Tuesday, August 8, 2006
Parent to Parent: Sandwich Generation
Parenting has been described as a thankless job. But that job becomes even more difficult when you also have to take care of your parents. Tonight, Dr. Debbie shows us how to survive being the 'sandwich generation'.
WSVN--Making a sandwich is easy.
Being sandwiched - well, that's another story.
Liz Reyes is among the 20 million adults, who are not only raising children but are caring for their aging parents too.
Liz Reyes: "He moved here when my mother was terminally ill and he's been living with me five years."
Today, she carefully splits her time between her dad Armando, her husband, and her children, nine-year-old Brandon and seven-year-old Alexis.
Liz Reyes: "We have basketball, we have dance, we have swimming, and plus everything else with my father so it is quite a handful. It all gets done, you just have to be counting every minute."
And according to 7 News Parenting Expert, Dr. Debbie, that's the key.
You must carefully budget your time and your patience.
Dr. Debbie Glasser: "All your life you had the feeling that your parents were there to take care of you, and now the role is reversed, and while so many people feel its a priviledge to be able to return this favor, to be able to return this care giving act, it can also be exhausting."
You can do that by joining a support group or talking to friends.
Also hold regular family meetings to prioritize what's planned for the upcoming week.
Dr. Debbie Glasser: "You wanna find your balance so that your children aren't always feeling like you are not available for them, certainly find a healthy balance."
But make sure you set aside time for you and your spouse.
Don't be afraid to ask for assistance and don't be afraid to pay for aid.
Liz learned she can't do everything herself.
Today, her father goes to the adult daycare center run by the catholic charities.
And when he's home, the kids help out with the caregiving.
Dr. Debbie Glasser: "If you have an older parent living in your home, you're younger children can help keep them company during the day, or sit with them while they are watching television, or in some way be available and be a part of the experience."
Today, Brandon and Alexis wouldn't have it any other way.
They love getting to spend extra time with grandpa.
In fact, the only downside is when they have to go to his doctor's appointments.
Brandon Reyes: "We have to go to the doctor, sometimes we don't want to go but since he's family, we have to do it."
And for mom, Liz, that bond makes it all worth it.
Liz Reyes: "That's what you do for family, you take care of family, and that's the way I was brought up and I hope that my kids learn this from me."
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