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    JUNE 30, 2000
    The "Sandwiched Generation” Caregiver
    By: Gail R Mitchell
    
    Caregiving is a challenging role 
    for anyone. However, when it is 
    coupled with caring for the needs 
    of your aging parents, along with 
    the needs of your spouse and 
    children, the effects of caregiving 
    can really pose a dilemma that you 
    will deeply feel.
    
    Balancing Your Time - is the key 
    factor since caring for your parent 
    may take away from the time you 
    spend with your immediate family. 
    If you have taken or are taking on 
    the responsibility of caring for your 
    parent(s), it is up to you to learn 
    about the issues, which can arise 
    and take the necessary steps to 
    balance your time as well as the 
    dynamics that will exist between 
    everyone.
    
    Communication - You will find that 
    your family may experience a range 
    of emotions from jealousy (because 
    your parent(s) is (are) taking up so 
    much of your time; anger and 
    resentment because they aren't first 
    in your life anymore; fear as to how 
    long this is going to continue and 
    concern with your being ok as well 
    as your parents. They may want to 
    help out if you will permit them to 
    and they also may not want to have 
    anything to do with your role in caring 
    for your parents. 
    
    Your family may experience a variety 
    of feelings. They may be consciously 
    aware of their feelings and they may 
    be oblivious.  It is essential for you all 
    to learn good communication skills so 
    that everyone will be able to express 
    him or herself. Likewise, you must be 
    able to communicate your own mixed 
    feelings to each of them on a level that 
    they understand. If you are unable to 
    do this on your own, you might want 
    to seek professional counseling to assist 
    you because your emotions of fear, 
    anger, guilt, confusion and so forth 
    will ripple out to the members of 
    your family. To further avoid these 
    consequences, you may want to set 
    up special, quality times for these 
    meetings either as a family, one on 
    one, or both. These meetings should 
    be arranged on a regular basis.
    
    It is also important for you to 
    involve your family as much as 
    you can. Sharing important 
    decision-making choices are a 
    necessity with your spouse. Having 
    your children spend quality time 
    with their grandparents is also 
    important. Younger children can 
    make arts and crafts type of gifts. 
    Older children can read to them, 
    play games and reflect with their 
    grandparents on their own 
    upbringing. If you try to play the 
    martyr, a barrier will be created 
    amongst your own family, so it 
    is wise to do all that is in your 
    power to keep the communications 
    open. By openly telling them that 
    they are all in this together and 
    creating opportunities to participate, 
    you will find your family more 
    receptive and loving towards the 
    entire situation.
    
    You and your family members 
    may also begin grieving at the 
    instance of a diagnosis for your 
    parent. There is no right or wrong 
    way to grieve. However, this too 
    needs to be acknowledged. 
    Grieving is a process and it is highly 
    individualized so each member 
    must be nurtured and guided to 
    working through their grief.
    
    Another issue, which many 
    caregivers are faced with, is their 
    work. Whether you are working 
    part time or full time, if you have 
    a professional career that requires 
    your complete dedication, service, 
    and attention, you are will be 
    straddled with making life long 
    decisions, commitments and 
    possibly even compromises.
    All these issues compounded with 
    the full time responsibility of 
    caregiving a parent is enough to 
    stress anyone out. Careful 
    thought and consideration will 
    be needed to adapt to the 
    situation. This lies fully in your 
    hands as the caregiver.
    
    Listen to your heart. Your 
    commitment must first be 
    to yourself, then to your 
    family and lastly to your 
    parents. It is difficult to make 
    this type of decision, but the 
    truth is if you are not stable 
    and focused, you will not be 
    able to care for your family 
    or parent (s). You must 
    discipline yourself as a caregiver 
    to get your needs met. This 
    means eating properly, 
    exercising, sleeping, socializing, 
    relaxation and doing things to 
    nurture yourself. Learning to 
    say “no” and setting boundaries 
    are part of being a good 
    caregiver. Working through 
    your guilt, resentment, feeling 
    obligated to care for them, 
    and a variety of other emotions 
    must be cleared so that you 
    are in an open and receptive 
    place of balance to juggle your 
    time accordingly.
    
    With this in mind, the role of 
    caregiving can prove to be 
    transformational, healing, 
    one of growth and a loving 
    experience. You may never 
    have the opportunity to 
    experience this magnificent 
    but bittersweet challenge.
    
    
    We look forward to the opportunity 
    of serving you. We welcome your 
    comments, suggestions, and questions. 
    Please feel free to contact us at: 
    mailto:boomersint@aol.com or 
    mailto:grm4love@care-givers.com
    
    
    

    Boomers' Caregiver's Main Page

    Boomers' Caregiver's Articles
    Gail's Web Site : Empowering Caregivers
    Welcome to Boomers International.
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