We're called "the sandwich generation," those of us that are caring for both our children and our parents at the same time. With people living longer these days, there are more of us who are part of it.
It seems among my friends the majority are taking care of at least one parent to various extents. One has her elderly father living with her now; another has a mom who cannot drive and needs a lot of assistance. Doctor visits, shopping and errands are just part of the job description.
If a parent has Alzheimers, there can be not only a lot of worry and more round-the-clock care needed. Sometimes just finding an aide for a few hours and handling the insurance paperwork can be time consuming. Oftenthe parent's illness requires major decisions about the parent staying in their home versus assisted living or moving in with family. It can be an exhaustive process discussing this, weighing the options, selling a place, clearing out years of accumulated things, et cetera.
Trying to handle all this can be daunting, especially while pulled in the separate direction of one's own children. Caregivers often have little time to themselves with all they have to coordinate and can certainly feel "sandwiched". One trend I'm noticing is "senior day care" programs popping up. These places are spots where an older parent can safely spend the day in a caring and social atmosphere. Some are run through hospitals, others through a church or community service organization. This can alleviate some of the constant stress on those of us in the "sandwich generation". It's really a great idea.