Open Accessibility Menu
Healthy Living

Tips for the Sandwich Generation

1. Take care of yourself. Make time for your friends, learn how to say “no” and pay attention to your relationships. And ditch the negativity, Robin Seaber advises. “One of the best things my mother ever taught me and my girls is this: ‘Surround yourself with cheerleaders; get rid of the vampires.’” Know your limits and honor them.

2. Don’t think you have to overspend to get the care your parent needs. Sandra Heller says, “There are lovely communities that are clean, light and bustling with activities. They are colorful and beautiful and don’t smell. It’s a completely different world from what our parents’ experience was with their parents.”

3. Manage your expectations. “You may want your mother to walk every day for 20 minutes,” says Heller. “But she might just want to walk around the mall and see a movie.”

4. Involve your kids. Getting to know their grandparents will be an enriching and rewarding experience, according to Heller, “and they will always appreciate that time together.”

5. Start talking to each other. This is Theresa Ferry’s #1 piece of advice. Sit down, make lists of who can do what, when and how. It might take patience and diplomacy, but figure out who can contribute more time, who might be more financially able to help, who lives close enough to take care of doctors’ visits, and the like. You might be surprised how well your siblings pull together.

6. Ask for help! All three of our experts couldn’t emphasize this more. Ask for help from friends, family members, neighbors, your church community. “So many adult children try to do it all by themselves and their parents don’t want to ask for help, feeling that they are becoming a burden,” says Ferry. “Then the situation might get into a crisis, a fall or missed medication. Head that off before it’s too late.”

7. Dig in to resources. Good information is available online too. Lifehacker has a good piece on caring for aging parents (lifehacker.com/how-to-care-for-your-aging-parents-1688333666), and Psych Central has psychcentral.com/blog/8-ways-to-help-your-aging-parents. Also check out the PBS series "Sandwich Generation."


Torrance Memorial offers events, classes and support groups to help with nearly every stage of life. For more information check out the listings on page 12 or call 310-517-4711.