Thursday, September 25, 2008
The "Sandwich Generation"
Those of us that are caring for elderly, ill or dying parents and also have children to tend to in the home are often labeled as members of the "Sandwich Generation". It's certainly not a new concept... humans have likely been "sandwiched" between caring for their children and ailing parents for countless generations. However, nowadays, many members of a single family may be scattered throughout the world... making information gathering, decision-making and "hands on" care more complicated than ever.
Over eight years ago, I became a member of the Sandwich Generation. My parents moved into my home to live with me and my twelve year old son. My father's dementia was severe and my mother could barely walk. After six months, the stresses of care giving, full time work, "making ends meet" and seeing that my son received the attention that he deserved took its toll. It truly was one of the most stressful, anxiety-filled and guilt-ridden times in my life.
It took a long time and a lot of hard work, but I finally found solutions in the form of a high, quality group home and later, an excellent long-term care facility. My parents have since passed on, but I have no doubt that they received excellent care in safe and attentive settings. It was not the ideal solution. I truly wished that they could have stayed with me until the end, but it was, indeed, the wise thing to do.
Internet access to resources, information and discussion forums was mighty thin when my parents were living with me. Google was less than two years old at the time. Fortunately, there is now a lot of information on the internet for those who are "sandwiched" and those who wonder if that time is looming on the horizon.
Finding local, community services
Department of Health and Human Resources -- "Eldercare Locator"
Solid, practical advice from CNN Money.com
"Sandwich Generation: Survive the Mid-Life Tug of War"
"The 10 Signs Your Elderly Parent Needs Help"
A more humorous slant from AGIS
"Top Ten Signs You Are a Sandwich Caregiver"