We as humans have come a long ways from our primal caveman days, and consequently, now, most of us are lucky enough to live past the age of 30. In fact, the current South African life expectancy clocks in at 64.63 years.
However, despite the gratitude we have for being able to spend more time with our loved ones, higher life expectancy rates have spurred the emersion of a new generation with a unique set of struggles, better known as “the sandwich generation.”
Read on to learn more about what the “sandwich generation” is, as well as ways to manage stress when you’re stuck in the middle, so to speak.
What is the Sandwich Generation?
The Sandwich Generation is an increasingly popular term used to describe the generation “sandwiched” between taking care of their children and their ageing parents or grandparents. This emotional and financial responsibility can take a toll on people as they struggle to manage the stress that comes with taking care of multiple people with different needs at one time.
Managing Stress in the Sandwich Generation—Child Care, Senior Care Living, Self-Care, Stairlifts, and More...
1. Don’t Put Too Much Pressure on Yourself—Accept That You Can’t Do Everything Alone.
First and foremost, it is important that you acknowledge this. As much as you want to do everything in your power to care for your loved ones, you must learn to accept your limitations, as well as this hard truth—You can’t do everything alone. It simply isn’t possible, and you shouldn’t drive yourself crazy trying to do so. Similarly, you shouldn’t beat yourself up or feel guilty for not being able to do everything by yourself.
If anything, you should feel proud of yourself. What you are doing is not easy, and you are doing the best that you can with what you have. Take some time to appreciate all of your efforts, and take a deep breath. You are a strong, resilient, and capable human being. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it is an act of love towards the ones you care about most, as well as yourself. It demonstrates that you only want the best for you and your loved ones, and you are willing to utilise other resources to ensure that everyone’s unique needs are being met.
2. Remember to Take Care of Yourself Too—Look into Therapy, Make “Me Time,” Take a Break.
Caregivers are experts at fulfilling others’ needs, doting on people that require a helping hand. However, ironically, many caregivers fail to fulfill their own needs, forgetting to care for their most important, lifelong patients—themselves.
It may seem counterintuitive as a caregiver, but taking care of yourself and prioritising your own mental and physical health actually allows you to better care for others. Caregiving is not meant to be at your own expense, sacrificing your personal needs for the sake of others. After all, if you are not at your best, how are you supposed to give others your best?
Much like the way that you dedicate time to your loved ones, encouraging them to pursue their own health and happiness, you must do the same for yourself. Care for your body with proper nutrition, medication, adequate sleep, and exercise. Care for your mind with self-love, regular breaks, and therapy sessions that allow you to process your thoughts and feelings.
Squeeze in “me time” sessions. If you enjoy being in nature, go for a short stroll around the lake. Watch an episode of your favorite show, bake a pie, soak in a relaxing bubble bath, or paint—Whatever it is that makes you happy, make a little time for yourself every day to do the things you love. A happy and healthy you is the best you.
3. Split the Workload with Trusted Friends, Family, or Members of the Community.
Being a caregiver already requires you to give so much of your time and energy to others, but being the sole caregiver can leave you feeling too drained and exhausted to even take care of yourself. Even worse, if you feel like the people you are caring for are completely dependent on you, it can feel like taking time to care for yourself is at their expense, possibly putting their safety and health in danger.
While caregivers are amazing human beings that dedicate their time and energy towards helping others for long, grueling hours at a time, they are not machines that can run constantly without rest. We are all human, and realistically, relying on only one person at all times is unsafe and impractical. This is why it is vital that there is always someone else that can care for the person, should you not be able to.
If money is tight and you’re unable to hire a professional caregiver to tend to your kids or ageing family members, it is always possible to split the workload among trusted friends, family, neighbours, or members of the community without having to empty your wallet. Get a friend to watch your kids while you drive your grandparents to their doctor's appointments. Have your parents’ next-door neighbour check in on them while you’re helping your kids with their homework. Have your parents alternate between living with you and your siblings—Every little bit of help makes a significant difference, relieving you of some stress and allowing you to balance your hectic life a little better.
4. Look into Hiring Help for Your Kids and/or Senior Parents and Grandparents.
If you are able to afford it, hiring professional help for your kids and/or senior parents and grandparents can lift some of the load from your shoulders, allowing you to prioritise and focus on the aspects of your life that demand more attention instead of juggling several responsibilities at once. However, it is important to be selective with who you choose to be a caregiver for your loved ones.
When looking into a potential caregiver, make sure that they go through a thorough background check. It is also important to be wary of people with a history of abuse, violence, or short tempers—Under no circumstance should you hire a caregiver that exhibits these characteristics, as they can take out their stress on your undeserving loved ones. Read their online reviews, ask for references, and ask people you trust for recommendations. Even after selecting a caregiver, you should regularly observe the way that they interact with your kids or ageing family members, as well as monitor your loved one’s mental and physical health.
5. Consider Investing in Other Forms of Support—Assistant Devices Such as Stairlifts.
Sometimes stress stems from worry, and seeing your loved ones struggling to get around the home can leave you feeling scared for their safety and wellbeing. Help doesn’t have to come in the form of a human being. Support comes in all shapes and sizes—Just like our famous Acorn assistance device, otherwise known as a stairlift.
Acorn’s variety of stairlift models for indoor, outdoor, curved, and straight staircases allow your loved ones who struggle with stairs to remain mobile and independent, having full access to all parts of the home from the top floor to the backyard. No longer will you have to worry about your loved ones’ wellbeing or need someone on standby to assist them with going safely up or down the stairs. An Acorn stairlift gives you and your loved ones the freedom and independence to live life on your own schedule, coming and going as you please both inside and outside of your home.
Get the Assistance You and Your Loved Ones Need: Contact Acorn Today for Your Free Stair Lift Quote
Not only do stairlifts make our caregivers' lives easier by providing them assistance in caring for their loved ones, but they improve the lives of the users, as they can regain their mobility and ultimately experience more independence and freedom.
Contact Acorn Stairlifts today to receive your free, no-obligation stairlift quote and home survey. Start making you, your caregivers, and loved ones’ lives more carefree with the help of Acorn’s reliable stairlifts.