The Covid-19 outbreak depicts how unpredictable our lives can be. In a short span of three months, our way of living took a 180 degree turn. Its accompanying impact have put stress on families in many ways and it is presenting additional challenges for a group that may already be stretched thin - the sandwich generation.
Termed as those who are in the precarious situation of raising children while also caring for their own aging parents, the sandwich generation may be assuming the brunt of stress during this pandemic.
Aside from being concerned about the physical well-being of their parents and children, the sandwich generation is also the ones stressing about their finances during this trying period. There is little comfort to see the city coming to a standstill as one prepares for a looming recession. We are starting to see and hear more of individuals struggling with job and income instability. The feelings of uncertainty and fear can be overwhelming when the stakes are high.
Closer to home, my mom’s part time job has been paused, and my dad has been increasingly taking more no-pay leave from work. It can be heart-breaking to hear their occasional sighs around the house as they tune in to the daily news or skyping my grandparents.
For those who have stable jobs,things may not appear as rosy as it seems. To comply with the circuit breaker measures, companies around the world have switched to virtual modes of working and students are having a shut-in holiday. On top of one’s daily work routine, parents would also have to help their children keep up with school work and fend off boredom while figuring out how to get meals on the table.
As parents are teaching their children the reasoning behind the circuit breaker measures, some might be teaching the same reasoning to their parents, encouraging them to comply and take the guidelines seriously. As a result of complying to the advisories, this generation might not only need to get groceries for their own family, but also get necessities for their elderly parents. In addition with limited technical know-how, the elderly might also be more reliant on family members to guide them on navigating around online platforms so as to remain connected with loved ones.
The stresses of caregiving for the sandwich generation will begin to take a toll as they shoulder on more logistics of the transitions happening to their family members. It is easy to feel alone and stressed out when one has to deal with these novel situations that require time and attention while managing their own workload and emotions.
As we navigate through this pandemic while caring for our loved ones, realise that what you’re going through isn’t easy and know that you are doing a good job. At the same time, do remember that you matter as well. Take some time off for yourself to do the things you enjoy, even if it is just for half an hour. Find a support network among your friends and family. Take the advice that airlines often tell their passengers: put on your face mask first before you tend to others. Your well-being is as equally important to those around you.
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