"Sandwich Generation" Caregivers' Contest

Caregiving is one of the most difficult roles one can assume. And when someone is caring for both their young children in addition to their elderly loved ones, respect and gratitude need to be awarded to that super-human person.

"Sandwich Generation" Caregivers' ContestSurprisingly, there are many Americans who fall in to the Sandwich Generation category, giving a new perspective to American household responsibilities. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2011, there were nearly 40 million caregivers in the nation—23% of which were caregivers who cared for at least one senior, while providing for at least one child under the age of 18.

July is Sandwich Generation Awareness month, so we’d like to pay tribute to all the hard-working, “sandwiched” caregivers who inspire us daily as they care for multiple generations. According to A Place for Mom, “Caring for an aging parent is an immense challenge, and one of the most profound tasks we can take on in our lives. The same can be said about raising children. But tackling both duties at once requires heroic fortitude and patience. And despite the tremendous difficulties faced by those with these simultaneous obligations, millions of Americans have assumed this admirable, but unenviable role. They are the Sandwich Generation—the large mass of Americans who are both raising children and helping to care for elderly parents.”

So for all you Sandwich-Generationals out there, we’d love to get your advice on what gets you through this tough job. Nourishing the caregiver mind, body and soul is crucial when it comes to caring for others, so please share your trinkets of wisdom and get the chance to win a gift card for free flowers, on us!

Enter for the chance to win a $50 Gift Card to 1-800-FLOWERS.com:

Contest Entry Rules
  1. Like our Facebook page.
  2. Write a message on your Facebook wall with a link to Caregivers.com, OR link to us from your blog and let us know you did so by posting on our Facebook wall.
  3. Comment below, on this post, sharing your best caregiver wisdom and tips by July 31st.
  4. Leave a way to reach you once you’ve accomplished each of these tasks by reaching out to us either on Twitter, Facebook or email.
  5. We’ll hold a random drawing and announce the winner on Facebook the first week of August.


  1. Debbie Walsh

    This is my second “go round”! I was caregiver for my aging mother when my daughter was just starting highschool. Mom had to be placed in nursing care but I was there everyday. In the end she was spiraling down and I tried to spend as much time as I could but had to make hard choices where my own daughter was concerned (I was a widow as well) The day before my mom died I knew it was close to the end but had promised my daughter a new outfit to start high school in the next day. I was so torn and didn’t want to leave Mom, I promised her I would be back early in the morning and called my brothers hoping they would come as well. We knew her time was short. I left in tears knowing how important her first day of highschool would be to my daughter but so conflicted. Then it hit me! What would Mom had done? I didn’t hesitate, she always put us kids first! I know she would have wanted me to go take care of my daughters needs and be the mom she taught me how to be. The next morning I was too late…right as I walked in I could see the last bead of perspiration on her brow and she was gone. I questioned my decision many times but still know in my heart I did what my Mom would have done. I am now on my second “go round” with my Mother in-law! She has no other family besides my daughter and myself but thankfully my daughter is actaully old enough to help me with her Grandmothers needs!

  2. Sandra Frommeyer

    I am a 70yo Retired RN who spent my whole nursing career caring for the elderly(approx.) 50 years. My position included administration,direct care, family support, etc. I am now at a point that I am experiencing those issues which I helped others. I have a nice family, 3-Men & 6 grandchildren. I am seeing thru their eyes what other families have suffered thru. My boys are not in the least
    prepared to do what will happen or could happen, this includes their father, we are divorced. I have started a multi-file of issues that will help, inc. funeral, proper legal paper, and the little issues I would like to see happen. The loss of a parent is very difficult. I can see in front of me that different problems, three boys agreeing upon those decisions which are enevitable. I wish I had time to write a book!

