OK. I admit it. On its own, toilet paper probably won’t be the final solution for all the Sandwich Generation issues, trials, and woes. But it’s a great symbol of one of my favorite little tips for taking care of the elderly parents and grandkids and all the other multigenerational issues we’re busy juggling.
When my senior mom and I go shopping we could just buy one small package of toilet paper to last the week til the next time we shop. Same with hand soap, paper towels, shampoo, conditioner, (both for ourselves and the kid-friendly ones we use when the grandkids spend the night). Our fridge could be lightly loaded, and there might be a bit less waste if we did that. After all, we’re in the “retirement/downsized years.”
But then, when a senior parent or a grandchild gets sick, or another crisis erupts, what happens if we don’t make it to the grocery store on time? One definite thing I’ve learned while living in this season of life is to plan for the unplannable.
So in my house, you will find several rolls of toilet paper on a cute holder in the bathroom (another great way of saving me time and stress) along with a humoungous package of toilet paper stored in the spare room, extra rolls of paper towels under the kitchen sink and a huge package of paper towels stocked away in the garage, several bottles of dishwasher soap, laundry soap, and bleach easily accessible in the laundry “room” (closet, really). My freezer is stocked for 2-3 weeks, my fridge has plenty of food and yes, occasionally I will be gone so much some of it does have to be tossed. But with it there, I’m more likely to eat a bit healthier as well. A trade-off I consider well worth while!
When the grandkids get sick and they can’t get to the store, and I’m running back and forth to help my senior mom with therapy appointments and them with doctor appointments, what a blessing it is to just scoop up some toilet paper, or All Free and Clear Detergent to keep me going or help them if THEY’VE gotten low – withOUT having to make an extra trip to the store when I have no time to do so!
Yes, that can add a bit to the weekly budget. But there are creative AND practical ways to save money that help. My senior mom is awesome about collecting and using coupons for all her shopping which really helps her keep grocery expenses down. Me? I keep trying to make good use of coupons, and then promptly forget to take them out of my purse. But I am good about sticking with stores where my grocery budget goes further – like my personal fave, Walmart, and stocking upon good sales. I’ve learned to really stock up if I spot an excellent clearance sale on various items like shampoo or conditioner, which really can save you quite a bit in the long run.
Of course, I’ve had to re-learn to be creative in my storage – like hiding non-perishables under beds, and routinely keeping some items both households use a lot in the trunk of my car. Then they’re ready at either house and take no space in the house. 🙂 For younger members of the Sandwich Generation, with kids still at home, this might be the norm. For those of us who are boomers and seniors, with smaller downsized households, it can definitely require us to regain a plan-ahead mind-set that many of us, starting with ME, have not had to utilize for some time.
I know these might seem like such little tips for taking care of the elderly parents and grandkids. But for many of us dealing with the Sandwich Generation challenges, they’re also ones that are so easy to forget. Until you are in the bathroom, with no one around, and no toilet paper in sight, because your senior parents and kids or grandkids have been keeping you extra busy with multiple doctor appointments, therapy appointments, and errands! And while you are out stocking up, don’t forget to sometimes forget the practical and go for the encouraging – for yourself and your family – with something simple and fun like pink flowers for no reason – and really, that IS a great reason! 🙂