The Sandwich Generation: Balancing Life Between Children and Elderly Parents By Cahal Carmody

Are you part of the sandwich generation? Do you have the responsibility of taking care of your children as well as your elderly parents? Have you experienced constant stress and find yourself overworked due to the amount of pressure from multiple sources? If so, then you are part of this generation, along with more than a quarter of Canada’s population. Not only can caring for a child be a handful, but also ensuring your parents are taken care of can be exhausting. Sandwich is used to describe this generation as these adults are sandwiched between their children and elderly parents while simultaneously trying to live a balanced life that includes working and managing family finances.

Now that we’ve defined your issue, it’s time for a solution. Managing your stress is one way to overcome the feeling of exhaustion and pressure. It is important to de-stress in order to live a happy and healthy life. Here are a few tips that may help you overcome your stress.

Be aware of how you are dealing with the stress both physically and emotionally. Do you find yourself exhibiting unhealthy behaviours during those high-stress times? Are these behaviours specific to a certain event or situation?

Identify the events or situations that cause you to act in an unhealthy manner. From having to help your children with homework, to driving your elderly parents to their appointments, there are multiple aspects that can factor into your level of stress.

Put things into perspective and look at the big picture. Analyze and prioritize what is really important and make time for it. Delegating is one way to lighten your load in order to get the break you deserve. Are there tasks that your friends and family can help you with so you’re able to relax?

Manage your stress in a healthy way which could include going for walks, exercising or talking through your issues with a loved one. The goal is to turn your unhealthy behaviours into healthy ones. This can be a difficult process so focus on changing one behaviour at a time.

Take care of yourself both mentally and physically by eating right, sleeping enough and remaining in contact with friends and family. Having the energy to perform day-to-day tasks is only possible when you take care of yourself—no matter how hectic your life may get.

Ask for professional support. You may find yourself in need of someone to talk to outside of your friends and family. Seeking help from a professional, such as a psychologist, may help you to address the emotions behind your worries, better manage stress, and change unhealthy behaviors.

Keep in mind that these tips may work better for some than for others. If you find yourself continuously struggling, there is always the option to lighten your load by hiring an in-home care service company to help with your elderly parents. Remember that you don’t have to do it alone.

CAHAL CARMODY is the owner of Premier HomeCare Services Toronto Central, which is accredited with exemplary standing, the highest level awarded by Accreditation Canada TM.