Managing Challenges of the ‘Sandwich Generation’

Scene depicting an elderly gentleman embracing and younger female.

The sandwich generation is a group of middle-aged adults who care for both their aging parents and their own children.

It’s a common situation amongst my peers – working full time, with dependent children and deteriorating elderly parents. It can be stressful juggling the demands of work, childcare, running a home and looking after parents whose needs are changing with advancing years.

Often the responsibility of caring for parents falls on one person’s shoulders, as siblings move away. A friend of mine is an only child and has to make all the arrangements and decisions for her 91 year old mother, whilst working 4 days a week and dealing with the demands of 2 teenagers. At the same time her husband is sorting out his parents’ family home after they have passed away. All this is at arms length as they live an hour’s drive away. 

One thing is for sure, the Sandwich Generation is time poor. They also feel a sense of guilt that they can’t manage to do everything as well as they would like. Do you visit your parents on Saturday or take your teenager to view a potential University? Do you cut your parents’ grass or your own? And where do you fit in leisure time, doing exercise, seeing friends, relaxing? No wonder this generation feel like they’re being squeezed! However the number one priority is to stay mentally and physically well, as the younger and older generations are relying on them. If they crumble, the lives of those closest to them will too.

What’s to be done? The key word is delegation. It’s hard to let go sometimes, but you have to prioritise. Spending time with your family and friends is more important than chores. Think about which jobs you have to do and those which can be given to someone else. If your children are secondary school age, they need to start picking up the slack. They should be changing beds, cleaning their rooms, emptying the dishwasher and taking out the bin. Pocket money should not be a free ride!

What can be outsourced? Cleaning, ironing and gardening can easily be delegated to suitable individuals or companies. Carers come in lots of different types and it’s important to provide the right support for your parents. They may not need nursing care, but just companionship and assistance with more difficult tasks. When it comes to downsizing, or decluttering when the time comes to sell your parents’ home, a professional declutterer and concierge can help speed up the process and provide the necessary support.

Fiona Jones

I offer tailored solutions to busy people and have been asked to recruit lots of different staff from cleaners and housekeepers to carers and companions for the elderly. I carry out rigorous checks and vet potential candidates carefully. I also can assist people with the difficult task of sorting through houses after a loved one has passed away, or by decluttering and preparing a house for sale when downsizing is necessary.

If I can be of service to you, don’t hesitate to contact me.

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