By Glenn F. Martin, Founder & CEO of Full Circle Home Care Inc.
Who is the Sandwich Generation?
First coined by social worker Dorothy Miller in 1981, “Sandwich Generation” has taken on a life of its own. The term originally described women in their 30s to 40s who were “sandwiched” between young children and aging parents as their primary caregiver. A lot has changed since then. Women are delaying child-bearing and seniors are living longer. That means that adult children often carry this burden decades longer than their parents or grandparents did. Because of these added variables, the “sandwich generation” definition has morphed along the way and tends to target both genders and the predominant age is 40-65 years old. The term has even been added to the Webster dictionary.
Challenges when Caring for Kids and Parents
While balancing the double burden of caring for parents and children at the same time is hardly new, improvements in geriatric care are ensuring that people are living longer. The stress that this places on adult children acting as caregivers can be overwhelming. If dementia has become an issue, then living alone without support may no longer be possible.
Being in the middle of the Sandwich brings particular challenges. Caregivers find their time and energy squeezed between the generations on either side, who rely on them. In addition to financial and physical strain, caregivers feel an emotional burden, trying to be “a rock” for every generation and individual in the family. It’s that sense of responsibility for family members that drives sandwiched caregivers to exhaustion.
Options for Sandwich Generation Home Care
First and foremost, one of the best things you can do for yourself and your parent is to learn your options. Sandwich generation caregivers sometimes feel they need to do everything without help. If you do, it won’t be long before you are feeling overwhelmed and burned out. Take the time upfront to discover which local services are available to you.
If you are in need of child care services, Full Circle can help you find the perfect nanny for your family. In fact we are so confident in our services, we offer a six month replacement guarantee if the nanny leaves or is determine not be the right fit.
At Full Circle Home Care, we recognize that adult children often have limited financial resources. Therefore paying personal support workers or nurses to come in 24/7 to help is usually out of the question. Even in communities that have programs that can help, dealing with long waiting lists means that one or more family members will be forced to stay home full-time to provide this care themselves. At Full Circle, we work with each family to create a personalized care plan for their parent or loved one. We can provide in-home care of a Personal Support Worker (PSW) or nurse to perform Active Daily Living (ADL) tasks within the home. Whether it is having someone in to cook meals or simply be a companion, we create home health care options that can make all the difference and give you some much needed relief.
At Full Circle Home Care we also realize those siblings and other family members who live far away often feel a sense of guilt for knowing they are not there for their families when they are needed the most. Many want to be part of their parent’s care but don’t know how. We have solved that problem by leveraging a state-of-the-art technology that was designed with tech-shy seniors in mind and there is no risk of messing up the system.
Through the use of a computer tablet, Full Circle allows our caregivers and family members to support a senior at a fraction of the cost of an in-person visit, enabling more flexibility for families. It is a simple and unique all-in-one touchscreen tablet that is customized to fit each senior and their family’s needs.
The technology can also offer an innovative alternative to families who are not quite ready for in-home care. The system can be used by seniors who want to remain in their own home but often feel isolated, to allow them to be connected to family members anywhere in the world.
With a single touch, a two-way medical grade encrypted video connection is made with a family member, professional caregiver, doctor or friend. Remote family can also share photos or videos instantly from their computer or smartphone, helping the senior feel more connected and involved.
If family members are concerned about their parent(s) living alone at home, the system can be set up to help monitor their activities through monitors and motion detectors, all while maintain their parent’s privacy.
If a parent requires in-home care, the system can monitor when the caregiver arrives and leaves, and provides the user with a detailed care plan to follow and for family members to be kept informed.
For those seniors with chronic health conditions that require regular readings (blood pressure, sugar levels, heart rate, etc.) the technology has wireless health devices which can remind seniors to take the required readings and store the information on the system for reviewed remotely by family members or caregivers. Medication reminders can also be set up and the system can alert caregivers if they have–or have not–been taken.
The key to a stress-free, or at least less-stressful, sandwich situation is asking for help. If you are you a member of the Sandwich Generation and need help with childcare or senior care services, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or directly to me at email@example.com.