Sandwiched in the middle

It is never easy to attend to your own needs, when those of your parents or children seem so pressing.

By DR. BATYA L. LUDMAN
November 15, 2017 17:26
 Sandwiched in the middle (Illustrative)

Sandwiched in the middle (Illustrative). (photo credit: KIRK LYTTLE/ TNS)

 
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A man commented to me, “Our last child recently got married, and we also became grandparents. We travel to see our children living abroad and visit an elderly and ailing mom in an assisted living residence. We really are the sandwich generation – helping to look after the needs of those who came before us and those who come after us, trying to eke out a little time for just us, whenever possible. We dream of retiring and having a real vacation, just the two of us, but can’t quite imagine it, given our other responsibilities.”

A lovely woman, just shy of middle age, came in to my office with a history of multiple somatic complaints. Referred to me by her family doctor because of stress related to family issues, I was indeed impressed with how sad and exhausted she looked. Trying to deal with the needs of three very busy and difficult preteen and adolescent daughters, along with her aging parents, one of whom was quite sick, she appeared to have the weight of the world on her shoulders. She herself was coping with menopause, which left her with hot flashes, night sweats, erratic and interrupted sleep, irritability and difficulty concentrating.Moderately depressed, she was struggling with not being able to decide whose needs to attend to first within the multitude of multigenerational problems.

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