The complexities of modern life and modern family dynamics has seen the rise of the so-called sandwich generation. They are people who have to juggle the many demands of looking after children while simultaneously caring for ageing parents, sometimes but not always within the same household.
This balancing act requires enormous energy and organisational skills which can often leave the sandwich generation frazzled and worn out. This article, by the experts at Greenwood Homecare, will explore the challenges facing those providing care across the generations and will look at how home care can provide an obvious solution.
The dual responsibilities of raising children while simultaneously caring for ageing parents who may be battling illness, infirmity and perhaps cognitive decline can create a unique set of problems and challenges for any household. The sandwich generation is the squeezed middle – stretched all ways trying to strike the right balance of care for both ends of the generational spectrum.
The problems are compounded by the very differing needs of children and elderly parents. Navigating the children’s journey through school and beyond while at the same time negotiating a declining path for ageing parents demands certain skills, not least the ability to manage the logistics of coordinating complex care schedules.
Ask anyone who is a member of the sandwich generation how they are coping and most will confess to feeling frazzled, stressed and constantly torn in two directions. It can be so difficult for anyone to have to witness the steady decline of a parent while at the same time trying their best to maintain a normal upbringing for the children. Many will say they suffer frequent bouts of guilt as they worry they may not be doing enough for either generation. The responsibility can be overwhelming and it can be hard knowing which way to turn. Feelings of loneliness and inadequacy are not unusual.
There is a solution to this emotional conundrum and this is home care. Home care sees professional caregivers who can offer much-needed support and assistance to family carers by giving specialised attention and care to the ageing parent(s). This goes a long way to alleviating the burden of caring for both generations and removing the stress and guilt.
The time-poor sandwich generation carer is one who must rush through life navigating a complex web of commitments to children and parents; managing daily schedules, medical appointments, the school run, school meetings, after-school hobbies – the list of tasks can seem endless. And all this can often come on top of trying to hold down a job and run the household. Unsurprisingly the sandwich carer can often feel at the bottom of the list when it comes to self-care and personal hobbies or friendships.
Professional care in the home, offering a personalised, bespoke and structured approach to caring is the perfect solution. Professional caregivers can provide assistance with whatever requirements an ageing parent has, from daily management of medication to arranging medical appointments, organising and assisting with daily activities to simply providing companionship. This structured and targeted support can allow the sandwich carer space and breathing room to reclaim time for the family and for themselves.
On top of all the daily challenges there is the added issue of trying to keep the family on an even keel and maintain good relationships. This can be hard when you believe you are doing your best but worry that it’s not good enough. The demands of caring for the parents can alienate the children and vice versa as each end of the generational spectrum demands the lion’s share of your time and effort. It is easy to see how family relationships can fracture between siblings, between spouses or partners and between the generations. There’s a fine line to tread between navigating the twin burdens of care while keeping the peace.
The specialised care offered to ageing parents through homecare can prove to be the glue that holds the whole family together, restoring harmonious relationships and taking the pressure off. A professional, trained caregiver can be just what’s needed to allow family members to re-calibrate, re-direct their focus and spend quality time together making memories and enjoying each other’s company.
The monetary costs involved in bringing up children and managing the expenses incurred through caring for ageing parents can be worrying, adding to the already significant burden for the main carer. Add in the worry of trying to build a secure future for yourself and it is clear that careful financial management and long-term planning are essential.
Home care services can be more cost-effective than you think. By tailoring the required level of flexible support to your specific needs and budget constraints home care can help you to better manage the financial challenges and still achieve your long-term financial goals.
Finding yourself in the role of caring for your parent(s), can be daunting but it doesn’t have to be a lonely journey. Home care services can be a valuable support to all the family by providing a tailored and flexible care solution perfectly suited to your family’s specific requirements. It can help to restore fractured family relationships and bring peace of mind in knowing that an ageing parent is being well cared for.
Professional caregivers who specialise in the daily care of older people can become a vital source of support and relief for all the family.