Specific Suggestions Can Generate More Useful Helps for the Sandwich Generation

by Kaye Swain

My granddogs all love their tug of war ropesOne of the common frustrations for the Sandwich Generation is feeling like the rope in a "Tug of War" game! That's especially true during the holidays or other times when so much is going on! Your senior father needs to go to the doctor! Your child or grandchild has a special part in the church play which means extra rehearsals. You probably need to run a ton of errands, but – of course – those get stuck at the bottom of the list. Sound familiar?

I wish I could suggest a special tip to solve all these dilemmas for us all. There rarely is one, true? Delegation can help – and the more specific you are, the more you are likely to get some extra assistance. Don't just say, "I need some help." Instead, take a look at other family members – or maybe even friends, assess what their abilities are compared to your needs, then ask them specifically if they could "take Johnny to his play rehearsal," "pick up spagetti and trash bags when they head to the store for themselves," or in the case of young ones, "carry these items to the car for me." And don't forget the all important "please" and "thank you." As my grandma used to say, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." For that matter, don't forget to reimburse anyone who purchases things for you. Maybe even add a sweet treat like a candy bar when you do so. "Bribery" errrrr, "rewards" can definitely come in handy at times, and lead to more cheerful offers to help. :)

I would, though, highly recommend you NOT delegate certain jobs, like taking your parent to the doctor unless it's to another person intimately involved in their caregiving. Knowing what the doctor told them, and what questions to ask, is of vital importance in caring for our aging parents as well as our kids and grandkids.

This journey of caregiving is not easy. And sometimes it's much harder than others. But if we keep on keeping on, one foot in front of the other, and make good use of the help that may be offered to us, we can persevere. 

Kaye

P.S. Thank you so much for your comments. I enjoy them very much and read each one. I also love the grand ideas so many of you share that help and encourage other readers. Thank you.

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