A Story from the Sandwich Generation: Caring for Kids and Parents
Watching out for elders has always come naturally for me. I grew up close to my grandparents, and during my teenage years, my paternal grandmother lived with us. We even built a new house to accommodate her stay.
When my elderly neighbor, Joe, was widowed, I did what most neighbors would do. I didn’t know him or his wife well, but I knew he was completely deaf and that he was probably lonely. I started to visit, thinking I could help him if he needed groceries or something. What began as a neighborly check-in continued into a kind of adoption of Joe, by myself and my two sons, ages six and eight. For five years, the kids and I were Joe’s family.
Shortly after Joe passed, my aunt and uncle moved from Virginia to North Dakota to be near us, their only family. Then my parents and in-laws began having health troubles. In all, I cared for seven elders over the span of two decades. During that time, I was also busy raising two kids, one of whom had multiple health problems. To the best of my knowledge, there was never a word at the time to describe what I was doing. I was just following my instincts while elders fell like dominoes into my care.
Caregiving Is a Job
During the last few years of my caregiving, while my mother-in-law and my parents were still alive, my son was still having major health issues, and I was working full time, I read about the term “sandwich generation.” I remember thinking it was a clever concept, but it still didn’t occur to me that I was a member of this group. I was merely a caregiver and a mom.
Maybe I didn’t have the time or the will to reflect on my own situation. That is the case with many caregivers. In fact…
Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories. “For anyone having to walk the last segments of life with a loved one, read this.” …Delores
Discover the Difference. EGOSAN – the Top-Rated incontinence brand from Italy. Now Available on Amazon.