by Debbie Alford
Are you one of the sandwich generation? Are you a baby boomer or a Gen X with young children or teenagers and elderly parents? Your career might be soaring but you are pushed and pulled between what your children may want and need; your needs and the want and needs of your parents.
You may find that your roles have been reversed; you may find that your parents look to you for care, guidance and advice. In my own experience, this situation came along when my boys were quite young. Dad had been sick on and off for many years after a near fatal accident when I was only five years old. The large 3 bedroom unit with a substantial garden got too much for Mum to cope with so we moved them to a retirement village. Dad then broke his hip, was in rehab and then had to be moved to a nursing home. Unfortunately he passed away not long after that.
Now there was just Mum who needed more and more support as dementia was starting to creep into her world. A lot of the running around was left to me, the baby of the family. Whilst I certainly did not have a problem with that, I found it quite demanding as I was working, had sporty teenagers who had to be driven all over Melbourne and was home alone with the boys during the working week.
This may sound like a familiar story for many of you and it is certainly not an easy time, but the important thing in all of this is to look after your own health and well being and that of your own family.
Don’t try to do it on your own. Contact the local council and find out what assistance they can provide – drivers, cleaners, handyman, meals etc. If your Mum or Dad has a Veteran’s Gold Card, find out what services/aides are available for them. If and when the time comes to find a suitable nursing home/assisted living facility, find a company that specialises in this service. They are experts in this field and their help is invaluable.
Utilise as many of these services as you possibly can – don’t run yourself ragged by trying to be all things to all people.
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