Advice for the "Sandwich Generation"

You are in the “Sandwich Generation” if you are caring for your own young children while also taking care of your aging parents or in-laws. That can be tiring, and you may find that you spend all your free time, money, and energy on the most important people in your life–but none on yourself.

Here are a few resources that people stuck between eldercare and childcare can use to achieve more balance in life, reduce stress, and preserve wellness:

Get the Right Equipment

Some technology can power useful equipment that can make your life easier by saving you some time and a whole lot of stress. For example, if your parents have mobility issues, you can invest in an Easy Climber to help them get up and down the stairs without your assistance each time.

And check out these handpicked phone apps especially for caregivers. From symptom tracking to instructional videos to sharable schedulers, apps can help keep even the most frazzled person squared away.

Gather a Crowd

You cannot do it all, so don’t expect it of yourself. Think of your crowd as having four teams: friends, family, hired help, and virtual community.

For your children, you might call on the family team to babysit, the friend team to take the kids with them on an outing, the hired help team to provide in-home care for your kids for your date night or business trip. And the virtual community? That’s your friends on social media and the conversations you hear or read about through your media consumption.

 Given how powerful media consumption can be as an influence on your mood and even the topic of your thoughts, shouldn’t you consider reading more interesting things, perhaps a bit farther afield from your daily concerns?

Prioritize

Again, you can’t do it all. When your child’s teacher asks you to be the room parent, you can say “no.” When your neighbor asks you to join the HOA’s fundraising team, you can say “no.” When your husband suggests that you remodel the kitchen yourselves, you can say “no.”

Prioritize what’s important. Remodeling because you don’t like the look of the kitchen anymore isn’t important when you have so much on your plate. Remodeling your downstairs rec room so your parents can move in and not have to worry about climbing the stairs is important. Volunteering for your child’s field trip just to appear involved isn’t important. Volunteering because your child has separation anxiety may be more important.

By prioritizing, you can eliminate responsibilities and tasks that will consume your time. You’ll have more free time so that you can do things for yourself like read a book, go out with a friend every now and then, or get needed exercise.