SANDWICH GENERATION: Dementia and the Caregiver

Sandwich Generation, Dementia, & Caregivers

You may be part of the Sandwich Generation. Do you or someone you know provide care or assistance to an elderly person with dementia?

For those of us who find ourselves  attending to the needs of our children (even young adult children) and our elderly parents, it is easy to feel sandwiched between them in ways that can be stressful. According to Pew Research, there are an estimated 43.5 million Americans providing unpaid care to others who are over the age of fifty. My husband , my brother, and I have been among those 43.5 million and to some degree even as our daughters moved into their young adult years we are still finding ourselves part of what has come to be known as the sandwich generation.

 

If you or somone you know is sandwiched like I have been, I wanted to offer some insights, advice from experts I have encountered, and most of all hope to help you navigate these turbulent waters.

 

The statistics provide a good overview of the scope and extent of the problems facing the sandwich generation, but they do little to address the physical, emotional, and spiritual costs of caring for an elderly parent. For many unpaid caregivers just being able to look through a new lens or to have small ideas about how to manage an elderly parent’s behavior can feel like a lifeline; I know that occasionally as I watched first my father and  then my mother succumb to the ravages of dementia it was sometimes the smallest suggestion that not only made a big difference but felt like I’d been thrown a lifeline. Those instances often opened an avenue that renewed my hope and made it a little easier to press on.

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