The Silent Strain
of Taking Care of
You’ve just dropped your son off at robotics, and now you’re in a race against traffic to get your daughter to soccer. Once that’s done, you’ll have to make a mad dash to pick up your son.
Straight after, your 83-year-old mom needs help getting into the SUV for her podiatry appointment.
And to top it all off, your boss is pinging you nonstop about that looming deadline. All you can do is cry…
If you can relate to this, you’re part of the “sandwich generation,” which includes 23% of Americans (both men and women in their 30s-50s) who are “sandwiched” between raising children and caring for elderly parents.
With the number of people who fall into this group increasing due to delayed parenting and longer life expectancies, more people are facing growing physical, emotional, and financial burdens. It’s crucial we recognize these challenges.
The Dual Challenge of the Sandwich Generation
The challenge isn’t just managing schedules; there’s an emotional toll as well. The weight of dual responsibilities can lead to emotional and mental challenges like stress, guilt that stems from feeling like they can’t give anyone the time or attention they really need, and even resentment.
But the financial and time burdens are costly, too. A Policygenius Sandwich Generation survey found that about 60% of respondents were stressed about the 1,350 hours and $10,000 they’re spending on caregiving each year.
Signs You’re More Than Just Tired
All the pressure piling onto the sandwich generation can lead to more than just exhaustion. The physical symptoms can range from headaches to trouble sleeping. Emotionally, you may feel resentment, persistent sadness, or constantly on edge. Forgetfulness, indecision, and overwhelm may be clues you’re struggling mentally.
There’s a saying: “You can’t pour from an empty cup,” and it certainly applies to caregiving. Over time, the caregiver fatigue you’re experiencing can morph into caregiver burnout, which can affect your ability to function.
It’s important to recognize these signs early–and proactively care for your own mental and physical wellbeing so you have energy to support your loved one–thus safeguarding the health of you and your loved one.
Strategies for Navigating Caregiver Responsibilities
It’s crucial to take steps to cope with this pressure, before it breaks you. Speak to your primary care physician about the challenges you’re having, so they can offer personalized advice.
A supportive resource Hoag offers is our membership program, Hoag Compass. As a member, you’ll have access to a personal Care Coordinator, who can take care of scheduling any appointments or lab work you need, thus relieving some of your stress.
Here are some other evidence-based ideas for managing the pressure:
- Be open with your family about your feelings, challenges, and what you need from them.
- Take care of yourself: Whether it’s a long bath, meditation, exercise, or a walk in the woods, take time for yourself to recuperate.
- Get help from a counselor or therapist. They can offer coping mechanisms and a safe place to vent.
- Join a support group for caregivers to get advice and feel understood.
Seek Support at Hoag
If you recognize yourself in this article, Hoag can help.
Not only is Hoag Compass a good idea for your own healthcare, but it can also help you with the care of your loved one. A personal Care Coordinator can schedule all your loved one’s imaging, specialty, or lab appointments to make things easier. Convenient virtual appointments can help relieve the time burden on you and your elderly parent(s).
For even more convenient access to outstanding care, you can also download Hoag’s mobile app.
If your elderly parent has chronic conditions, is a member of Hoag Medical Group, and has Medicare Managed Care, you can be assigned a high-risk care manager to work directly with you and your parent(s) to help with admissions, education, and navigating the system, relieving pressure from both of you.
If you need help taking care of elderly parent(s) with serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or Parkinson’s, check out one of Hoag’s many support groups.
The bottom line is, caring for elderly parents while managing your own life’s demands is challenging, but you don’t have to face it alone. Hoag provides the tools, resources, and support to ensure both you and your loved ones receive the best care possible.
Don’t wait until the stress becomes too much. Let Hoag help today.