Millions Of Women Among 'Sandwich Generation'

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More women are becoming caregivers to family members both young and old.

Known as the "sandwich generation," there are millions of women who are caring for aging parents while raising a family, 10TV's Andrea Cambern reported on Wednesday.

"I have three young children, (ages) 5, 3, and 21 months," said Erin Milton. "And in November I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  In December I had surgery and then I've had chemo ever since."

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Milton's mother has Alzheimer's disease, Cambern reported.

She visits her daily to give her dad some relief from the constant care.

"Her needs are kind if like my three children's needs, in we need get her lunch and we need to make sure that she's fed, otherwise she won't eat herself," Milton said.

Worthington author and national speaker Barbara McVicker said Milton is a member of a growing group known as the "sandwich generation."

Nearly 75 million women are caring for both children and parents.

"They're facing huge problems, everything from the emotional aspects to conflicts within families, the financial burden, and then just trying to keep all the plates in the air," McVicker said.

She writes from her own experience. After work, she would stop at her parents' home.

"Lay out their meds, cook their meals, mow the lawn," McVicker said. "Hop back in the car, drive to our house, cook another dinner, get everybody ready for soccer, go cheer my kids on."

She says it is critical that caregivers get rest, exercise, time alone and that they ask for help.

"Set boundaries. Delegate," McVicker said. "Maybe even hire out. Only do the things that you have to do."

Milton relies on her husband's help at night, but days are stressful, and memories of a wonderful mother are bittersweet.

"So it was really sad to know that she wasn't going to be the mom that we knew growing up," Milton said.

McVicker offers tips for members of the sandwich generation:
Caregivers should assess their parents; health and safety; hold a family meeting to discuss it; and make a list of important documents.

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