The Sandwich Generation and Having a Career

It is more common nowadays that adult children are becoming caregivers for their parents. According to Family Caregivers online, “The majority of caregivers are middle-aged, 35-64.” Thus, the “sandwich generation.”  Couple that with being an entrepreneur and you have quite a challenging, stressful situation on your hands. 

Being an entrepreneur/having a career requires discipline, focus, planning, organization and commitment. You know this.  However, it is very difficult to manage all those areas on a daily basis. When you add in caring for a loved one, usually a parent or a differently challenged child, everything is heightened – taken to a new level. What’s a person to do?  Lost productivity is in the billions.   

Real Example: Working from home as an entrepreneur…on a conference call with a client and you are interrupted by a call from your parent’s assisted living facility. You handle that situation, get back to business and receive another call.  Your daughter-in-law is asking for your assistance to watch your 3-year old grandchild.  This is a four-generation challenge while still trying to get through your workday.   

              First, step back and breathe.

              Second, pack away your superwoman/superman cape. 

              Third, understand you can’t do it all by yourself and at the expense of yourself.

              Lastly, you need to take care of yourself. 

Where to start?

  • Define what being a caregiver means for you.
  • Understand your role will change and what that will mean for you.
  • What kind of caregiver do you want to be?
  • Consider your options.
    • People or agencies that can provide support/assistance.
  • What resources are available?  Seek help.  Accept help.
    • Health Care
    • Housing
    • Legal Needs
    • Financial Needs
    • Transportation
    • Meals
    • Caregiver Assistance
  • What role will other family members play? (Yes, involve them. You can’t do it all.)  It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a village for the child to take care of the parent.
  • Let go of guilt.
  • Set boundaries and keep them.

There is a lot more about being a caregiver in and of itself which I will not cover in this particular article. The main thing I want you to know and think about is that as a caregiver and career person/entrepreneur, you need to have a plan on how you will be both a caregiver and manage your career while taking care of yourself. You already have many balls to balance as an entrepreneur and now you will have several more balls in the air to balance. It is important to take care of yourself or you can’t run your business/manage your career and be a caregiver and do either well. 

The highlights above will help you to get started and then you need to develop a plan of action. 

Know that you are not alone. You may also want to look into support groups to get ideas and encouragement.  It is extremely important that you find a way to take care of yourself.  If you don’t, you will have trouble managing your business, being a caregiver and maintaining your own health.

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