  3. Bobbie Sena

    My mother was a total blessing and never a burden to her family or anyone else. She was very happily independent untill her eighty fifth year. Mama had LTCI and chose the assisted living facility she wanted where she lived for one year.It was a joy to visit her, and she never made me feel torn between her and my children. My grandmother and all of my great aunts were the same way. I hope and pray I can live my few remaining years as all my ancestors did. How sad that the “sandwich generation finds their elders such a burden. I hope I will never be a burden to anyone Bobbie Sena

  4. Billy Hays

    Taking care of an aging parent, is quite the challenge with my mom and my mother-in-law. I have the greatest wife in the world and I support her as much as I can. Trying to raise your own children and taking care of their needs really is a juggling act. I have been told many times we don’t see how ya’ll do all that you do. First you have to take it day by day and hopefully at the end of the day you have a little time for yourself. We bring in a sitter at times to go and have an a little break from time to time and this helps to renew and destress from everything, you have to give yourself a break if you don’t you will fall and you will be of no help to no one. My wife is a nurse and know alot about seniors since she works in a senior citizen center. We bot at times feel that we just want to run and never come back, but then we think well mom was there for us during the hard times and that we have to be there for her during her trying times. You do need to get a pattern down and try and stick to it as much as possible. Make appts. on the same day and we use the same doctor for both of our mothers so this helps as well. shopping is a handful and we have tried to take them both at the same time however this does not work so well, they like to scatter once we hit the wal-mart in different directions, so now we only take one shopping and get a list for the other that way it’s not such a hectic shopping trip and swich out each week.If you have brothers and sisters get them involved if you can. I know I have one of each and my wife (Elizabeth) has two brothers, which it would be nice if we could get some help however have not been much help with any of them. So my words of wisdom would be just take it day by day and if your married tell your partner to take over for a bit and go read, relax, take a bubble bath what ever it is that helps you to unwind is what you do and let yourself know that your not super son or super daughter even you need a break.Our mom’s know that we love them and would do anything for them, just at times it’s not always going to be on their time line like they are use too. Take sometime off each month and if you dont have help hire someone for the weekend and get away ask at your church if there is anyone that might be able to help spend some time with your parents while you go an catch a movie. There is help out there, and you’re never going to get it until you ask, so ask already. Meals on Wheels is a God send here in Texas and we have members, friends that lend a hand when we really need to just get away. Bottom line don’t go at it alone if you do you’re just heading for a fall. Billy Hays – Tyler.

  5. Karen Wallace

    My Mom was diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease and my Dad with my youngest sister’s help cared for her until my Dad was unable to do it anymore. My other siblings and myself didn’t live in the area where my parents resided. Our Mom realized our Dad and family could no longer care for her, so she was admitted to a wonderful nursing home. It made it so much easier that she didn’t fight us on this. When my Mom was ill, I was hired at an assisted living facility working with alzheimers residents, 12 of them. Shortly after I started working there, our Mom took a turn for the worse and passed away. Even though I felt like I was letting my Mom down by not caring for her, I feel like she had something to do with me being hired at the assisted living facility as she knew I would need the residents I helped care for, just as much as they needed me. My daughter was a student at an university when our Mom was ill and because of all the things she seen and learned when my Mom was sick, she switched her major to social work and is now a social worker at the nursing home where three of her grandparents resided. I work in a different assisted living facility now but I always keep it in my mind when I care for a tenant, this is someones Dad; Mom, Grandpa, Grandma, & loved one. Thank you Dad and Mom for being such great influences in my life.

  6. Diane

    Hello, I am not raising small children but have adult children that are still very active in my life. With that are their children, my wonderful grandchildren who are very active in my life also. I work full time as a Program Manager and work daily with families in distress. My dear mother-in-law lost her husband of 60 years 10 years ago and was a real hero through it all. She resided in an assisted living for nine years until she had some signs of dementia. It was not debilitating but the staff at the assisted living were not equipped to understand it and not take it personally. I moved her to an apartment with all of the services in place. This led to a full blown sundown syndrome. She had to go to an alzeimer ward and now I spend my time visiting at least one time per week 30 miles away. Again she is a real hero in this, she is not nearly as severe as many of the other residents so I always feel bad for her. Sometimes I think I feel worse than she does about it. She tells me whatever will be will be. It is difficult to work everything and everyone in a busy life but I am so glad that I can be there for her, I know she appreciates it and recognizes that she can count on me. Her daughter lives out of state so she is not able to be there and her two sons, one being my husband have health issues that prevent them from being dependable. I never look at her as a burden I always hope what goes around comes around because I will be that age someday.

