balancing the sandwich lifeThe term “The Sandwich Life” has taken off and spread through the baby boomer generation like fire.  What is it, you ask? The Sandwich Life refers to a person, typically in their late 30’s, 40’s, and early 50’s, who is having to not only take care of their children but also for their aging parent(s). So think of it in sandwich terms…they are the meat “sandwiched” between one slice of bread (their children) and another slice (their parents). Then the spread in-between (mustard, mayo, pickles, lettuce, or tomato) is life happening all the while they are taking care of their loved ones. This can be physically and emotionally difficult to manage. Many times, you get lost in shuffle. So how can you ensure you are balancing your life while maintaining the health and wellness of not only your parents but also you children?

First, don’t be afraid to ask for HELP! You don’t have to do this all on your own. If you have small children, set up a play date, ask a neighbor to watch them while you run an errand, or if they are old enough, teach them how to do a task around the house (rinse dishes, clean a bathtub, make a bed, etc.). If your child is back home from college, ask them to help pitch in around the house or to help with dinner. Asking for help can be tough, but it is important!

Second, make sure not only your own finances are in order but also the finances of your parent(s). Understanding where your parents are financially will help make critical decisions down the road. If you need help, you can always hire a CPA or even turn to a number of programs that may be available in your  community, like free financial advisory programs given at local high schools or colleges.

Third, assess your parent(s). Are they struggling to take care of themselves – bathing or feeding? Are they having issues remembering to take their mediation? Are they starting to look skinny? Understanding your parent(s) health is important. Set up a doctor’s visit and get a professional assessment. If they need some extra help, In-Home senior care might be the best option. Nine out of ten seniors want to stay in their own home, surrounded by their familiar possessions. In-home professionals can help care for your loved ones. Depending on what services you need, they can help with:

  • Personal Care – Bathing, dressing, eating or walking
  • Everyday Needs – Housekeeping, laundry, shopping, driving, or medication
  • Quality of Life – Community involvement, activities, companionship, or connecting with friends and family

Last but not least, don’t forget about yourself! Take time for yourself. Set aside 20 minutes to read a book or go for a run. Mental health for you is an important element in being able to support others. Neither your children nor your parent(s) will be living the best quality of life if you aren’t healthy. Don’t worry that the house is not perfect or that you didn’t fold the clothes. Letting go of the little things will not only ease your mind, but it will allow you to focus on the more important things, like having a family dinner or putting your child to bed. Whenever you are happy, the people around you are happy.

Balancing your life is important. It can be tough to have to care for not only your children but you parent(s). A lot of people in the baby boomer generation have going through the same thing. Make sure that you aren’t forgetting about yourself. After all, you are sandwiched between a lot of good things!