Family Dynamics

The “Sandwich Generation”

For some of us, the mid-life years require that we “parent our parents” as well as our kids. Although our kids require less of our time on a daily basis, we are still a big part of their lives in many ways. But what makes this more stressful is the time and care our own parents need as their health and mental wellness changes in their later years.

If your parents or parent are anything like my mom, he/she has always been an independent person who prefers to stay that way if at all possible. And then the time comes when it’s just no longer a possibility. They’ve fallen one too many times, they’re not eating well and become dehydrated or they become depressed because they have lost their spouse or good friends so they don’t want to get out of bed.

All of a sudden, the children must get involved with their parent’s daily care-and the choices are never easy. First, we take away the car because the thought of them driving is not safe. Then, we either bring in home care or move them somewhere with more support so that we aren’t worried about them 24/7. We take control of their finances since they no longer can handle the bill paying and account maintenance.And as they continue to get older, some of us deal with many other issues involving their physical and mental health.

The fact is that none of our parents thought they would necessarily live as long as they have-and quality of life becomes a factor.

So just when you thought you were done with “parenting” on a regular basis, this next phase of life requires some of us to step up and become an involved “parent for our parents”. We are definitely the sandwich generation- If you had asked me 3 years ago if I had seen this coming, I would have said “No”. So now, I’m talking about it for those of you who may be dealing with it as well-it takes a good amount of time and a strong family to work through this and know that what’s ahead may only be more difficult. I definitely don’t have all the answers-just letting people know that there are plenty of us dealing with this -and if you want to chat about it, I’m open to having a conversation..

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