Sandwich Carers: How to be a Caregiver for Your Kids & Parents
According to the Pew Research Center, "One in seven Americans (17%) are taking care of both an elderly parent age 65 or older and a child." This number has increased significantly in recent years. In 2000, only 11% of caregivers cared for both an elderly parent and a child.
If you are a family caregiver for your elderly parent and your child simultaneously, you are part of the "sandwich generation." Today's baby boomers are often called the sandwich generation because they are caught between caring for children and elderly parents. In recent years, the number of people in this situation has increased as more people live longer.
Being a sandwich carer to two generations can be a challenge. In this blog post, we will discuss what the sandwich generation is the similarities and differences between caring for your children and elderly parents. We will also offer solutions and resources for the sandwich generation of carers.
What are Sandwich Generation Caregivers?Middle adulthood is referred to as the sandwich generation. The Sandwich generation's ages range from the 40s and 50s to the late 70s. The sandwich generation is so-called because they are middle-aged adults sandwiched between caring for their kids & parents' needs.
How are sandwich carer's responsibilities more difficult than the average caregiver?
Sandwich generation problems are more complicated than most carers. Caring for two generations is difficult because it requires balancing multiple needs and priorities. It can be challenging to meet the needs of an aging parent who may need help with basic activities like bathing and dressing while also meeting the needs of a young child who may need help with homework or preparing for school. In addition, members of the sandwich generation often have to juggle work responsibilities and personal needs while also caring for others.
What are the differences between caring for children and the elderly?Emotional Needs
The emotional needs of an aging parent may be different from those of a child. As a sandwich carer, your parents need to feel loved and respected. Your children are often more concerned about being left behind. Aging parents might also have feelings of loss and loneliness that need to be addressed to maintain health and reduce depression.
The physical needs of an aging parent and a child may be similar, but the challenges are different. An elderly parent may need help with basic activities like bathing or dressing, while your child might have trouble walking due to a disability. Your aging parent's condition is likely to deteriorate as they get older, requiring more care from you, whereas your child may need less care for you as they age.
Intellectually, an aging parent may no longer keep up with current events or remember things from the past. However, a child's cognitive development is ongoing, and they are constantly learning new information.
You are used to listening to your parents, and now our parents may need to listen to us. Making decisions for your aging parents is a delicate matter. Your aging parent may be hesitant to allow you to take the role of decision-maker because they are used to being in charge. It is important to remember that you make decisions based on what you think is best for them, not what you want.
When it comes to being an authority to your children, it depends on their age and maturity level. Young children are still learning to listen and may get upset when they don't get their way. Older children may be in the stage of questioning why they should listen to you and maybe finding they have different opinions than you do on some issues.
How can you balance the different needs of elderly parents and children?
The most important thing is to accept that you cannot do it all independently. If possible, try to get support from other family members or friends. If you are caring for an elderly parent who lives in a facility, they may have staff members who can check on them while taking care of your children.
What happens if you can’t be there for your children & parents?
Let's say you are with your child, whether at a sporting event, a play, or just at home taking care of them. Your aging parent falls or has an emergency in the home and cannot get to a phone to let you know. Unfortunately, this scenario happens too often among caregivers who have multiple responsibilities. So, what can you do to make sure your parent is safe while caring for your child, and your child is safe while caring for your parent?
Use an In-Home Monitoring
Have an alert monitoring system in place such as a button your aging parent wears around their neck and can quickly press in the case of an emergency, sending an alert to you, or emergency services if needed.
You can also use cameras alongside an alert monitoring system. This way, if your parents push the help button, an automatic alert is sent directly to your phone (smart app). Within the same app, you can view the cameras set up within your parents' home and see if they are okay and use the two-way audio function to speak back and forth with them.
If you check the camera and realize they need emergency assistance, you can have it quickly dispatched to them without ever having to leave your child. You could also use this in reverse with older children. If you have to leave your older child at home while taking care of your aging family member, setting up cameras to view and communicate with them while you are away will provide you with peace of mind.
Caregivers of both generations face many challenges, but the opportunity to learn from each other is invaluable. If you are struggling with balancing these responsibilities, MOBI can help by providing a comprehensive monitoring solution that makes it easier for caregivers to spend more time caring for their loved ones and less worrying about them. You can also check out the Sandwich Generation Resources list below!
MOBI offers a secure caregiver alert system that makes keeping your loved ones safe easy and affordable.
Reach out to us today on Facebook or email us at email@example.com. We are happy to answer any questions you have on how home and health monitoring can assist you in your day to day life.
Resources for the Sandwich Generation• AARP
• Family Caregiver Alliance
• Caregiver Action Network