Challenges of the “Sandwich Generation”

Image licensed Creative Commons CC0

Image licensed Creative Commons CC0

It is physically and emotionally draining to raise a child. Now, add the idea of taking care of an aging parent. That, I can relate to. I have been taking care of my bed-ridden mother for 2 years now and the amount of stress is enormous. So now I am wondering, how do people from the sandwich generation manage their lives?

Merriam-Webster defines Sandwich Generation as a generation of people who are caring for their aging parents while supporting their own children.

As life expectancy on elders continue to increase, more and more adult children are also becoming part of the sandwich generation. Nowadays, a lot of elderly parents are put into nursing homes with the children’s intention of providing them with quality health care support. But not everyone has the financial capability and the heart to leave the care of their parents to the hands of other people. As for me, I can’t imagine letting others take care of my mother other than me. Whatever reason these children have, the responsibilities and duties are still the same. This commitment can be overwhelming and exhausting if you think about it but there are a lot of ways you can make it a manageable and rewarding experience.

BedRailIt is quite impossible to watch over the elderly all day especially during the night time. That’s why it is important to start with installing safety bed rails. These are designed to keep the person from falling off the bed. There is a wide variety of bed rails in the market to choose from. They come in different designs, sizes and price range. You can buy them from Amazon or other retail stores such as Walgreens.

In choosing what bed rail to buy, you have to consider the height and width to ensure ease for the person to get in and out of bed.  Also, make sure that it is suited for the user’s weight.

Installing a bed rail may sound difficult, but trust me, you don’t need to be handyman in order to do it. All you need to do is to assemble the parts together as per instruction and install it between the mattress and the box-spring/frame.  Before letting your parent start using it, let him/her check if the position of the bed rail is good and allow them to practice getting in and out of the bed to ensure that it has been secured properly.

babymonitorAnother assistive device that can help you is an audio or video room monitor. I recommend a two-way one in order to communicate when needed.  In this way, you will be able to monitor your parent while they are resting or if they are prone to wander during the night. At the same time, you can attend to your children’s needs and also do some chores without neglecting your elder parent.  But before installing the device, make sure that the person is comfortable with this and that he/she agrees with such monitoring. These devices are available in a lot of retail and online stores. They are usually sold as baby monitors.

Another thing to consider is how you can provide recreational activities so that your parent won’t go through social isolation. Lack of adequate transportation is a primary cause. I suggest that you offer your loved one a ride or help them learn how to use public transportation in order for them to maintain social connections and also be able to go to their appointments with a sense of independence.

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