LBL and the Sandwich Generation
Being a caregiver isn’t easy – especially when you’re juggling a job, kids, and helping elderly parents or an ailing spouse. “If that’s you, you’re part of the sandwich generation – caring for those younger and older than you,” says Breeda Miller, a speaker on a mission to support caregivers. I sat with Breeda over lunch at a speakers’ conference last week. We talked about women who find themselves caught in the middle with no time for themselves.
“The stress can be overwhelming,” Breeda said. She knows from experience. For eight years she cared for her mom and kids at the same time. “When you’re in the sandwich generation, you can’t figure out which is more stressful– handing over car keys to your 16-year-old driver, or taking away the keys of your 90-year-old driver,” she said.
Breeda’s experience makes it easy for her to spot caregivers at the grocery store. “Your shopping cart tells it all,” she said. “It’s filled with tampons, Depend ®, acne cream, wrinkle cream, pizza rolls, Poise® Pads, and prunes.”
“Don’t forget Impressa*,” I said.
Because it’s new, Breeda hadn’t heard of Poise* Impressa* Bladder Supports. I told her about how it helps stop leaks before they even start. Then, I asked her when she thought Poise* Impressa* would be most useful to busy caregivers.
“It would help keep women from leaking while lifting strollers and walkers in and out of the car,” she said.
“It would also help stop leaks when helping your mom or dad get out of bed and in the shower. Those activities put stress on your back and bladder too.” But the biggest way Breeda believes that products like Poise* Impressa* bladder supports can help is by making it safe to laugh.
“Your concern about bladder leaks might prevent you from doing the very things that lift your spirits – bringing laughter into your day,” she said. “Watching that funny movie, going to a comedy club, or getting together with friends for a chuckle-fest is essential for your mental health as a caregiver.”
If you’re dealing with bladder leakage, it’s important to make time to go to the doctor. “I didn’t schedule my doctor appointments because I was consumed with my mom and children’s needs,” Breeda said. She learned slowly, over time, to make herself a priority.
I asked Breeda to share three tips to help caregivers take care of themselves while caring for others. Here’s her advice:
1. Realize you’re not alone. There is support available for you. Reach out to your family physician, women’s groups, and organizations like AARP that have tools to assist you. There are even private Facebook groups filled with caregiving women who are happy to share their stories, ideas and support with each other.
2. Give yourself a break, before you break. So many women think it’s lazy or selfish to go for a walk, take a yoga class, or take a nap. It’s not selfish. When you’re in shape mentally and physically you’re better able to care for your loved ones. Don’t let your needs fall off the radar.
3. Cancel your guilt trip. If you’re doing the best you can on any given day, that’s enough. No one in your shoes says, “Being a caregiver is a breeze.” Don’t assume that everyone else is doing a better job than you do, because it’s not true. No one is perfect. Instead of feeling guilty, educate yourself about different ways of coping with caregiving responsibilities, and what options are available to you. There are books, support groups, and seminars available to empower you to feel good about yourself, even on your toughest days.
What about you?
What’s your best tip for taking care of yourself, your leaks, and your loved ones?