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Make the Perfect “Sandwich Generation”

5 Classic Home Cooked Ingredients

Family is important and sandwiches are delicious. Those things go without saying, but at a certain age individuals find themselves “sandwiched” between their adult children and their aging parents. This unique positioning is what we lovingly refer to as the “sandwich generation.”

The Pickle:

You thought you could avoid the pickle? This blog entry is mostly pickle with a lot to relish! 

As the elderly population BOOMS an ever greener crop of young adults struggle to attain a solid financial footing. Family members begin to find themselves in the position of caring both for their children (children’s children) and parents simultaneously. Being sandwiched is taxing both emotionally and financially, but being sandwiched is also rewarding. You just need a little preparation while considering all the angles.

Here are FIVE Home Baked Recipes for Cooking Up The Perfect Sandwich Generation in Your Home:

1. The Bread - Strong Family Bonds

Starting with a solid foundation is key in all things. If you pick the wrong bread it could seriously affect the entire sandwich. Seeing as you’re on speaking terms with and a care for your family, I’ll just assume that bread is fully baked.

Your goals at this time are probably centered around reinforcing family bonds while modeling good family structure for younger members of your family. After all, who will take care of you? 

Look at this as an opportunity to unite the generations, and be looking for ways to bring everyone together to support your efforts, as well as to reinforce the family structure. Look for ways to rally capable family members for support.

2. The Secret Sauce - Open Communication

The secret sauce is a special family recipe as unique as every specific situation. People communicate in a variety of ways but you need to be open, honest and clear in your communications. It’s your secret recipe and you’ll know when it’s right. Even when it’s mixed just right, you should always consider portion control. Some people need a little more or a little less interaction. Try to identify those friends and family members that you feel comfortable calling upon for support. The support could come in the form of a little time-off your routine to work on a passion project, or perhaps one of the grandchildren is old enough to pitch in with chores.

Communicate your needs and listen. Model your good family values to the younger family members in the things you do and say.

3.    The Veggies - Self Care & Mindfulness

Eat your greens and be aware of your own state of mind. A healthy body with a healthy mind leads to a healthy home. If you don’t prioritize your own care, then you’ll be in no position to care for another person (let alone people). If you’re emotionally spent, you’ll be unable to adequately support your loved ones.

Ask yourself, “How am I doing right now?” Reflect on your behavior and if you need time to reset your jets, don’t be afraid to ask for support. Communicate with you loved one’s or ask your partner if you need some support. Don’t be afraid to explore every option including senior care support services. Ask Willamette Valley Resources & Referrals for FREE and objective advice (referrals for care).

Find time for self care. Stepping away from your obligations even for a short time will do you a world of good.

4.    Some Cheese, if You Please? - Know Your Limits

It’s okay to say no. No, cheese. Thank you, please. Won’t you soon check back with me?

You’re in this for your family and you’re in this for the long haul. It’s okay to say no when you are stretched too thin. Your time and energy is a valuable resource and you’re ultimately responsible for how you spend this resource. Often those that care for parents while caring for children have more than enough on their plate. They have a desire for perfection and a need to complete every task. Consider bringing in other family members to aid in the care process. Perhaps seniors or older grandchildren could still help with babysitting for short periods of time.

You’re no good to anyone if you’re always burnt out. Set boundaries, delegate tasks and it’s not being selfish to consider your own mental health. Find time to do the things you enjoy and appreciate the little things. You’ll be glad you did. Consider the time and money you’ll be able to reinvest by avoiding mental exhaustion.

5.    That Beefy Goodness - LOVE

What’s a sandwich without that delicious gooey center? Have you ever had a sandwich where the protein isn’t evenly spread, and those critical last pieces are merely dry bread? Yeah! It’s critical that in all things family comes first. You're reinforcing and channeling the love that already exists in your family. Enlist capable family members in an effort to build cross generational harmony, and understand that the behavior you’re modeling is appropriately what you can expect in return for your efforts. What this means is that if you show your children how to respectfully include and care for your own parents, they should in return show you the same kindness one day. The love and the kindness that you put into your family will inevitably create the stability in structure you would expect to find support from in your senior years.

Be sure to utilize FREE resources within the community, and ask for help when it’s needed. If you or a loved one needs help, one call does it all. Call Willamette Valley Resources and Referrals for additional FREE and objective advice.

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