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How to Ask for Help During the COVID-19 Pandemic as a Sandwich Generation Caregiver

Are you 30 to 40 years old? Are you a parent of young children? Are you also caring for an aging parent or grandparent? If so, you are officially part of the Sandwich Generation. More specifically, you belong to a subset of that group sometimes called the Club Sandwich Generation.

The stress on family caregivers in your situation is well documented. Experts say self-care is key to alleviating that stress. They also say an important aspect of self-care is asking for help when necessary. Yet the fact remains, less than half of all family caregivers seek or ask for help.

Now, in the middle of a global pandemic, you may be feeling more stressed than ever. That makes asking for help even more important. For example, you may need help looking after your kids while schools are closed or getting groceries safely. Let us share a few tips for communicating your needs effectively.

1. Recognizing and overcoming obstacles. If you have been reluctant to ask for help, understanding the real reasons for your hesitation may make it easier to do so. This often stems from:

  • Fear of how your request will be perceived by other family members

  • Not wanting to relinquish control

  • Guilt

Given the current situation, you may also be concerned about your children’s health. In particular, you may be concerned about someone who is carrying or has been exposed to COVID-19 looking after your kids. These concerns are especially warranted when children have chronic underlying health conditions. Otherwise, they say children have been able to fend off the virus with few complications.

2. Asking for help without alienating others. Once you are ready to ask for help, the next step is figuring out how to do it. This may be a significant concern if you are concerned about alienating friends or family. If so, you may want to try the following:

  • Framing the question in a specific, rather than vague manner. Ask if the person is willing to help you look after your young children. If so, ask about their availability on certain days and times, depending on your needs

  • Having more than one conversation if necessary

  • Approaching the conversation without expectations and be willing to take “no” as an answer without bitterness or resentment

  • Exploring different options, such as asking a friend, neighbor, someone from church or your children’s school.

The bottom line is that you will never get the help you need unless you are willing to ask for and accept it. With that in mind, we want to remind you that we are available to answer any legal questions or address any concerns you may have. You can contact us through our website, by email or phone to schedule a consultation.

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