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Today in the UK, more and more parents are combining looking after their young children with caring for elderly or disabled loved ones.
This is sometimes called ‘sandwich caring’ or ‘dual caring’ and those who fall under this category are usually referred to as ‘the sandwich generation’.
In many cases, primary carers are not just caring for one person, they are managing the care for their whole family.
‘Sandwich Carers’ now make up approximately 2% of the United Kingdom population. And, due to a combination of longer life expectancy and women tending to have children in later life, they are a growing group in our UK population.
Performing this care can leave the carer/or care person feeling undervalued, exhausted, time-poor and stressed. In fact, new figures have shown that the Sandwich Carers are more likely to report symptoms of mental ill-health and as a result, their ability to work is strained, causing stress.
Sandwich Carers often find themselves becoming overstretched. They are aiming to provide adequate care for their children as well as the loved-one they are caring for.
There are multiple impacts though - the carers are not only time-poor but have also reported that they are financially “just about getting by”.
Carers are at risk of becoming isolated, financially low and being constantly under pressure. Having to juggle their responsibilities of care, work and their own relationships takes its toll on not only the individual but the immediate family.
Many Sandwich Carers can feel that the huge and unrelenting responsibility they undertake goes without recognition. Therefore, feeling as though their life is getting narrower. They are unable to keep in contact with other relatives and friends leading to further feelings of isolation.
The Chief Executive of Carers UK expressed that Sandwich Caring is a “growing problem”. The charity estimates that around two million people have left their job as a result of providing care for their children and a loved-one. This again results in consequences for their finances and careers.
Many people don’t see themselves as carers when they are providing care to a member of their family or friends.
On average, it takes them two years to acknowledge their role as a carer.
So when the pressure builds, who is there for the carer when they are in need? One option to alleviate some of the pressure is respite care. That's where trained Registered Nurses and Carers give the carer a temporary break from the caring responsibilities they may have undertaken.
Of course, handing over the care of a loved one is not a decision to be made lightly, so if this is something that you need help with then it's important to find an organisation that can create you a tailor-made package of support for you and your family.
Planning ahead is key. While you may be caring for a loved one at home to begin with, having conversations about what the future might hold and making plans is much easier in a non-crisis situation.
You should consider all long-term care options, including live-in care. It can be a huge relief for a long-term sandwich carer to know that a qualified professional care worker is living with their older loved one, and helping to keep everyone in touch and reassured.
We chatted with Mairead Liston and Maggie Candy, the experts from Cavendish Professionals to talk about how to navigate the care support system and how to get the right support for your ageing parents.
In the video below, we discuss:
This article is a paid partnership with Cavendish Homecare. Cavendish provides long term care options such as live-In Care, domiciliary care, dementia care and/or any care that can be tailored to you and your loved ones individual needs. We can fit into your routine by providing care for your loved on in their home so they feel comfortable and safe.
Cavendish sees the everyday strain that being a sandwich carer can have on a person and the need to be the best for their dependants. They understand the importance of wanting the best for your parent or loved one so that is why they are here to help.
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