Are you a member of the Sandwich Generation? A term that is gaining traction in the vernacular, the Sandwich Generation consists of parents – adults with children – who are now also in the position of caring for their own aging parents, often all under one roof. It’s an expansion of the nuclear family and a unique challenge, a direct outgrowth of a population living longer, healthier lives than ever before.
If you’re a caregiver stuck between the needs of your children and the needs of your parents, it can be hard to strike the necessary balance, but there are tools that can help. Consider these 3 tips for integrating three generations under one roof.
Assess Your Space
For many in the sandwich generation, the only viable living option in terms of space is a private home. Apartments tend to be too crowded, and even a condo can be a squeeze. No matter how much space you have to work with, however, you’ll need to find ways to make it work for everyone and that starts with a clear assessment of your physical constraints.
Consider what aspects you value as part of the family experience. Do you want your family to sit down to dinner together each night in a warm, inviting kitchen? Or is it more important to you for everyone to have their own bedroom? Expanding or altering your space based on these desires can help reduce tensions and make the new living situation more amenable to all.
Caring for children and your aging parents at once can be an expensive undertaking, so don’t be surprised if you wake up one morning to find your bank account dwindling. If finances are tight, consider contacting local community services to learn about different supportive options. You might also consider taking a small loan to bridge a budgetary shortfall. While you shouldn’t get into the habit of relying on financial supports, a loan can be just what you need to pay that one urgent bill or cover care services while you work out a better solution.
Build Your Boundaries
When you become a parent, those who’ve been there are often eager to offer their assistance and advice on everything from feeding and sleep to childcare and toys, but while you may be able to shrug off a friend or overbearing stranger, it can be much harder to handle parenting clashes with your own parents – especially if you’re living together.
If your parents are living with you, set clear boundaries that mark you as an adult in their eyes; simply put, it can be hard for your parents to let go of their image of you as a child to be imbued with knowledge. Then enforce those boundaries by listening and offering a consistent response to their interventions. You get to parent your children as you see fit.
The Sandwich Generation may be new to our lexicon, but we’ve been headed in this direction as a society for years now. With that in mind, then, know that learning to cope with the changing shape of family life is a challenge, but it can also be a blessing that brings your family closer together if you choose to approach it that way.
Originally posted 2016-10-02 11:33:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter