By: Joni Sellers Community Outreach Manager, Care Improvement Plus and Lisa Winstel, Chief Operating Officer, National Family Caregivers Association
With America’s rapidly aging population, many baby boomers are forced to fill three roles; caring for themselves, their children and aging parents. According to the Pew Research Center, just over one of every eight Americans aged 40 to 60 is raising both a child and caring for a parent. This growing population of caregivers has been identified as “The Sandwich Generation,” and statistics about their roles is staggering.
- Caring for their children: There are nearly 10 million baby boomers raising kids or supporting an adult child, while lending a hand financially to an aging parent.
- Caring for themselves: More than 1 in 10 of family caregivers report that caregiving has caused their physical health to deteriorate.
- Caring for their parents: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) indicate that eight of every 10 Americans aged 65 or older live with a chronic illness such as diabetes or heart failure, and more than 65 million people provide care for such individuals.
It’s important that caregivers take steps to reduce the stress and physical strain that may accompany caring for a loved one. The National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA) and Care Improvement Plus recently launched a partnership to address these very issues by providing valuable resources and tools to help Austin and surrounding area caregivers better care for themselves and their loved ones.
NFCA and Care Improvement Plus offer the following tips for those in Austin and surrounding area who find themselves providing ongoing care and support of loved ones:
- Set aside personal time: Be sure to set aside time for yourself to do something each day that you enjoy.
- Ask for help: Caregiving is not something you should take on solely on your own—this is the time that you are going to need the most support from friends and loved ones. Don’t hesitate to ask for help in times of need.
- Develop a social network: Support groups for caregivers offer a strong support system, as the group’s members are or have experienced what you are going through.
For more information about “the sandwich generation” and/or support and resources to help you as a family caregiver, please contact the National Family Caregivers Association at 1-800-896-3650 (http://www.thefamilycaregiver.org) or Care Improvement Plus at 1-800-711-1656 (http://www.careimprovementplus.com).
Joni Sellers is a Community Outreach Manager for Care Improvement Plus and Lisa Winstel is the Chief Operating Officer of the National Family Caregivers Association
 “The Sandwich Generation: Filling in the Care Gap” Home Helpers Senior Care Services Blog. April 21, 2011 <http://www.homehelpersphilly.com/blog/bid/52860/The-Sandwich-Generation-Filling-in-the-Care-Gap>
 “Sandwich Generation: Survive the midlife tug of war” CNNMoney.com February 20, 2007 <http://money.cnn.com/2007/02/20/magazines/moneymag/tug_of_war.moneymag/>
 “Caregiving Statistics – Impact on Family Caregiver’s Health” nfcacares.org http://www.nfcacares.org/who_are_family_caregivers/care_giving_statstics.cfm