  7. Corky Johnson

    The job of care giving is no less stressful for the aging caregiver than for the young parent. I am 83 and the full-time caregiver of my 84 year old husband who has had 4 strokes, has aphasia and very limited mobility. He requires constant supervision and help with all tasks. We also had our 47 year old son living with us who had a malignant brain tumor. Caring for my son required completely different skills. He was still physically able, but had no short term memory. This required me to be his watchful custodian and nurse. There were things I had to tell him and he would be very counter-dependent because, as a grown man, he did not want “Mommie” telling him what to do. It did not matter how I tried to approach him, he was very sensitive to the fact that he could not be completely in control of himself. As his tumor progressed he also had difficulty with motor skills. The two men had very different needs, but they were constant. As my sons physical problems increased, I had to have additional help. I was facing having to have either my son, or my husband placed in a care setting. This was extremely difficult for me to accept. I was able to solve that problem by having an old friend come and live with us for the last seven months of our son’s life and this relieved some of my stress but allowed us to have him with us for the remainder of his life.

    One of the most difficult issues for me is the complete limitation on any personal life. I cannot leave my husband unattended and I cannot have someone untrained in this area, come in as a “husband sitter.” At least when the children were small I could have a “baby sitter” take over for me so I could get out to do things. I do not get a good night sleep because I have to get up myself a few times during the night and I have to assist my husband when he needs to go to the bathroom during the night. I have cut down on the number of times I have to wake up and help my husband by taking care of both our needs at the same time. However, this still means getting up from 4 – 6 times a night. Usually I can get back to sleep rather quickly, but not always and those nights are very hard and it is difficult to make up for the sleep. I sometimes have insisted that he lie down in the afternoon, because I am in desperate need of a nap.

    I have to be very inventive to find time and ways, to replenish myself. It may sound silly, but we have separate bathrooms and this is a place for me to go to recoup myself during the day. I also have a very active network of friends that I keep good contact with on email. I can do email do when he goes to bed. I also, for the first time in my life, have found a church where I am very happy. I have always gone to church because that is the way I was raised and I wanted my children to have that foundation. However, even from childhood, I did not believe the teachings of the church. I now am a member of First Universalist Unitarian Church and I love it. For the first time in my life I go to church because I want to. It is a true support community and I do not know how I could function without this church. I do not know how I could have gotten through these last 2 years without the support of this church.

    People ask me how I can do what I do. I am the sole caregiver,but I also am responsible for all the business and financial part of our life. I have no specific answer for them. You just do what you have to do, one foot in front of the other and, even with these circumstances, I savor our time together and I am thankful that I am able to do what is necessary.

    • daisy

      You are an inspiration to me as I begin this journey of caregiving to my mom. So glad you were able to find a UU church that feeds your soul. Continued blessings to you…daisy

  8. Linda Phillips

    This is my advice for I take care of Mother and she always forgets to change her under garments everyday, so to remind her I have marked with a perm marker the days of the week, that way if she takes off her garments and puts them away, (thinking they are clean) AND (this has happened before!) I can find the old days and wash them!!!!

  9. Judy Montique

    I started 10 years ago caring for my Dad, he had macular degeneration and had to give up driving. My Mother had stopped driving years ago. My husband and our two sons 9 and 12 at the time moved in with my parents. My Dad was very appreciative and loved having his grandsons near. He has since passed 3 1/2 years ago at the age of 95. My Mother is a different story for 20 years she has been negative, bitter, angry, depressed, unhappy and loves to say hurtful things and start arguments. She is very stubborn and expects us to take these emotions and give her respect. I do all I can to help her, take her to appts.,etc. In some ways I have enabled her by doing some things she is capable of doing. In some ways she expects me to do things for her that she can do herself.
    Doctors have not told her she is handicapped. She is 78 and acts 88. I know she is capable of doing more then sitting from couch to couch. There are days that I just want to run away and never come back.
    My advice is don’t move in with your parents. Don’t do things for them that they can do. Remember that you can only do the Best you know how to help them. Be Strong and Love yourself and Remember how Important your husband or wife and children are to you everyday. And don’t give up the things you Love to do, it’s your life too.

