noun: sandwich generation; plural noun: sandwich generations
- a generation of people, typically in their thirties or forties, responsible both for bringing up their own children and for the care of their ageing parents.
“I heard this expression recently and realised it describes me perfectly! I am a forty something mother of two daughters with caring responsibilities for my 82 year old father suffering from dementia. I also work 4 days a week.
Dad doesn’t live with us; however, I visit him 4 times a week plus daily calls to him. I cook meals for him, clean his house and do all his washing as well as support him through the bad days with his dementia. I am lucky that I have a very supportive husband as well as very understanding daughters, who never mind if I don’t make a netball match or swimming gala because of my caring role.
We all know that my dad will not be able to live at home alone for much longer, and as a family we are pulling together to get through the difficult times now. Here are a few things that I find helpful on a day to day basis:
- Make lists and keep a diary – I would be lost without either of these! There is so much to remember – dad’s medical appointments, the girls sporting and school commitments; once it’s written down I don’t need to worry.
- Accept offers of help – I have learnt how important it is to say “yes please”; to my daughter offering to wash the dishes, or a friend offering to drop in on dad to save me a trip.
- Take 15 minutes out of each day for yourself – I have just finished an online mindfulness course and am taking time out each day to lose myself in a book.
- Talk and communicate – be it with a friend over a quick cuppa or online to a fellow carer – it helps to talk with others; especially those who understand how difficult it can be at times when caring for a much loved family member. “
SC, 45, carer for her father, on being a member of the ‘sandwich generation’
Over the years there have been a number of services that have helped me as I’ve transitioned from being a full-time carer to a working carer. Before seeking full time work, I received Carers Allowance from the Department of Work and Pensions, and whilst this was not a significant amount it did help me to manage financially during a difficult period. I also received short term support from Devon Carerswhich enabled me to spend time away from my caring role. This was critical in regards to being able to organize myself and look for/apply for work.
Receiving employment advice from the Carers UKadvice line helped me understand that I have rights as a carer, and that these rights are protected in the Care Act 2014. Carers UK encouraged me to find an employer that was empathetic and supportive of my caring role.
Being able to read and discuss issues with other carers on the forum was handy as, like many carers, I experienced guilt, frustration, and social isolation as a result of my caring role. Being able to discuss these issues, and hear other carers experiences, helped me to realise that these kinds of emotional impacts are common. Knowing that I was not alone in facing these issues made my caring role much easier to deal with.
James, 35, carer for his mum, on getting back to work whilst continuing to care.
Have a good relationship with your GP- they are the person that supports you through the minefield of healthcare professionals that you will meet whilst caring for your loved one.
Be positive, – a life limiting condition doesn’t mean your loved one is going to pass away soon. They could be with you for years, every challenge is hurdle make sure your mind set means you are going on to jump those hurdles for many years into the future.
Carer for husband with life limiting condition anon