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The Sandwich Generation

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Life is full of interesting twists and turns. All of a sudden you find yourself not only taking care of your immediate family, but also your parent(s). It's kind of like the Bill Cosby routine where he says that if human beings were immortal, then as a 700 year-old, you might look out the window and see your 400 year-old children moving in back home with you and their 100 year-old grandchildren!
All joking aside, this can be a very stressful transition. The sandwich generation is an ever-growing segment of people who are simultaneously taking care of their children and parents.
On one hand, your children have the benefit of getting to know and be close to their grandparents while your parents have the benefit of being with family who loves them. On the other hand, it's a lot of work put on your shoulders. So here are some ideas on how to lighten the load:
 - Purchase a Medic Alert bracelet so that healthcare professionals will know of any special medical needs your parent may have.
 - Educate yourself about the types of medications your parent is taking and keep a list to avoid possible interactions with over-the-counter drugs.
 - Identify potential hazards or obstacles within the home and correct them with adequate lighting, hand rail, non-skid mats, etc.
 - Keep a list of daily routines and activities.
 - Develop a support system of other family members, friends and neighbors that can help out with occasional errands or chores.
 - Find out about caregiver support and other options in your area by clicking here.
 - If you haven't already, set up automatic bill payment and direct deposit for income like pensions or social security that your parents receive.
 - Consider having a power of attorney written up for the right to handle any additional financial or medical matters that may come up.
 - Let your parents bring some of their own furniture or sentimental items into their room.
 - Allow them to do things they enjoy, like cooking or gardening. And see what activities/organizations they'd like to get involved in so they can meet people.
 - Set aside some time everyday when you can focus your attention on them.
 - Find a day each week or month for some family distraction. Maybe an outing to the zoo or local bowling alley!
 - Childproof your home with the tips found here.
 - Click here for an article on Helping your Child Settle in.
Overall, this situation is a blessing for everyone involved. Take solace in the idea that you are the family's rock and will one day appreciate the luxury of an empty nest. In the meantime, take a deep breath and remind yourself daily that the people you love are worth much more than a 3 week vacation in Europe.
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