The Sandwich Generation: Who Helps The Helper?
Someone in the Sandwich Generation may feel trapped between caring for their aging parents and their grown up children. However the amount of people, especially women, who take on the role of carer for their older and younger counterparts is astounding. In fact, The Journal reported that one third of Irish women aged 50 - 69 are a part of the Sandwich Generation; with over 140,000 of these women providing care to the generations on both sides. Grandchildren are included in this care. Carers UK report an increase of 13% of female Sandwich Generation caregivers in the last ten years. The number now standing at about 1.2 million.
We call these women “Jingas”, after the African queen, Queen Jinga. She is the caregiver of the family, supporting and looking after every member to the best of her ability. If you feel your own Mum fits the bill of Sandwich Generation carer, or Jinga, here are some ways you can help the helper in your family.
1. Take A Bit Of The Weight Off
Your Mum probably has a lot on their plate right now, caring for both her own elderly parents and her grown children. If you can, offer to take some of the weight off her shoulders every now and again. Whether this is driving your grandparents to a medical appointment, or keeping an eye on your nieces and nephews every now and again - every little helps after all!
2. Acknowledge All They Do
Sometimes it’s just not possible to lend a helping hand, and that’s perfectly alright. However, knowing all that your Mum is doing for the family and not acknowledging it is not ok. Sometimes all anyone needs is a bit of acknowledgement and respect for a job well done. Telling your Mum you are grateful for all she does, or amazed at her strength will be sure to give her a boost, as well as letting her know she is appreciated.
3. Make Her An Offer
Your Mum, like most Mums, would probably go to the ends of the Earth for you, and is unlikely to expect anything in return. She’s even less likely to ask for help as she knows how busy you are with your own life. So whether you are the child benefiting from her help, or it’s one of your siblings, or even your grandparents, offer to help in whatever way possible. If you are financially able to lend a hand, great! But even your time will be valued. It could be doing the weekly shop, or it could just be listening to her rant and rave for half an hour, but offering her the opportunity to be supported in some way, shape or form will mean a lot.
4. Treat Her!
Everyone deserves a little R and R every now and again. If your Mum has been helping you, your siblings and/or your grandparents out a lot lately, then she is in definite need of a treat! Going for a nice meal, a spa day, or having a nice long chat over tea and cake will help your Mum to unwind and take a break from her busy life as a carer.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Being in the Sandwich Generation can be hard, but watching someone you love spread themselves too thin can be harder. If you suspect your Mum may have bitten off more than she can chew, and you’re not in a position to help financially or physically, ask someone who is. Your siblings, cousins, uncles, and aunts are there to ask for help should you need it. Your Mum may not want to ask them, but a little mention or hint that help might be needed never did anyone any harm.
Use Jinga Life
Jinga Life is a platform that allows you to record your and your family’s medical history. You can also view your medical appointments, so you’re always on track and proactive when it comes to your health and wellbeing. Several people in the family can have access to your Jinga Life account, so sharing the responsibility of caring for other family members is made so much easier! You can sign up for Jinga Life here.