There is a commonly spoken phrase in our society – “the sandwich generation” – which describes those caregivers who are simultaneously caring for aging parents as well as for growing children. Being the caregiver in the middle of the ‘sandwich’ one can feel quite squeezed at times. And despite one’s best efforts to keep it all in balance, there are times that things simply get too tough – for the child, the elder or, often, the caregiver.
The article When You’re Your Mother’s Keeper, printed in The New York Times this past summer, describes in detail some of the challenges of ‘sandwich’ caregiving. It describes how one caregiver, nearly at the breaking point, found a solution for – and relief from – the stresses she felt in trying to manage her ill mother, her young son and a loving husband who, though patient and understanding, was eventually “worn down.”
Knowledge of community resources and options and knowing the ‘right’ time to access those options is an essential part of keeping a caregiver’s life in balance and avoiding a crisis. As described in the article, the use of a geriatric social worker, knowledgeable about how and when to use the available resources, can help the caregiver and family restore that balance and relieve some of the ‘squeeze’ for those living in the middle of the ‘sandwich.’
– Posted by Terry Fries-Maloy