Go Back   Friends and Family Forum > The Family Forum > All Grown Up

All Grown Up A place to discuss "adult" children.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old January 1st, 2008, 08:17 AM
1dilwhosreal 1dilwhosreal is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: North East
Posts: 2,068
1dilwhosreal will become famous soon enough
How do you handle being the Sandwiched Generation?

The stress of being the sandwiched generation-- the one that is both raising children and caring for parents-- is daunting.

I'm finding myself stuck here. My stepfather is not well, and hasn't been for many years. He's hospitalized at least twice a year with pneumonia (My MIL isn't well. She was also part of our considerations, but now we're cutoff )

So, about 5 years ago, my DH and I decided it was time to move to a home that could accommodate them if the time came. We sold our restored 1900 vic with too many steps and an hour's drive away for a 70's mock-colonial which offered an IL suite on the first floor and only 1 step to get in the front door nearby.

We've been helping my parents financially and emotionally. But my DM's been making me crazy the last few years. She's been rude to the neighbors and friends she doesn't like-- to the point where they avoid me if she's visiting-- and she's here at least twice a week! She horns in on my plans with the friends/neighbors that she does like. She discourages new friendships. She makes too many demands on my time and on my attention.

The kids have been sick since Thanksgiving, so I couldn't take her shopping, or do anything else that she wanted to do with me. Then my friend, whom she likes, dropped by for a visit, and I didn't invite my DM. She was pretty upset about it.

I was on the verge of telling her that I've had enough, these are the boundaries, and she needs to make her own friends, when she came to me last night asking how to make friends. She feels very stressed because she never knows when my DSF is going to get too sick. He can't do much of anything because he can no longer walk too far. She doesn't feel like she has the time to commit to building new friendships. She doesn't have the money to join clubs, etc. I think I understand her stress, and why I seem to be her only outlet.

But I didn't feel pity for her; I gave her the advice I give to everyone: making friends is like dating. You get to know someone a little, and if you like them, ask them out to coffee. (And don't get intimate until at least the 3rd date.) She has church ladies she likes, so I encouraged her to reach out to one of them. We'll see what happens.

Does anyone else have this problem of being in the middle? How do you handle it? How do you see your responsibilities?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old January 1st, 2008, 08:30 AM
snafu's Avatar
snafu snafu is offline
future crazy cat lady
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Mid-west
Posts: 10,470
snafu has a reputation beyond reputesnafu has a reputation beyond reputesnafu has a reputation beyond reputesnafu has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How do you handle being the Sandwiched Generation?

I'm not in the same situation as you- but I suggest you find a "Red Hats" group for her to socialize with. My mom is NOT very outgoing, but enjoys doing things with the group.

It seems that you're her (MIL's) safety-net. My mom lives in a senior cit. apartment building (it has a community room & lounge)- even if your MIL doesn't live in one if there's one where you live I bet she'd know some of the people there- maybe she could stop by & visit/make some friends.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old January 1st, 2008, 02:11 PM
nonnymouse's Avatar
nonnymouse nonnymouse is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: West Coast, USA
Posts: 1,032
nonnymouse will become famous soon enough
Re: How do you handle being the Sandwiched Generation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1dilwhosreal View Post
The stress of being the sandwiched generation-- the one that is both raising children and caring for parents-- is daunting.

Does anyone else have this problem of being in the middle? How do you handle it? How do you see your responsibilities?
I went through a few months of anxiety a couple of years ago trying to wrap my mind around the realization that neither my in laws nor my mother and step dad had anyone to call on for help besides my husband and I.

My husband was power of attorney for his mother, neither of his parents have health insurance or pension. I was getting worn out taking care of the kids and we were having financial problems. He was in a bad job that got worse before a great one came along. It was really overwhelming at the time.

I spoke to my SIL and found out she had no intention of helping either of her parents even if she could. None of the other family members were close enough geographically or emotionally to look to for help either.

My husband wouldn't acknowledge any of my concerns at the time. His mom had been having some health problems though she is not elderly and his dad had no visible means of support and had started to ask for money.

Little by little each issue resolved it self (or rather we adapted to the changes) but I really didn't know what to do at the time. And I realize that health-wise at least there will come a time when their acute health issues do not resolve so quickly.

There were other things going on at the time that I only found out later that I was glad I didn't now about sooner. His mom gave her house away. That was her only investment that she could have used to support herself. But it worked out for her. She believes that giving to God first at all times blesses her and frankly it does. I have been surprised and grateful that every time she has a need, and these are not small needs, I mean housing, food, work, medical care, everything, doors really do just open up for her and she has whatever it is right when she needs it. I have my problems with her that I wish she would be willing to work out but I have learned to just stand back when it comes to fearing for her care. Stand back and be grateful.

I have had to let go of most of my ideas about our responsibilities for them and trust that we can share what we have when we have it and they won't all just drain us dry. The anxiety actually was a big help in getting us to develop better boundaries and communication skills with all the parents. My MIL is a bit of an exception but I can't really do anything about that.

I have talked to my folks about their wishes and what they want me to do when they need more help. Right now they are still able to care for each other despite some serious health issues for both of them. They enjoy giving us a hand with the grandkids. I have a lot to be thankful for at this point.

I admire the way your handling the situation. I doubt I'd be as tactful if I had such frequent contact with any of the parents. Part of what works for us right now is not living too close or getting overly involved unless invited.

