Surviving The Sandwich Generation

In the past few years a couple of our friends have had parents that have either passed or went into a nursing home.  Once my husband and I just looked at each other after hearing about a passing.  “I guess we’re getting to that age where we will have to deal with this,” my husband said.

It’s a difficult place to be.

     On one hand, we still have children at home.  On the other hand, we see our parents having increasing health issues.

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     Twenty years ago I worked in a nursing home and I was young and, while I did enjoy talking to the residents, my mind was also on many other things young people think about.  Now I’ve come full circle and my feelings towards my clients is a lot more personal as I look at some of them and think about my parents.

     I once met a woman who expressed sadness at having to move from personal care to skilled nursing care.  She did not seem that bad physically and loved where she currently lived.  I wondered how my parents would feel if they ever got to the point that they needed nursing care.

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It’s hard to see your parents get older…

…and know in twenty years you will be in the same place.

It’s hard to imagine both of my parents becoming dependent instead of enjoying their independence.

And while I think about that I am also dealing with two teenagers and a twenty-something child.

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 The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that women ages forty to fifty-nine have the highest rate of depression than any age group.  Somehow that does not surprise me.  In addition to caring for aging parents and their own children, they are also having to deal with post-partum changes, infertility and hormonal fluctuation which controls woman’s emotions and moods in the brain.  The problem is that women are less likely to report their depression to a health care professional.  There is a lot of pressure on women to perform by their children, their jobs and the community in general.

Women feel the need to be strong and admitting problems with depression might indicate that they are weak when in fact, getting the help needed is one of the best ways to stay strong.

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I know, for myself, that this midlife crisis can be brutal, especially when compounded by other medical issues.

I am grateful that my parents have enjoyed as much as they have had together and still plan more trips together.  I encourage this because you just do not know what will happen when you retire.  You can’t always do the things you dreamed about.  Too many times I have seen new retirees suffer massive heart attacks or strokes or be diagnosed with cancer.  My aunt is one such example.  Shortly after retiring, instead of boarding a jet-plane for places yet explored, she and my uncle were visiting doctors and hospitals as my aunt was diagnosed with stomach cancer.  Six months later, heaven was ushering her into everlasting healing.

Not only with dealing with family on both sides, the middle-aged woman must also often deal with demands from a job and society  but, my friend, take heart!

You are where God wants you to be at this very moment. Every experience is part of His divine plan.

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