A growing number of adults throughout the United States are members of what is known as the sandwich generation. In fact, among adults between the ages of 40 and 60, approximately one in eight are family caregivers providing direct care for aging family members, and as many as 10 million more are distance caregivers, and a large number of these are also caring for their children at the same time, putting them right in the sandwich. This can be a challenging position for you as you strive to manage the needs of both generations, but you may also find that this is a very meaningful and even beneficial role in your life. One way that you can see the tremendous benefits this opportunity offers you is in the ways that your aging parent can help your children as you care for both.
Some of the ways you are aging adult can help your children throughout your care routine include:
- Providing supervision and care that is appropriate for their abilities while you are managing other tasks.
- Teaching your children about their culture and their family history, which can help them to feel more connected to themselves and to the people who came before them. This can give them a stronger sense of identity and responsibility, and help them to continue these traditions as they get older.
- Teaching your children skills they may not usually be exposed to. Many classical skills such as sewing, quilting, and baking are far less emphasized now than they were before. Your parent can teach your children the skills to give them useful abilities, and an opportunity to connect with their grandparent.
- Instilling in your children a sense of character, responsibility, and strength. While you don’t want to put the pressure and stress of caring for your aging parent on your children, as they get older, they can participate in the care efforts in ways that strengthen relationships and character, teach patience and humility, and develop greater compassion for others.
Independence and autonomy are very important issues for all people. This includes elderly adults. In fact, feeling independent and autonomous can become even more important as a person ages and begins experiencing challenges and limitations that might take away from those feelings. As a caregiver, it is important for you to find ways to help your parent maintain as much independence as possible as they age in place and deal with their own limitations and needs. One exceptionally effective way you can do this is to start home care for them. Having an in-home care services provider with your parent can support their sense of independence and autonomy in a variety of ways. Providing transportation that allows them to do more of their errands on their own and stay more active, modifying tasks throughout their home so they can participate in them more effectively, and supporting good choices in areas such as their diet can all combine to make your parent feel more independent and like themselves.