An adult daughter from out of town realizes that her dad needs help taking care of her mom. Her dad has been the sole caretaker of her mom, a situation that is, understandably, no longer sustainable. Mom has early onset dementia and mild depression. Though having tried valiantly, Dad can no longer provide the help and care that his wife needs — both he and his daughter know it. His own health, as often happens, has become severely compromised due to the demands of caregiving.
In another instance, an adult son and his wife would like to move to the Quad Cities from the East Coast. Mom has dementia, and he needs to learn about their options and tour the appropriate communities. Son and daughter-in-law are both working professionals who have grappled with long-distance caregiving and now need help and guidance in transitioning Mom closer to their home.
As a final family example, an adult daughter is desperate to find the best senior living community for her mom, who has been living alone at home. Mom has had some falls of late, and the daughter is naturally worried; worried to the point of checking in on Mom at all hours of the day and night — literally, at ALL hours. This checking in and caregiving provided by the adult daughter put substantial strain and pressure on her own marriage.
Oh, yeah. One other thing, all of the adult children in the aforementioned examples are raising and/or providing support for their own children. Yep, part of the proverbial “Sandwich Generation.”
Those of us in the industry know it well. Though some of the details have changed since it was reportedly first coined in 1981, its essence remains the same, adult children sandwiched between the needs of their parents and their own children.
It’s an added dimension to the already challenging role of caregiver. The out-of-town daughter needs to get back to her family. The couple whose mom will be moving in from out of town needs to tour during the evening, having burned up all of their PTO (Personal Time Off) trying to attend to the needs of Mom and their own family. Finally, the stressed out daughter is also trying to attend to the needs of her increasingly estranged husband as well as those of her young children.
So, though it may not be a new phenomenon, numbers of families who find themselves in this position are increasing. More importantly, the families don’t seem to know of or care little about the term, “Sandwich Generation,” and its history, per se, they simply know they need help.
Given all of the information that is available in this day and age, it’s still amazing how alone and overwhelmed families in predicaments such as those described above feel. We see and hear it all the time.
The good news is help is available. By tapping into the right sources of support, the feelings of despair and anxiety dissipate as the best, most appropriate solutions for a family’s particular needs are found. Yes, we have seen these happy outcomes as well, and we encourage families to tap into the right community resources before their own situation enters a state of overwhelm.
LivWell Seniors serves as a local agency providing community based resources that are 100% FREE to seniors and their families as they are funded by the senior care providers that utilize their service and network of connections. For further information, contact us at 563-265-1577 or visit our website at www.livwellseniors.com.
“The GIFT of friendship… a willingness to listen, a pair of helping hands, a whisper from the heart. That someone CARES and understands.”
Photo credit: Rauluminate/Susan Chiang/iStock