In today's world, maintaining a career, raising growing children and taking care of one’s self is indeed a challenge.
Additionally, millions of adults who have children at home also have an aging loved one for whom they give care. They are the "Sandwich Generation."
Although striking a balance between work and home is a daily challenge for most of us, according to the National Family Caregivers Association, more than 70 million Americans are sandwiched between the generations – many with parents in their 80s and kids still at home. In fact, 25% of the adult population has provided care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member during the last year.
Although the role of caregiver has many rewards, it is still an extremely challenging, stressful undertaking, especially among those in the Sandwich Generation.
To support the caregivers among us, we offer you these tips:
- Get regular physical exercise.
- Maintain a normal sleeping schedule and get adequate amounts of sleep each night.
- Avoid drinking or smoking excessively.
- Take time out of the day for yourself – read a book, watch a movie, etc.
- Develop healthy coping strategies - such as relaxation techniques, yoga or meditation - for high-stress situations.
- Seek a balance between caregiving and the rest of your life.
- Recognize you are human and you are doing the best you can.
- Learn how to properly care for your family member.
- Get training so you know how to properly perform needed skills, which will make your work easier and safer.
- Practice healthy habits, including maintaining a balanced diet, getting regular exercise and sufficient sleep, and having regular physical checkups.
- When needed, get help with physical tasks from other care providers,
- neighbors, or sources of help.
- Work to keep your care recipient as independent as possible to reduce your stress and maintain dignity.
Additionally, a new Web site, www.icaregiver.org, is a wonderful resource for caregivers, offering a place to turn for those in the Sandwich Generation and other family caregivers. We commend you for all that you give, your dedication, energy and time and ask you not to forget how important it is for you to take good care of yourself -- for your own sake and that of those in your care.