    • Alicia A

      Judy, my mother is like yours. Thank you for saying it. Everything else I read seems to think all elderly people are saintly. My mom has been bipolar and borderline all her life. Now dementia is getting layered on top of it. I love her and want to take care of her, but she sure makes it difficult. She got herself in trouble and ended up with a court-appointed guardian. That’s a big help for me, although of course mom hates her, and somehow it’s all my fault.

      Thankfully, my husband ans sons are wonderful. I am so blessed.

      • Judy M.

        Alicia A,
        I found support on another caregiver website. I made some wonderful friends there, whom all were going through the same things. We now keep in touch, and I hope to meet them in person someday. Some people have it easier then we do. They are lucky to have a parent that is pleasant and cooperative as they grow older.
        My Mother just makes me feel like I can never do enough and that I am not good enough to be her daughter. It’s things like “I can’t stand you” and she would rather have one of my friends as her daughter, plus more that hurts. All I want is the best care for my Mother. I am her only daughter so I am the only caregiver. The best to you and your family, Judy

  10. Tim George

    My wife and I were asked by the family to care for my mother, who has dementia, when my father passed away. We accepted this most noble task, and though we have two children, one in high school, and the other in college. We discovered first hand what the sandwich generation has to deal with. We realized this can only be done when all the family members are involved, and help one another by taking turns taking care of mom. The bible tells us to honor father, and mother all the days of their life. Well we are being blessed for doing this, and I encourage other families to learn from our example. My dad always preached “working together.”So this is true, and when families work together this helps to reduce stress in the process of caring for family members that need care.

  11. Melinda Morrell

    I am one of 6 children, but am the person who primarily takes care of my mom’s needs. My mom is 83 and living in an excellent independent living facility. However, even though she is in a place that serves meals and provides services such as a library, theater, cable TV, hairdresser, etc., she still needs assistance with visits to the doctor and other personal errands such as shopping. She no longer drives due to problems with vertigo. So either me, my husband, or my youngest brother, who lives in the area, has to drive her. When she has special medical needs, such as procedures that require someone to escort her home, one of us also has to take time out to help her. With all the medical needs she has, this can be a considerable amount of time, often with little advance notice. So, it has been very stressful for my husband and myself. We often think how nice it would be to extensively travel somewhere or to live somewhere else. But, we also believe we are setting the example to our children of how we would like to be treated when we are elderly and in need of help. So, my advice is for you yourself to prepare now for what will probably be an eventuality. Buy long term health insurance, especially you ladies–we will statistically outlive our spouses. That way, you will be able to financially afford better long term care and not be a financial burden to your family. Also, get your legal affairs in order now before you need care from family or friends (durable powers of attorney, wills, advance directives, etc). Also, check out retirement communities in advance so you will have an idea of where (or what type) you would like to go to, if that is your choice/plan as you age. Otherwise, fix your current house/apt, if you can, to accomodate someone who is disabled/sick so it will be easier on you and your family (lower counters, wider doorways, grip bars in bath, etc.). Most of all, communicate to your loved ones now how you do not want to be a burden to them and that you understand that they have lives and you want them to live them, regardless of what health/wellbeing issues you may encounter! Best wishes to everyone who is a caregiver–you are special people.

  12. Linda Marks

    I too am a cargiver of my mom who is 87 and has Dimentia but also I am a mom to two small beautiful girls 7 and 5, who I adore. I have been carrying for my mother way before my first child was born. Often seeing her daily, keeping an eye on her and keeping her company as she was a new widow. As I had my first child I still kept up this schedule of seeing her daily and now sharing her new grandaughter with her.
    As her condition worsened my brother and I decided to get a cargiver in to help her with her daily needs. There was not a day I would not try to spend time with her, and to involve her with family events, or go shopping.

