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The Sandwich Generation – is this you? Are you supporting and caring for elderly parents and supporting adult children still living at home, juggling a demanding job and trying to be present for your partner?

As Australia’s population ages, many people are becoming ‘sandwiched’ between their elderly parents and growing children.

On the one hand, you have children still living in the family home (as the cost of living, renting or purchasing a property has increased significantly), and you have a job that keeps you busy. On the other hand, you have your elderly parents who you love and want the best for but who also need more help than they used to.

If this is you, let me tell you, you aren’t alone. This is a balancing act facing the growing sandwich generation – the estimated 1.5 million Australians in their 40s and 50s juggling the competing responsibilities of their children, partner, work and elderly parents. 

The Labour Market Insights National Skills Commission report states that the average age of Registered Nurses working in aged care is 47 and 90% are women. So as well as caring for and supporting children, partners and parents, you can add aged care consumers to the list. 

While we all want to do the best for our families and the consumers we care for, it’s a stressful juggling act that takes tremendous resilience and emotional strength to be present every day. 

Here are a few tips that we practice at Anchor;

With the ACQSC and aged care standards focused on choice, dignity and maintaining identity for the consumers in your care, it’s important that you focus on your own needs, desires and identity. Remember to look after your wellbeing by getting proper rest and nutrition, exercising regularly, and taking downtime when possible. You could also consider implementing stress-reducing techniques, such as meditation or Tai Chi. Other mechanisms include genuinely asking colleagues if they are ok and actively listening to them. 

One would think working in the sector and supporting elderly parents would be easier, but that’s not always the case as it’s the everyday tasks and administration that take time and emotional energy. Don’t feel you need to be all things to all people. It might help if at least one area of responsibility is taken care of and family members (your adult children) are often more than capable of assisting. 

Another solution is plain but not always simple…communication. It can be awkward, but opening up the lines of communication is vital to a successful multigenerational household and to succeed in a professional capacity. Speak openly and honestly with senior management; it may give you the support you need to keep being present. 

As a predominantly female ‘sandwich generation’ team, we recognise and acutely understand the pressure and challenges, which is why our approach is to become an extension of your team, have empathy and provide the support that enables you and your organisation to thrive and be sustainable. With improved practices, workforce optimisation, and operational process transformation, our goal is to make your professional life more manageable and ensure your consumers receive safe and quality care. 

Don’t just take our word for it. see below for what our clients are saying;

Working with the Anchor Team was a breath of fresh air. Their processes, guidance and leadership ensured we met our provider obligations, and our stakeholders were taken on the journey and feeling happy about the changes. We could not have turned the organisation around so efficiently and effectively without them.

    • Mathew Hafford and Lillian Stockall – Directors, The Palms Aged Care

With an experienced team of market leading aged care experts, The Salvation Army Aged Care has enjoyed an enduring relationship with Anchor Excellence. 

In particular, I have worked closely with Cynthia Payne, who has become a trusted a valued business partner, whose industry insights are unrivaled, with her advice and guidance always being best practice, practical and grounded industry experience”

    • Stephen MacLiver –  National Director of Aged Care, The Salvation Army Aged Care

Claire Ward

Aged Services, Compliance Remediation & Consumer Experience Specialist

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