Sandwiched Generation: Taking Care of Aging Parents & Kids
Updated: Dec 4, 2020
More than 50 million Americans offer care to a senior family member, or loved one every year according to a survey from the National Family Caregivers Association. Most of us would agree that we owe it to our parents to help care for them as they advance through retirement, but what happens when this becomes almost a full-time job in addition your own career? And what about your kids that are now in high school or college that you are supporting as well?
Welcome to being a part of the “Sandwiched Generation,” which carries a heavy mental, emotional, and financial burden that’s often during a critical period of your own life. Many of these sandwiched adults are in their critical earning years where the decisions and actions taken will make a large difference in their own retirement.
While many of us might not be aware of this term, the number of people falling into this category is constantly increasing nationwide and will expand at a much faster pace as the Baby Boomer Generation retires. The dual responsibilities of caring for aging parents and college-going children, along with your own career, can be truly burdensome. In addition to the financial and physical strains of being available to everyone all the time, it can create complex emotional issues that many couldn’t have anticipated dealing with. The sense of worry can be even greater when distance is involved and people are responsible to care for their aging parents from afar.
Keep reading to know under what care-specific circumstances an adult can get “sandwiched”.
Situations in Which Adults Get Sandwiched
An individual can find themselves being “sandwiched” under many circumstances with respect to caregiving. Here are the most common ones:
When adults have to care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.
When adults (usually in their late 50s or early 60s) need to support their aging parents, adult children, and their grandchildren, all at the same time.
When adults get involved in caring for their elderly loved ones or family members at some point in their lives.
The problems associated with the “Sandwiched Generation” are likely to surge in the coming years as many people continue to live longer due to advances in medicine, that keep people alive longer but not necessarily alive and healthy. Additionally, the younger generation of kids are deciding to stay home much longer than previous generations, and often times all the way through college. While we all love, care, and want to do everything possible for our families, there can be a lot of stress involved in doing so.
Stressors of the Sandwiched Generation
The feeling of being “stuck” can make many make adults experience some or all of the following:
Caregiver burnout accompanied by feelings of anxiety, depression, guilt, and isolation.
Finding it hard to prove themselves to be a great parent, spouse, or caretaker to parent.
Struggling to manage time for their own retirement, professional development, hobbies, and relationships.
Psychological and emotional strain of being pulled in various directions on a daily basis.
While you may continue to juggle multiple responsibilities that contribute to your stress and anxiety level for years, there may come a point in life where keeping up is no longer possible. This is when you may benefit from external support to lessen the bulk of your burden. While it may not be a solve for your children, hiring a licensed home health agency to assist with your parents can often times give someone the breathing room they need to refocus on themselves and greatly reduce stress and anxiety levels.
How a Home Health Agency Can Help
When you are struggling to care for your aging parents and support your kids simultaneously, a home health agency (HHA) can bring considerable relief to your life. A home care giver can help in several ways, primarily by taking charge of the care of your elderly family member or loved one, which can often times be the biggest responsibility you have when you are “sandwiched.” This alleviates your stress while allowing you to have more time for yourself and enabling you to support your kids and other family members in a better way.
Whether the care for a parent at home involves basic support to maintain independence with age-related health decline, or a higher level of care that involves skilled nursing care visits, a home health agency should be able to provide you with tailored care plans that work best for you and your parents. Depending on the specific home care requirements of your aging parent, the following types of dedicated services can be provided by a licensed home health agency.
Homemaker Companions: Ideal for seniors who are experiencing age-related decline in their health and want to stay independent at home. The services provided by a companion caregiver is non-medical in nature, which means the care is voluntary and doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription. These include basic assistance with running errands, transport to appointments, meal preparation, laundry, playing games, and offering companionship/emotional support.
Home Health Aides: Perfect for elderly family members who have a permanent or temporary condition and are looking to achieve high quality of life. A trained and/or certified home health aide can offer personalized care by helping seniors with activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, eating, continence, basic hygiene, etc. (where personal touch is required). Additionally, they are trained to give basic medical assistance, such as taking vitals, administering basic medications, helping with light exercises, etc.
Skilled Nursing Care: This is a higher level of care that requires an RN or LPN to conduct visits per a doctor’s prescription. This can range from post hospital recovery to routine visits due to a chronic condition.
Choosing a licensed local home health agency is a great way to reduce your care-related burden. While some may try to reduce cost by hiring a private care giver on their own directly, that comes with having to keep up with proper payroll, tax filing, verifying that proper insurance is held and maintained by the caregiver, and also never really knowing if they are staying compliant with state health regulations. This may be okay for some families, but the Sandwiched Generation has enough responsibility and this is why we feel that a licensed agency is the appropriate addition to the team. At Unified Pledge Home Health, our home care services come with the following advantages that are there to provide peace of mind:
Level II FBI background checks of all staff
Driving history checks
Companions, health aides, LPNs are our direct employees and not independent contractors
Constant communication to patients, family, and care team
Registered Nurse supervision is ongoing with every care plan
An in home assessment and care plan estimate is always FREE at Unified Pledge Home Health. We encourage you to get in touch with us to inquire more about our home care services, even if you don’t need the care right away! CLICK HERE.