    Now my mom is in a Residential Care Facility. She is in good hands being cared for while still maintaining her dignity. Now with two children,working full time, I try to see her as much as possible, while still taking her to her doctor appointments,hair appointments, etc.
    Spending time with her, surrounding her with family is the most important thing!

    I can’t say it is easy. Between working, spending time with my family, and taking care of my mom, its a full time job. I am often very emotionally and physicaly exhausted but what motivates me is that, I Love my Mom! and every moment I can make her laugh, keep her company, and share my love, makes me know that I am making a difference in her life despite this ugly disease.

    My advice to other cargivers is to look forward to how you are helping them and making their lives a little better! It’s not something you have to do but want to do!

  13. NORA

    Although I’m considered caregiver for my mother who has been living with my family (husband and two sons) since my beautiful father passed suddenly in 2003, I give 100 percent credit to my beautiful husband whom I can’t say enough about. He is the reason my mom is living with us, and why she remains healthy physically, mentally and spiritually, but most importantly, he (from 5 children) has been the only caregiver for his father since his early 20’s. His love, patience and compassion I believe makes him one of the most respected caregivers around (although its been almost 30 years of a rollercoaster ride). Giving up does not fall into his vocabulary — he pushes through whatever comes his way. Although I try to give him support, I do not come close to everything he does and has done. Since his early teens, he was given the responsibilty of his grandmother with Alzheimers, and although she has been gone for awhile now, he has continued to support his father through all his illnesses, hospitalizations, surgeries. I know the “sandwich generation” group deserves all the credit in the world and God Bless everyone who takes this upon themselves, at this time, I just want to put my husband Louie in a pedastal because “in my eyes” he totally deserves the highest honor for the huge heart that he has!

  14. Chalethia Williams

    I care for my 83 year old mother for some ten years now since the first signs of dementia and my advice is to learn to have fun. Sing with TV commericals, have dance/song breaks throughout the day and learn to laugh from time to time at it all and it may just make the person you care for laugh, if not tell you to e quite and stop with the noise. Cry when you need to, and after you dry/wipe the tears away, HAVE FUN and LAUGH a lot and LOVE life and the time you have, RIGHT NOW.

  15. Alicia Crum

    Hi! I am 28 years old. I am a mom to a 4 year old and a 5 month old. Apparantley I am part of the Sandwich Generation and proud to be! My husband’s Grandma was diagnosed with Dementia three years ago. We moved near her 5 days before she got sick and I guess there was a reason we were put here then. We have been by her side almost every day and night since August of 2009. Although it is hard and frustrating, I can’t imagine raising my children without her. My four year old is what gets us thru every day. There is no way I could possibly do this and keep my Granny as good as she is without my daughter. They are amazing together. Who ever would have thought that a 4 year old and 82 year old could have so much in common? They play like sisters, argue like sisters and love eachother like they are sisters. It is amazing to watch them every day. Our son is only 5 months, but he has been a HUGE part of her happiness for the past 5 months! She isn’t the average person with dementia, I don’t think. She clearly has dementia, but with a strong routine and lots of patience, we have kept her talking and healthy as possible for 3 years. My husband just got a new job and we have to leave her. We have to move 4 hours away. It breaks my heart to tear us apart. I have no idea what we will do without her. Dementia obviously affects the caregivers and not the patient so much. Granny doesn’t even know anything is wrong with her. She is stress free and seems to enjoy life. She smiles a lot and has an amazing heart still. I guess all this is a little overwhelming for me. She doesn’t know we are moving because she wouldn’t understand. She probably wouldn’t even understand that we are here every day, but when we are gone she asks for us. She amazed me recently by asking for me “Angie” (even though my name is Alicia!) and that little girl (my 4yr old). She asked where we were and when she found out we were coming, she said she was happy because she would get to see the baby. She’s amazing and has taught me patience, respect and love. She taught my daughter patience that I could never teach her. She taught her how to write and say her ABC’s and also how to count. I don’t know what we will do without her. I am tore up about it. I can’t imagine life wihtout her and my heart aches about it. I cry a lot because she is such a big part of our life and my heart. I have witnessed her fall and break her back and bounce back from it. I have sat with her in the hospital and cuddled with her to comfort her while she was on the top floor of the hospital because of her night terrors. I have stayed awake throughout the night hoping she wouldn’t be so scared. She is like my third child and I am so truly blessed to have had her in our lives. Her and my daughter are playing dolls right now. My daughter’s best friend is her 82yr old great grandma:) I am so happy about the new change in our life and I know Granny was a chapter in our lives and it’s time to move on. I know she would be so proud of us. I have been a full time student these past 3 years while doing this and I am close to finishing school to be a teacher. I didn’t write this to win the free flowers; I think it’s just nice to have somewhere to cry and vent sometimes so here I am! But if I did get picked, I would send the flowers to my Granny the first week we moved! <3

