Caring for Both Children and Senior Parents — How Can We Support?

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One of the diaconates in the area of Alberta I serve as a consultant is asking for ideas on how to support those who are part of the 'sandwich generation.' In other words those who find themselves raising children while at the same time caring for elderly parents. These people are often in need of both practical and emotional/spiritual support. Have congregations or individuals found ways to offer support?

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Community Builder

From personal experience, I've taken advantage of the resources provided by my employer's Employee Assistance Program. Reminding people that resources may be available from their employer is a start. Encouragement to be part of a small group in the local church is also invaluable.

Participant

I think most of us would agree that our first reponsibility is to our marriages and our children.  However, when our parents reach their later years and develop health issues and deficits, there is no doubt that they need help as well, and families need to stretch to help them out, as it should be.  But we as their church family can play an important role to help and support.  We can visit the seniors if they are lonely; we can take them for a drive or for coffee if they need an outing; we can even invite them to our own homes if they need a change of scenery.  But most of all, we can be confidantes, sounding boards, prayer partners and  encouragers for those who are ensconced in the 'sandwich generation'.  Where the need is particularly great, consider setting up a GLUE team (see www.crcna.org/pages/disability_care.cfm) to make sure no one suffers from burnout.  We need to encourage those in the sandwich generation to make sure they take time for themselves and their families.  If we all work together in this, we can be a great blessing to each other, and we will have done what Jesus would have us do.