Members of the "sandwich generation"—those taking on the care of their aging parents while also raising children or financially supporting adult children—may feel stressed and overextended. Most current sandwich generation members are Gen X or millennials. Some are still dealing with their student loan debt as they try to help their children navigate college selection and research assisted-living facilities for their parents.
Fortunately, there are steps you may take to mitigate these stresses and develop a strong action plan. Here are four tips to help sandwich generation members survive and thrive during this season of life.
No one handles it all alone. One way to manage stress involves focusing on the most important tasks and letting others slide. For example, if you are deciding whether to spend the next two hours mopping your kitchen floor or working on a time-sensitive task for your job, the highest priority is likely to be your job.
Other decisions might be more complex. Having a broad idea of what value to place on various categories such as work, marriage, parenting, social obligations, volunteering, and household tasks may help you make prioritized choices.
Delegate and Put Others to Work
As more tasks demand attention, some may need to be dropped, and others delegated. This situation is where prioritization comes in. Being in the sandwich generation means having others—including those you care for—available to help. You may want to delegate certain household chores to your teenagers, ask your spouse to take on responsibilities you have previously handled, or lean on siblings to help with your parents.
Consider an In-Law Suite
Not every adult child wants to share a home with their parents, even in a healthy relationship. However, an in-law suite may be worth considering for many families when minor children and aging parents require care and oversight. With this strategy, you have your entire family under one roof instead of being spread too thin.
Having an in-law suite as a separate living space for your parents might lower friction. They may provide extra help when needed—supervising homework, shuttling teens to practice, helping with meals, and taking on other household tasks. You are also close enough to assist your parents when they need help and have the opportunity to be the first to notice when they begin to need a higher level of care.
Hire Help When Necessary
If you struggle to finish your to-do list each day, evaluate what tasks are good for hired help to perform. You may benefit from dog walkers, lawn care workers, and house cleaners. There are meal preparation services, nannies, and drivers. A wide range of workers may take on duties that would otherwise fall to you.
The expansion of the app-based gig economy has made it even easier to find reliable workers. Perhaps you want a seasonal deep-cleaning of your home or are looking for a long-term childcare, pickup arrangement. If the budget allows, you might be able to find the help you need.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
This article was prepared by WriterAccess.
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