Today more Baby Boomers experience the phenomenon known as the Sandwich Generation (struggling to meet the needs of both their growing children and aging parents), the need to understand aging dynamics and family relationships increases dramatically. It’s not easy to grow old, nor is the shift in the relational dynamics between adult children and their elderly parents.
Here are a few beneficial tips from my book Along Comes Grandpa.
- Don’t try to be everything to everyone. You will only frustrate yourself and disappoint everyone around you.
- Learn how to say “no,” or “I can’t help with that.” This can create feelings of guilt, however; saying “no” is less stressful than filling your plate with a bunch of “yeses” that you are unable to follow through on. (See Letting Go of Guilt)
- Take care of yourself. This one will come up in just about every Tips area, because it needs to be reiterated (see The Fundamental Rule).
- If you have children, set aside special focused SCHEDULED time with them to just have fun and stick to it.
- Create a big schedule board (or for the more technologically advanced a shared Google calendar) and put it up somewhere in the house. Everyone will know the schedule and will cut down on “whim requests”.
- Set boundaries with both generations. Setting boundaries does not mean you can’t help others; it means that you need to help others help themselves or create availability timelines. (See boundaries)
Some examples of “boundary conversation”:
► I will pick up prescriptions on my way home on Mondays. Refills must be called in on the Saturday or Sunday when there are at least 4-5 days’ worth of pills left, and not when on their last pill.
► Thursday is grocery night put items you want on the list on the fridge, until them you will have to live without whatever we run out of. (Creating a list will assist in creating a focused shopping experience)
► Tuesday nights are “me time.” This could be going to the movies or the mall, or locking yourself in your room without 700 knocks on the door.
► Friday nights are date night/family outing night. AKA- FOCUSED FUN TIME!
- Let your friends know your schedule. Friends can be both a blessing and a burden if they also rely on you to help them out.
- Ask for help! Asking others, such as friends or family members, to help is important because of the dual needs you are trying to meet. Maybe the parents of your children’s friends can pinch-hit for you.
For more tips and resources as well as to order copies of my books visit: http://www.alongcomesgrandpa.com/