Are you part of the sand­wich gen­er­a­tion?

The Wokingham Paper - - HEALTH - Ni­cola Strud­ley is man­ager for Health­watch Wok­ing­ham Bor­ough. Opin­ions are her own

BEVERLEY works full-time. She does her grand­chil­dren’s school run ev­ery morn­ing and spends one evening a week and ev­ery Saturday with her 85-year-old mother, who lives alone and is in­creas­ingly frail.

Beverley is part of the sand­wich gen­er­a­tion – peo­ple who care for age­ing par­ents while sup­port­ing their chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.

The sand­wich gen­er­a­tion are find­ing that rather than slow­ing down as they ap­proach re­tire­ment they are tak­ing on more re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

In Wok­ing­ham Bor­ough alone, there are al­most 14,000 peo­ple (that’s 9% of our pop­u­la­tion) that iden­tify them­selves as hav­ing a car­ing role.

These num­bers are only set to in­crease. Car­ers UK es­ti­mates there will be nine mil­lion car­ers in the UK by 2037.

The num­ber of cen­te­nar­i­ans in the UK has quadru­pled in the past 30 years, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from the Of­fice for National Sta­tis­tics.

In the past decade alone, the num­ber of peo­ple reach­ing the age of 100 has in­creased by 71%.

The num­ber of peo­ple over 90 has nearly tre­bled over the past 30 years.

The rise means there are in­creas­ing num­bers of very old peo­ple be­ing cared for by their chil­dren – them­selves at an age at which they might have ex­pected to be cared for, rather than to care for oth­ers.

Tough

Jug­gling work and car­ing re­spon­si­bil­i­ties isn’t easy, so try not to add to the pres­sure by feel­ing bad about what you’re do­ing.

Al­though car­ing for a loved one can be re­ward­ing, it is tough too.

Too of­ten car­ers do not re­ceive the recog­ni­tion and sup­port that they need and de­serve. We need to do more to help iden­tify, sup­port and recog­nise their vi­tal roles.

We at Health­watch have pro­duced a toolkit for GPs to sup­port car­ers. It is im­per­a­tive that car­ers look after their own health needs. If you do not take care of your­self, you will not be able to prop­erly take care of oth­ers. Plain and sim­ple.

The Car­ers Toolkit looks at the help and sup­port you may be en­ti­tled to; for ex­am­ple GPs can flag you so you get pri­or­ity med­i­cal ap­point­ments, Elder­care sup­port could in­clude ar­rang­ing lo­cal author­ity or pri­vate care or claim­ing ben­e­fits such as At­ten­dance Al­lowance.

Em­ploy­ers can help with tax-ef­fi­cient child­care vouch­ers and, if you need to take time off work to look after a rel­a­tive, flex­i­ble work­ing ar­range­ments.

There are also apps that you can down­load to help man­age com­mu­ni­ca­tion about loved ones ap­point­ments.

Re­mem­ber you are only one per­son and there are 24 hours in one day.

Make a list of all the things you think need to get done and pri­ori­tise them. What can you cut out? How can you min­i­mize your load?

Get in touch with Health­watch if in­ter­ested in find­ing out more about the help and sup­port avail­able.

How to con­tact us :

Face­book @health­watch­wok­ing­ham

Twit­ter @HWWok­ing­ham

Phone 0118 418 1 418

Web­site www.health­watch­wok­ing­ham.co.uk E-Mail en­quiries@health­watch­wok­ing­ham.co.uk

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.