The Sandwich Generation:
Balancing Being A Dual Caregiver
Meeting in the Middle
Playing the part of both parent and child can be difficult - but you’re not alone. Nearly half of adults in their 40s and 50s have an aging parent and growing children. These people, known as The Sandwich Generation, have the tough task of raising their own family (sometimes supporting grown children financially) and assisting their parents as their health begins to decline. Finding a balance between managing both can be extremely stressful and you may be thinking about ways to get some help. Maybe your mom or dad could use some help at home to take some things off both of your plates. Maybe they could use some home health services to help get them back on their feet and feeling like themselves. Or maybe it is time to start seriously considering making the move to senior living.
Nearly half of adults in their 40s and 50s have an aging parent and growing children. These people, known as The Sandwich Generation.
Many people help out their aging, sick, or disabled family members every day. They are happy to be able to do so and feel rewarded by it but they don’t see themselves as caregivers. If the demands are heavy, people can become exhausted over time but there is a sense of guilt that comes along with asking for help. Balancing a caregiver role, work, and raising one’s own family has become normal and oftentimes, expected. However, there are plenty of resources and options to keep yourself and your loved one happy, healthy, and safe. We know it can be overwhelming to do the research and start the conversations which is exactly why we’re here to help.
Having the Conversation
Step 1: Come Prepared
Do the research and narrow down the options. Your loved one is probably already going to feel overwhelmed so presenting them with a ton of information straight away could be stressful. Now, you are probably feeling overwhelmed too and thinking “Where do I get started?” That’s why we’re here. With an abundance of resources and attentive staff, any questions you might have can be answered through our website or a phone call with our sales team.
Understanding how senior facilities work - from the different levels of care to resources offered - can help you tailor the information you present to your parents based on their needs. Once they start asking questions, you can dive deeper with the information you have found.
Step 2: Make it Personal
You know your parents like no one else. Think of their everyday life and any struggles that they may have. This will help you compile a list of conversation starters that are sincere. Rather than broadly saying “I think it’s time to move”, help them realize how it will benefit them individually. Ultimately, it’s about making them feel comfortable and confident that making the move will be better for their well-being. Some of these could sound like...
- I’ve noticed you have been asking for more help around the house lately.
- You seem so eager to do things. Wouldn’t it be nice to have better access to activities?
- You don’t seem to enjoy cooking like you used to.
- I’ve noticed you struggling to get around more. I think it’d be good to have some help with that.
Step 3: Be Prepared for Pushback
Again, this comes down to research. Your loved ones are going to understandably have a lot of questions and might take a while to get on board. Be persistent, but not pushy. Anticipate common questions and be prepared to answer them. Write down what they are asking, feeling, and sharing and bring this clear list of concerns to the senior living facility. Then, you can bring the answers back to mom and dad.
They might ask “why shouldn’t I just downsize?” or “why would I move if I have long term care insurance?” Well, when they move into a senior living facility like Holland Home, they enter into a Continuing Care Agreement (CCA). This means that:
- If they need higher care, it’s guaranteed.
- If they outlive their financial means, their home is secure.
- Both you and them have peace of mind that if needs change, there is a plan in place.
Step 4: Keep the Momentum Going
So your loved ones seem to be on board. Now what? In these situations, it is best to be proactive. It can be easy for busy schedules to get in the way and before you know it, it’s been six months since you had last discussed things. At this point, maybe their health or financial situation has changed and it’s going to make the move more difficult. Keep the conversations going and if you are one of many siblings involved in this decision, it’s time to choose a key decision-maker.
The move to senior living is a journey and it takes time. Once they are interested, schedule a tour. Once they’ve been approved, get them on the waitlist. Downsizing and selling their current home is a big part of the process so it’s better to give yourself time to do so. There are great resources out there - from realtors and moving companies that specialize in senior moving - to help you along the way. With such high emotions involved, it is important to be flexible and understanding, while still sticking to a plan and keeping things on track.
Many people in the Sandwich Generation are starting to feel the stress of balancing their work lives and personal lives while taking on the role of caregiver. Starting to research senior living and having those initial conversations with your loved ones is a way to get ahead of the stress before it becomes too much. Just remember, the move to senior living is a journey. Take it one step -and one day - at a time and things will go much more smoothly. We have a number of resources to help you with every part of the process. Feel free to reach out at any time to request more information or click below to learn more about the senior living decision-making process.