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Caring for Elderly Parents? Are you the Sandwich Generation?

Are you stuck between being a parent and a carer? Is the pressure making you feel stressed? Depressed? Overwhelmed? Lost? You are not alone and there are things that can help.

If you’ve come here to read about a cracking BLT, or tasty cheese ploughman, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed (although that does give me an idea for a future blog.. must stop getting distracted by food thoughts!).

What is the sandwich generation?

Have you found yourself stuck in between two generations - bringing up young children and caring for elderly parents? Then this is you, you are sandwiched between two groups of people who need/want/demand your time, love care and affection. But that's not all is it, on top of that there is relationships, friendships, work, budgeting income, living through the cost of living increases, maybe even somewhere amongst this, trying to find some time for yourself.

So that’s why I’m feeling stressed!

When I write this it suddenly makes sense why life can just feel so overwhelming and full of stress, everywhere you turn there is something that needs a piece of you. Sometimes it feels like there just isn’t enough of you to share, enough time to give to meet everyone’s needs. This creates pressure, emotional overwhelm and stress, and typically creates one of two reactions explode or implode (more of that in a future blog post).

You’re not alone

I was fortunate to grow up with 4 grandparents. One of my grandads died when I was in my early teens, my other grandparents died when I was in my 20’s. I never felt like I was the bottom slice of the sandwich, by the time my parents needed to give their time and attention to my ailing grandparents, I had moved out of home and was doing my own thing.

Now I’m in my forties, I’m facing a different picture. I have a 6 year old, and my child has grandparents in their 70’s and 80’s. I am the sandwich generation! I am grateful for the general good health of my parents and in laws and realise that I am currently a fortunate sandwicher, however that constant thought in the back of my mind exists – Are they ok? Can they maintain their independence? Do we need to consider plans for if things change? This is alongside watching my little person grow and change. I want to enjoy being a mum, I want to make the most of the time I have having a small person in my life, knowing that time is passing all the time. And then there’s the rest of life….

I’m not the only one, it is estimated that 3% of the population of the UK, that's around 1.3 million people are in similar situations, and research suggests around a quarter are living with depression and are at risk of being worn down physically, emotionally and financially.

How can I help?

I regularly work with people who are the filling of a sandwich, who are trying to juggle multiple balls and are hitting overwhelm and burnout. Counselling can help by giving you space to acknowledge what's going on in your life, to talk honestly without judgement and to make time for you to work out what's right for you.

Contact me to arrange a phone chat or arrange an initial session.

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