Posted on July 14, 2016 at 6:00 am
I am not older than dirt nor am I a young chickadee anymore. What I am is a member of the Sandwich Generation. You might ask: What is the Sandwich Generation? Is it a generation who only ate at McDonalds? Perhaps they devour sandwiches like sliced bread will soon be going out of style?
While I actually do eat fast food (I know, I know), including Subway’s turkey sandwiches, I am referring to the familial phenomenon. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful life that includes full-time work while caring for two grandbabies and my mother who has Alzheimer’s. So my life and needs are now sandwiched between diapers and Depends®.
My life is also filled with stress (triggering the cortisol hormone), a lighter bank account (who can walk past cute baby outfits without buying one), and unconditional love.
Also, to be honest, it is hard to be in this sandwich scenario. I now know why women don’t normally give birth after the age of 60. My temperament and reflexes are not what they were when I was in my 20s. I don’t recall (a side effect of this generation) thinking that grubby little hands wrapped around my work outfit was cute just because the baby waddled up to me with glee. But maybe it was cute when I was under the age of 30. . . . If you happen to see a woman at McDonalds or the library with sweet, little handprints on her outfit, it’s probably me.
I have also come to a realization: it doesn’t matter how long you live, only that you have a life filled with love, safety, health, and quality.
It has been sad to watch my mother’s decline, and I have found myself at a loss on how to handle some of those challenges. Yet while traveling this path of the Sandwich Generation, I have discovered that our community has much to offer and that I am not alone. In fact, one out of seven adults are now members of the Sandwich Generation.
What else have I learned? Well, retirement plans change. Say bye-bye to trips to Paris and Rome. I also have realized the importance of preparing for my own elderly care and making sure I have given thought to the quality of life I want and deserve. In other words, I’m planning now for my future.
The Library District has been a great resource for researching what I need as a member of the Sandwich Generation. They have books on the Sandwich Generation, the effects of cortisol on belly fat (a great excuse for a muffin top), wonderful virtual vacations, and how to make some great sandwiches that the whole family will love!
The Sandwich Generation’s Guide to Eldercare, by Kimberly McCrone Wickert, Danielle Schultz Dresden, and Phillip Rumrill
This book gives you insight and practical advice on dealing with the different stages of the aging process, along with personal stories that resonate and possibly offer some hope. It also gives valuable information on how to advocate for your loved ones and includes an Eldercare Bill of Rights. I suggest reading it before you actually need it.
The Cortisol Connection, by Shawn Talbott
Do you have stress? If yes, that’s strike one. Do you get at least 8 hours of sleep every night? If no, strike two. Are you actively dieting or concerned about what you eat? Either way, strike three. Check out Dr. Talbott’s Type C Self-Test to gauge your exposure to stress. He covers in layman’s terms exactly what cortisol is and its relationship to stress. Included are 77 pages of dietary supplements to help address stress and an explanation of how humans compare to zebras (in terms of stress).
The Banh Mi Handbook, by Andrea Nguyen
I love cookbooks, especially ones with pictures. This book does not fail to deliver. It is full of beautiful, mouth-watering photos. I had no idea what Bánh Mì was when I picked up this cookbook, but now I’m hooked. Care to try beef and curry sliders or caramel-sauce pulled pork? Put on your apron, and check this one out.
World’s Best Cities, by National Geographic
Who takes more beautiful pictures than the photographers at National Geographic? They have captured photos of 220 cities, giving us a peek into the cities, their attractions, and their local secrets (my favorite sections). For example, I have been to Seattle numerous times and never knew about Ballard’s Golden Gardens (how did I miss this?). I also enjoyed the “Then & Now” pictures that transported me back in time. You’ll see black and white images and sepia tone ones (my favorite taken in 1902 of a street barber in Beijing) alongside full color photos. Kick off your shoes, get a comfy seat, put a pillow on your lap (this is a heavy book), and get ready to be transported.