  16. Erma J. Lloyd

    I am the youngest of four children with a family of my own and I am the sole care-giver for my 85 year old mother. Mother suffers from Alzheimer Disease, which is very disheartening. However, what I find most disheartening is that as a single parent, mother was able and unselfishly willing to take care of four children and four children are unable to take care of one mother. After 5 years as a care-giver, a mother, a wife and a working woman, I am starting to get a little burnt-out. There are many times when I feel like giving up, I cry and often wonder why but God hears my cry and restores my strength every time. I have decided to continue to hold to God’s unchanging hands as I attempted to move forward in honoring the only parent that I ever knew.

    • daisy

      I can so relate to your story. I pray that you find the support you need. I could not do this without the strength and support of my husband and best friend. Your mom is very blessed to have you in her life. daisy

    • tom

      COngrats to you—and yes the younger children are often the more reliable and loving —You can do it and will always know that you gave the most to honor your mom—and as far as those other 3—just smile and know they will NEVER have what you did with the caregiving—-YOU RULE!

  17. Laurel Jones

    Tricks for success – Trust God.

    Believe what they tell you on the phone, WHEN you see it for yourself, OR have it confirmed by an outside party you trust.

    As long as they are cognitive, HEAR what they are saying, and what they are not saying. Let them feel in control of themselves, and honor their wishes as much as possible.

    If there are siblings and other family members, have “The Talk” about last wishes, living wills, power of attorney, etc., so everyone is on the same page.

    Finally, remember that you are human, and may need support to get it all done. It’s all right to get the help you need.

  18. Delfina McKee

    My mother passed away last May at age 98. I helped care for her along with two teenagers at home. A few weeks after my mother passed, my mother-in-law, who has dementia, moved into our home. My husband and I have been caring for her since last June. It has been a challenge for the whole family, but what keeps us going is that she has become very child like and we are able to tease her like we would a toddler and have some innocent fun with her. It makes us laugh and keeps the mood light, taking away from the seriousness of her disease. We all love her very much but realize that she is not who she used to be. Having fun and laughing about it is our way of coping with the situation.

  19. Lisa

    My children are only 9 and 10 years old. My mother had me later in life, and I, too, had my children later. So, now, my mother is 93 with dementia and needing full time assistance. I am 50 and feeling every bit a part of the “Sandwich Generation.” There are days that are more difficult than others and I have found that my own ability to thrive is based on whether it is a good day or bad day for my mom. When I help her get dressed, showered, or use the bathroom,I have had friends and other family ask me how I can do it and if I need to “compartmentize” it to be able to get through it. In truth, I remind myself of all the times through my own childhood that my mother was there for me, doing some things that maybe she felt were undesirable, but doing them nonetheless because I was her child and mothers do what needs to be done, with an unwavering, unconditional mother’s love. So, this is how I approach her needs and get through those moments. By reminding myself that today, she is now a child again who needs a mother’s unconditional love to help her get through her day. Who better to provide this for her than her daughter?

  20. Anne Perry

    We honor our parents until they die; altho’ it may mean life changes for us (the family who is the caregiver)…..take one day at a time, and realize that nothing lasts forever. Take time for yourself (if married-as a couple) and attend support groups which help with support, encouragement, and the realization that you are not alone in the “caregiver” situation. I try to exercise more, eat less and healthier meals, but in doing these things, I am taking care of the “caregiver” myself-because if I get sick-I am no help to anyone.
    The person you are caring for will appreciate this too, because you will feel better about yourself, and your “situation”…..

