If you are facing the challenge of raising your children or supporting an adult child while also caring for aging parents, you are not alone. A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center found nearly half of adults in their 40s and 50s find themselves in this situation.
They’re calling this group the “Sandwich Generation.”
Every situation is unique, but the demanding role of meeting the needs of multiple generations spreads across all racial, gender, age, and ethnic boundaries. The many stressors, challenges, and dilemmas for those in this generation can create financial and marital stress and emotional difficulties ranging from burnout to depression. Additionally, too much stress can negatively affect you at work by causing absenteeism, performance issues, and fatigue.
You may be part of the the Sandwich Generation if you’re struggling to answer some (or all) of these questions:
- How do I split my time between my kids and my parents?
- How much time should I spend in each caregiving role?
- How do I find time for my marriage?
- How do I find time for myself?
- How do I keep the generational peace between my kids and my parents?
- How do I find the resources that I need for myself and my loved ones?
- How do I combat my feelings of isolation?
- How do I overcome the feeling of GUILT for not accomplishing all that “should” be done?
There are no simple, cookie-cutter answers to these questions.
But there is help.
Seek the support of friends and professionals with experience navigating through this time of transition. Social workers, nonprofit medical organizations, certified financial planners, and counseling professionals can help you gain perspective, develop strategies, and learn skills that will help you better care for others and yourself.
Ann Sheerin, MA
Asheerin @ GROWcounseling.com