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The Sandwich Deluxe Generation

November is National Family Caregivers Awareness Month. Here is what one of our staff had to say about being a family caregiver:

Many of us have been exposed to the terms Sandwich Generation and the Family Caregiver. Whether you are in this situation or watching and supporting friends who are, one thing for sure is…it is not a simple task! It is a full time job. Recently I have become a “distance caregiver.” This is much like the traditional caregiver, but in keeping with the sandwich theme…You become a “sandwich deluxe.”

sandwich

The distance portion of the sandwich caregiver can add an undesirable layer of confusion and unnecessary hardship if careful considerations are not made. The biggest consideration is that of communication. Communication is essential for a palatable experience. As a distance caregiver I have learned to carefully digest all of the information prior to acting reacting to a given situation. I also have learned that the best way to handle sensitive subjects is face to face. This goes for discussions with your parents as well as with the local caregiver(s)…usually siblings.

While this distance can cause you to feel isolated or “out of the loop,” there are a number of things that you, as the distance caregiver, can help with to relieve some of the responsibilities from the local caregiver(s). The best way to determine what these needs are is to have a family meeting. When everyone is present, both caregivers & parents, you can easily determine how your efforts can complement each other. Ideally each of you will be able to take on tasks best suited to your skills or interests. Remember that over time these responsibilities may need to be revised, to reflect changes in the situation.

Whether you are a distance or local caregiver, you need to take time to take care of yourself. Take time every day to “check-in” with yourself, even if it is only 15 minutes. For those of us “squeezed” in the sandwich generation please know that we are not alone. Help is only a phone call or mouse click away.

 

These are a couple of the numerous resources that I have used and recommend:

National Elder Locator/Area Agencies on Aging – 1-800-677-1116

National Association of Area Agaencies on Aging – http://www.n4a.org

 

Good Luck!

Susan Richards, RN, FCN

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