I rely more and more on faith especially since I had my own health issues last year. What do you do to refresh your self after some of these encounters with your mom?
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old January 1st, 2008, 06:30 PM
KayKay's Avatar
KayKay KayKay is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 16,340
KayKay has a reputation beyond reputeKayKay has a reputation beyond reputeKayKay has a reputation beyond reputeKayKay has a reputation beyond reputeKayKay has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How do you handle being the Sandwiched Generation?

I have no advice, 1dil... just sympathy.

Do y'all have long-term care insurance for your M? When I pointed out to DH that the onus of having to take care of his M would fall on...not him, not SIL, but ME (and she'd have to move in with us)... he got some long-term care insurance in place quickly.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old January 2nd, 2008, 06:21 AM
1dilwhosreal 1dilwhosreal is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: North East
Posts: 2,068
1dilwhosreal will become famous soon enough
Re: How do you handle being the Sandwiched Generation?

The long-term health care is on my New Year's To Do List. I told my DM to get it a few years ago, but she didn't because it was too expensive-- but she didn't tell me that. I just assumed she got it, or I would've paid the premiums for it. They frequently let important things like that go, but then want to pay for Christmas dinner.

I try not to overstep my bounds-- the more involved you get, the more responsible you become-- and my DM is young. The problem is that she married a man much older than herself, and now she's feeling the age difference. But I can't be her only outlet.

Good news is that she did take my advice and called a friend to go out to a movie with. Unfortunately, her friend is away, but I told her to go down her list and call someone else. We'll see.

Nonnymouse, I like the trust you have. I know that we'll be okay, there'll always be enough to share, so I don't worry too much about the financial end.

And what do I do to destress? My first thought was that I eat. And that's true. But I play with my children. And I really try to plan out our finances so that, barring any catastrophes, we don't end up in the same boat.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old January 2nd, 2008, 08:29 AM
grubby's Avatar
grubby grubby is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: In the middle of nowhere
Posts: 1,769
grubby will become famous soon enough
Re: How do you handle being the Sandwiched Generation?

Unfortunately or fortunately (depends on how you look at it), this won't be a true problem for me. All I have left is my step-dad and there are 5 of us girls to take care of him. My mom dealt with this for years. My grandparents were 70 when I was born. My grandmother passed only 6 weeks before my mom at almost 100yo. Its rough but doable.

I wish I had some kind of words of wisdom, but I don't. The best advise I can give you is to have a long talk with each parent about what they do and don't want out of their "Golden Years." Most parents don't want to be a "burden" to their kids, but just don't have the energy or resources to know what to do about the situation. Also, every hospital has a social worker that can help you or your elderly family members with information about insurance, living facilities, wills, etc...

On more of a morbid note, as the executor of my mother's estate, I beg everyone to make sure that their Wills, Living Wills, and power of attorney are all in order.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old January 2nd, 2008, 09:31 AM
Beth's Avatar
Beth Beth is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,257
Beth will become famous soon enough
Re: How do you handle being the Sandwiched Generation?

1DIL,

Sounds like your mother is trying to live her life through you. Aging parents tend to become more isolated when they or their spouse have medical problems etc. They also have had friends pass away and find themselves bored and lonely.

I went through this only a short time with my own mother. In a compassionate way, I did have a conversation with her about ways to find friends. There are community programs, volunteer work, senior trips, etc. She eventually hooked up with something that gave her meaning which made her much happier. I will say during one of our conversations, I was pretty blunt about how she was stepping over some boudaries in my life. She didn't speak to me for a few weeks after that, but she soon realized what she was doing and worked on it from her end.

No matter what you say or do your mother will probably get hurt feelings, but she needs to redefine her life, and that can be hard to do. Helping her find ways to do that, which may take up some of your time in the beginning, could be beneficial for both of you. This is also something she will need to do if your stepfather passes. From what I have seen, moving on can be one of the most difficult challenges to overcome. They are used to what is familar to them, change is not easy.

I hope if I am ever in the same place as your mom that I look at it as an adventure, something to explore.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old January 2nd, 2008, 10:06 AM
snafu's Avatar
snafu snafu is offline
future crazy cat lady
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Mid-west
Posts: 10,470
snafu has a reputation beyond reputesnafu has a reputation beyond reputesnafu has a reputation beyond reputesnafu has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How do you handle being the Sandwiched Generation?

Another thing that she could do- check with the local schools & see what types of things she could do at a school (assist teachers, work with mentoring-my aunt loved this, being a role model, get involved with the reading program, work with after school activities, Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts, "reading night").

Or check at local hospitals/nursing homes to see what opportunities are avalable.

These would get her out of the house, give her something to talk about, and plenty of opportuities to make new friends.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old January 2nd, 2008, 01:38 PM
Beth's Avatar
Beth Beth is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 1,257
Beth will become famous soon enough
Re: How do you handle being the Sandwiched Generation?

This may not be available to everyone, but there are many retirees in my area that started being extra's in movies. All kinds of people are needed. So if anyone has an aspiring actor for a parent who might enjoy that, it's another option. And they earn a little extra money too.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old January 2nd, 2008, 05:32 PM
1dilwhosreal 1dilwhosreal is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: North East
Posts: 2,068
1dilwhosreal will become famous soon enough
Re: How do you handle being the Sandwiched Generation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beth View Post
This may not be available to everyone, but there are many retirees in my area that started being extra's in movies. All kinds of people are needed. So if anyone has an aspiring actor for a parent who might enjoy that, it's another option. And they earn a little extra money too.
Heck, I'd like to do that! Just give me free lunch.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:29 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2007, The BlueSparks Network