation can be tough. But these tips will help prevent burn out.
For more healthcare tips for you and your family, check out my workbook for dealing with caring for your children, as well as your aging parents: Life in the Sandwich Generation. Life in the Sandwich Generation is a workbook filled with information, tips and tricks for managing the demands needing to care for your aging parents, as well as taking care of your children. It details how you can involve your children in the process, how to learn more about your parents health and finances, while still making time for yourself and your spouse. You can find it here for only $10!