Carol Abaya coined the additional terms:
- Club Sandwich: those in their 50’s or 60’s, sandwiched between aging parents, adult children and grandchildren. OR those in their 30’s and 40’s, with young children, aging parents and grandparents.
- Open Faced: anyone else involved in elder care.
I am an official member of the Club Sandwich generation. I assist my 85 year old mother and help care for two of my four grandchildren. Luckily, my wonderful hubby helps out with the grandkids, and he also helps his 87 year old mother. Both of our mothers are still relatively healthy and living in their own homes.
5 Tips for members of the “club sandwich” generation:
- Create a “family” calendar, with everyone’s schedule noted. This way, everyone gets their needs met. Our calendar includes work and school schedules, doctor’s appointments, hair appointments, and family fun days. I’ve even color coded some of it, just so I can know at-a-glance where I need to be when!
- Schedule time for yourself. As care givers, our mental, physical, and emotional health has to be our number one priority. Carve out some time for reading, watching your favorite TV series, exercising, or cooking a family favorite meal – anything that makes you feel better!
- Identify what is causing you stress and make a plan. Sometimes, you just gotta get up and do it and stop fretting about it. You know that sink full of dishes? Or the bills that need to be paid? Cleaning the bathrooms? I make a list, find 10 minutes, and concentrate on completing a task. I feel less stressed when I can check a few things off of my daily chore list.
- Connect with friends and family. Being able to vent to my hubby or my sister (both of them help me with care-giving) helps keep me from feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities. Don’t forget to ask for help when needed! Connections can also be found on-line. Technology has made our world very small. Groups of people with similar interests and resources to help with specific issues are just a click away!
- Don’t get so wrapped up in the day-to-day list that you forget the big picture. Be grateful for each person God has put in your life! They are His children and a blessing. Live in the present and remember to laugh!