Sometimes, Ari Taylor (top left), a realtor from Malden, feels her work is never done. In addition to a demanding career, Taylor is mother to three children ages 15, 9 and 3 and is dually responsible for her 78-year-old mother who currently lives with her and her family. Having lost her father at a young age and being the only adult child in her family able to help, she is her mother’s sole caregiver.
“Someone needs me all the time, be it my children or my mother,” explains Taylor. “It can be very difficult to manage my numerous responsibilities and knowing what help I need and where to get it.”
Adults such as Taylor who are supporting both their growing children and their aging parents fit into a unique category known as the sandwich generation. In particular, mothers in this generation feel more stress as they juggle the demands of caring for their own children in addition to supporting their older parents. There are millions of sandwich generation caregivers in the United States today, and with older adults living longer, this number will surely continue to rise.
Kathy Learned, caregiver support coordinator for Mystic Valley Elder Services (MVES), often sees sandwich generation caregivers trying to be the best parent but also the best son or daughter they can. “Trying to keep a parent safe at home while tending to the needs of your own children is no easy feat,” stresses Learned. “It can be hard to find support and avoid burnout. Exhaustion is very common when you are in a caregiving role.”
Taylor recently began attending Learned’s weekly caregiver support group. “Gaining support from others in similar situations has been so helpful to me,” says Taylor. “This group makes me feel less alone and helps me realize I am doing my very best to support my loved ones.”
Learned points out that as people live longer, the struggle to keep them living safely at home will continue. “We are also seeing the added element of dementia as having a major impact on family caregivers,” she says.
“Self-care is very important for members of the sandwich generation or really any caregiver for that matter,” points out Learned. “There are resources and supports available. MVES is just one agency available to assist and we are just a phone call away.”
To learn more about caregiver support groups and other resources, please contact MVES at 781-324-7705 or visit here.