Over the past couple of years, it’s been a balancing act between working, taking care of kids, and now dealing with aging parents.  Welcome to the Sandwich generation!  And I know many of you are here too.   Can you relate to this?

Your dad has a fall. His knee is a ‘little sore’ but he says he is fine. Pressing further gets that it is a little swollen, but he refuses to call the doctor.

Maybe you could come and look?

He lives a four-hour drive away and you are working a full-time job and have 3 kids that you are responsible for. Welcome to the Sandwich Generation. Helping seniors with all aspects of their lives while navigating yours. They are after all your mom and dad, so you are happy to do it.

Until you’re not.

How do you manage the responsibility of raising your own family and caring for your parents at the same time?

It isn’t easy to navigate.  Here are a few suggestions on how to make it easier on yourself even if you live in another city away from your parents.

Start early

Have a conversation when they are still managing on their own.

  • Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
  • Have you thought about moving to a retirement home or would you rather stay in your own home?
  • How will you pay for a retirement home or home support?
  • Is their will up to date?
  • Who has power of attorney?

These questions are hard to ask because their generation may be very private, but starting early and bringing them up gently may get them thinking and after asking a few times, they may be more willing to share.

Pay attention to the details

If your mother is happy and loves chatting on the phone, then suddenly becomes quiet and sullen something is up. A change in medication? Depression? There are many reasons but taking a deeper look into why is very important.

Having a support network

If your dad’s knee is a little swollen maybe you want to take the day to go, see them and make sure he is ok or get him to the doctor. A 2010 Statistic Canada Report noted that 40% of caregivers who lived more than ½ a days’ travel away from their ill parent missed a full day’s work to provide care for their ailing parent. If you are able to reach out and form a relationship with a neighbor or someone who is causally in contact with your parents they may be able to reveal some information you are missing about how your dad is really doing. If you have siblings, try to share the load.  This can be challenging but do your best.  It’s important to try to make sure you don’t become overwhelmed.

Most BC Health districts provide some support for seniors on a daily basis, and you will be reassured someone is seeing your dad daily providing care and companionship however, short the visits may be.

As well, meal delivery services (Meals on Wheel’s), driving services (Taxi-Saver program, driving Miss Daisy, local volunteer’s), in-home foot care and medical appointments as well as hiring a full or part-time companion or caregiver provides peace of mind for both you and your parent.

Have a conversation with a doctor.

If you start to notice changes in your dad’s memory or behavior speak with a professional whether it is your own doctor or your dad’s. If you don’t know his physician your own doctor, may be able to communicate your concerns to them on your behalf. Your dad may not be seeing his doctor as much as should be or may not have a family physician as all so your own doctor may provide some answers.

Juggling your own busy life with caring for your parent/s can be stressful but there are services to make it easier.






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