  21. Janet Astore

    My mom always tried to get us to be like the Waltons but we are not like the Waltons at all. We are not a terrible family – I think that I come from a good family most of the time. But after my domineering Dad died, my Mom who was always the quiet ambassador working behind the scenes did not know how to stop her strong willed children from disagreeng almost constantly regarding her care. My wish for everyone is that they recognize how much family dynamics will change when one parent dies – especially if the more passive one survives. To avoid disaster, it takes more planning than a living trust to avoid problems. These last years of a parent’s life should never be spent witnessing their children going after each other all in the guise of taking care of the parent. My mother is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and refused to ever make a plan for living this long and having this condition. She just hoped for the best. She is now reluctant to leave her home and go into assisted living. She thinks it would be grand if she could do what her elderly grandfather did 80 years ago and just live with relatives. Unfortunately we all work and this is not possible. Please get parents to commit to a plan that is realistic and logical before they reach a stage and age where it is all too difficult for them to make wise decisions. I hope that I can avoid this type of heartache for my sons. Thank you for listening. Janet

    • tom

      Could not agree more—amazing how in my case it has prevented me from taking better care of mom—my older sister is trying to stop all attempts to sell property that could be used to make mom’s life better—no way that a group can make a better decision when one in that group is a vulture only trying to get what they can for themselves…..such an unexpected thing —parents must trust in one child and not let guilt keep them from making that decision………My older sister is an amazing burden —-we have taken mom into our home with our two young children and we know we have a short amount of time –but we will make the most of it……congrats to those of us who care for our parents…..no matter the personal cost in time , effort , money……it’s worth it…..

  22. Alicia A

    I’m a lot happier since I stopped wishing my parents could be like they were ten years ago. There’s no sin in where they are now. It’s the natural age for them to be. No sense wasting emotion mourning the past, when what replaced it is just fine. I love them as they are.

    Build a great team around you. You don’t have to do ALL roles, ALL the time!
    – A Place for Mom gives good, free, wise advice.
    – someone to do doctor visits when you can’t.
    – a lawyer to help with Powers of Attorney, etc.
    – a financial advisor
    – someone to pay bills
    – a house cleaner
    – a yard helper
    – a pharmacist to explain medications to you
    – someone familiar with Medicare
    – someone to run errands and pick up supplies

    If you’re in a different town from your parent, ask your lawyer about finding a local guardian.

    At least once a month, do something just for you. Get a massage. Take on a project. Spend time alone with someone who supports you.

    Look into hospice sooner than you think you ought to. If they qualify, you’ll have a great helper and advocate, paid by Mediare. If they don’t, you’ll learn why not, so know when it is time to call again.

    I tried to put all my parents’ mail in a box, and open/pay/reply/file them only on Sundays. But it drove me crazy to have unopened things that might be important. I guess I’m not wired for that. Now I collect open bills all week, and pay them on Sundays.

  23. Pamela Jones

    You will never do either of the jobs well enough to make yourself happy. There is no such thing as “good enough” when it comes to caring for teenagers and the elderly. Even after your charges die or move away, depending on what comes first for you, you will know that you gave it your best shot, but that there was more that you could have done or some things that you could have done better. The only solution for this dilemma is to forgive yourself for your shortcomings and move on, hoping to do “it” (whatever it is for you) better the next time.

  24. Pamela Jones

    FYI: And just so you know, I am the single mother of two teenagers, buried my daddy in April, and am an only child of a mom who lives six hours from me and who does not drive…no stress in being of the sandwich generation!

  25. Mary

    “Keep that sense of humor. It’s critical!” This is a line from the movie “Mr. Mom.” usually, I feel like no one is going through what I’m going through with my ma in independent/assisted living. Then, I talk to my boss, whose mom is in a similar place. We shake our heads and just laugh as we compare stories about our moms. All of a sudden, my life is “normal” again as I realize that many people are going through this…I am NOT alone.

