A social worker by the name of Dorothy Miller, originally coined the term “sandwich generation” back in 1981, to describe women in their 30s to 40s who were “sandwiched” between young children and aging parents as their primary caregiver. Nearly two decades later and a lot has changed since then. Many women are delaying child-bearing and seniors are living longer. Because of these added variables, the “sandwich generation” definition has understandably changed along the way and tends to target both genders and the predominant age is 40-65 years old. According to a 2013 Pew research report, “Nearly half (47 percent) of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child (age 18 or older)."
As gynecologists we are here to help care for the caregivers! As difficult as it may seem it is so important to make some time for yourself and form healthy habits to help you cope with all the demands for your time and energy. One of the most important things you can do is talk about it with friends, family or co-workers. You are not alone and you don’t have to figure everything out. Many people are in the same situation and there is value in shared experiences and discovering innovative ways to tackle the challenges that arise. Helpful services are often available through your employer, insurance carriers or your county services office. Your doctor can also be a source of information and referrals as needed.
Remember you can’t pour from an empty cup so make the time to do that which gives your heart joy. Good nutrition and physical activity should never be discounted and are often the best medicine we can share with you. Something as simple as drinking enough water can have a huge impact as chronic dehydration makes all of your body systems work too hard to keep you running, literally! Make the time to take care of you so that you can continue to take care of the generations. Your providers are here to assist in any way that we can, even just a listening and compassionate ear. We understand!
Written by Dr. Mironda D. Williams