  26. Janet Kirby

    The best advice I received when dealing with elderly loved ones with memory problems (mostly Alzheimers) was not to correct them when they made incorrect statements. It only adds to their state of confusion and causes them to feel even more helpless and miserable This was told to me by an elderly psychologist friend and it made such a difference in all of our lives.

  27. Krissy Higgins

    It’s hard to take care of elderly relatives. Sometimes it feels like your raising your parents instead of your kids. But just remember, this is when you can really SHOW your parent(s) how much you really love them and appreciate all they did for you.

  28. DanaLarsen

    Thank you, all, for such fabulous advice!

  29. Margaret Lagos

    For me the hardest thing (contrary to what she thinks) isn’t how very s-l-o-w-l-y she moves/walks, no it’s when she confuses stories and characters in the middle of a conversation and then gets argumentative about it…naturally one wants to correct, but that just makes things worse! I have learned that when we don’t agree on ANY subject, I call it her truth, it’s best to let it be!! In fact whenever things get tense or difficult or she chooses to stop walking and share our family history, or her age and why she moves so slow (broken hip, twice w 8 wires around femur, etc) with whoever will listen, I just smile and wait…and imagine to myself how I will miss the good moments, conversations, we have shared!! Kinda puts perspective on things and then the current issue is tolerable!

  30. tom

    My advice to those of you thinking about taking a parent out of nursing home—DO IT—yes it is scary and yes there will be a learning curve—You will never regret trying to do the best you can by the parent you love so dearly—You may even surprise yourself when you see how you meet this challenge……..Every journey begins with that first step….Act NOW……

  31. Debra Steppel

    The best video I have ever seen that explains what it feels like to deal with my mother is “It’s Not About the Nail” by Jason Headley at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4EDhdAHrOg. I feel like the husband in that piece because even though my natural role is to be a “fixer,” usually all my Mom really wants is to be listened to. Even when she seems to want to have a problem solved, she often doesn’t actually want it to be solved. She just wants to feel that someone is listening to her complain about it. I would advise people with declining parents to try to distinguish between when a problem needs to be solved, and when what’s needed is just a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. Aging stinks.

    • Ann Napoletan

      That’s great advice, Debra. Thanks for posting. ~Ann

  32. Myrna Hill

    My 91 year old mother lives with us and she is a joy most of the time. My 22 year old daughter has anxiety issues and still lives at home. Sometime juggling the demands of both of these needy people puts me in an irritable mood. One of my solutions is to either go to a park for a walk, or to go for a drive in the country. Both of these outlets give me a chance to get my perspective back in order. After all, we made the choice to have both of these ladies living in the house with us.

    • Ann Napoletan

      Bless your heart, Myrna… I’m glad you’ve found a way to escape when you need a break. Both your mother and daughter are very fortunate to have you. (((Hugs))) ~Ann

  33. Marlys Balsamo

    Putting my mom into assisted living was one of the most difficult thinks I have ever done. She lived in her home for 67 years and the transition to a one-bedroom apartment was not easy. In the beginning she kept asking me to bring her home, but a three-story house was not the place for her. After a little over a year she is very happy and since I have lost my job, all she says is “I’m so happy here. I hope I don’t have to go home.” Here’s my dilemma: I am 55 years young. When I was a kid, my grandparents got old, got sick, went to the hospital and passed. I don’t mean for this to sound cold, but we are the first generation who has had to deal with assisted living. Fortunately, when I am working, I can help with the cost of her care. Now I am having to run thru her savings because her income is roughly have of the cost of her care. I hope someday some thought is given to taking care of people who are living longer with quality of life.

  34. Mary

    This is my first visit to this site. I have moved back to my home state to care for my Mom who has dementia. Luckily my children are grown and we are close but they are more or less independent. I believe I am blessed to have my Mom still here with us. The longer life of many folks means that we as a race are dealing with such diseases as dementia on an increased level. It is imperative, I believe, to remember that none of these seniors asked for this horrible disease no more than anyone looks to have cancer or any other disease. They deserve our compassion and the best care we can give. It is not their FAULT they are ill. I will do my best to care for my Mom and find support as needed.

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