support for the sandwich generation

Are you the meat in the sandwich – for those caught in the middle

support for the sandwich generation
Support is available while you are the meat in the sandwich between children and aging parents

Have you heard of the ‘sandwich generation’? Are you the meat in the middle – still finishing the child raising and caring for aging parents? This sandwich generation is now different than it has ever been before. It is the older Generation X and the younger Boomer generation now in this position. This means this sandwich generation has more dual career couples, more divorces, and generally more independent people juggling the younger and older generations.

Certainly you are blessed when you have children who are nearly or newly on their own AND you still have your parents. So many of us miss that opportunity.

If you do have this opportunity, it can be very challenging. Typically there are several other things happening around the same time.

Other changes while you’re the meat in the sandwich

The sandwich phase usually comes while in your late 40’s through your 60’s. During this time some other commonalities are:

  • You’re at the peak of your career
  • Friendships/relationships are no longer made through your children’s activities
  • Your own health is changing
  • If you’re a woman, you’re somewhere near menopause which brings its own health changes
  • You’re thinking about your ‘bucket list’

Tips for you to be the best ‘meat’ possible

It is so easy to get caught up in the needs of your parents and children and to forget about you in the process. If you fall ill, get injured, or burn out, then everyone loses. I don’t mean to add to your pressure. I just want to encourage you to take care of yourself as the caregiver.

  • Sleep to maintain clear thinking and patience
  • Exercise to stay healthy and stay strong
  • Healthy diet with fruits and vegetables vs grab-n-go fast food
  • Time off to maintain your mental health

Resources to help you

There are many resources available to help you as you help your aging parents. With the aging of the population, the numbers and types of resources are rapidly increasing.

Medications are often involved when someone reaches a point where they have difficulty living without assistance. That is our specialty at Meds MASH. Over 80% of people we see have a specific medication issue that we work with you doctor to address to help you stay safe at home. For 100% of all people we have seen, we have provided important education about medicines and how to get the most from healthcare visits.

There are several types of services that can assist with safely aging at home or in a place designed for safe aging. There are homecare services that can provide someone to help with tasks such as companionship, housekeeping, bathing, cooking, driving, and more. There are independent living communities with assisted living options when needed. There are assisted living facilities at many sizes, price ranges, and amenities.

If your parents’ home would be safer with some modifications, look for a contracting that is a certified aging in place specialist. You can learn more at http://www.nahb.org/en/learn/designations/certified-aging-in-place-specialist.aspx

A certified aging life care manager is an expert on your local resources that can assist with healthy aging. I think of these people as one-stop-shopping for many of your questions and needs. You can learn more at http://www.aginglifecare.org.

Legal and financial questions can be complex. These are elements that are easiest to address while your parents are still fully in command of their own finances. That is a good time to plan for the future in case you, your siblings or other friends/family will assume control of those key areas of your parent’s life. Decisions about advanced directives, power of attorney, and memorial wishes are easiest to make while your parents are fully able to make their own decisions. However, even if you miss that window, these resources (elder care attorney and financial advisor) can help guide you through each step. Here is a resource that can help you find an eldercare lawyer http://www.naela.org/findlawyer.

This is a very brief overview of the many resources that exist to help you and your parents navigate this sandwich time of life. We are glad to help you navigate this complex time and to identify these helpful resources. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 410-472-5078 or www.medsmash.com/contact.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

This blog has acknowledged how difficult and consuming this time of life can be – in the phase of supporting children and aging parents. Resources and tips for self-care have been provided.

Another essential aspect for all of the complex phases of life is an awareness of the sufficiency of God.

2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

As in this verse, Paul is very clear that he was weak and unable to do what God called him to do. But, God was more than sufficient to get Paul through the many struggles, the imprisonment, the rejection, and the difficult travel.

To further understand that verse, let’s put it in perspective. Paul describes a health problem he had that he asked God to remove. Here is the response:

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 ESV

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Paul further encourages us that Christ can sustain us through all of the highs and lows.

Philippians 4:12-13 ESV

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

We try and try to do it all ourselves. And, have you noticed how that doesn’t work?

2 Corinthians 3:4-5 ESV

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,

So, as you work through this complex time as the meat in the sandwich, remember the source of your strength. No, you can’t do it alone. So remember, you are NEVER in this alone.

Psalm 73:23 ESV

Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.

Blessings,

Michelle

Image source: <a href=”http://cliparts.co”>Clip arts</a>

Advertisements
Numbers for health

Optimal Operating Conditions – Live your Healthiest Life

Numbers for health
Know your optimal operating conditions

What are your optimal operating conditions? How often do you change the oil in your car? How warm/cool do you keep your home? How often do you change your furnace filter? When do you change your car’s tires?

I find we tend to be more aware of these guidelines for our cars and homes than we do for our bodies. Perhaps it is more clearly communicated how to care for your car or your home.

Most people find a temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit to be comfortable. Your car’s tires were designed to perform best when driving at the speed limit. You car’s oil is designed to lubricate the moving parts of your engine for 3500 miles (up to 7-10,000 if synthetic).

Our bodies have been designed to operate BEST within certain parameters. Do you know the numbers that will help keep you most healthy? Here are a few.

Your Best Numbers for your Heart

Why are your blood pressure and pulse checked every visit to your doctor? It is because there is an optimal range to help your heart stay in top performance.

Pulse 60-90 bests per minute

Blood pressure under 140/90 without being dizzy

When your heart beats in this range, it is able to fill with the right amount of blood with each beat. It can also send out to the body the right amount of blood with each pump. If your heart pumps too slowly, there might not be enough blood per pump to get enough to all of the other parts of the body. Similarly, when the heart pumps too fast, each squirt is just a small amount of blood rather than a full load. Those small quick squirts don’t get enough blood throughout the body where it is needed.

When your blood pressure is too high, it makes your heart work extra hard. Think about a body builder gradually increasing his muscle mass. If he tries to lift too much weight all of a sudden without working up to that weight, he is likely to hurt himself. He could even rip or harm a muscle to the point his weight lifting days are over. When your blood pressure shoots up quickly or it stays high over time, you move from a strong heart muscle to an injured heart muscle. A heart attack is destruction of part of the muscle wall. Once part of the heart is no longer working correctly, the rest of heart has trouble doing its work. It has to compensate for the wounded part.

Your Best Numbers for your Sugar

At least yearly during your physical, your doctor checks your blood sugar. Sugar (technical term glucose) is essential ‘food’ for your cells. Now, sugar doesn’t just come from eating sugary, sweet food. It is the result of your body breaking down other foods into usable cell ‘food’. There are a lot of other ways the body stores, releases, and breaks down sugar. Also, insulin is what helps that sugar ‘food’ get into the cell. Your body works best when your sugar is in the optimal range, and you have the right amount of insulin to keep it in that range.

Blood glucose 60-110 mg/dL if you do not have diabetes. (Your goal might be a bit higher if you have diabetes – talk with your doctor).

A1c (glycosylated hemoglobin – this gives an indication of your blood sugar over the last 90 days)

4-5.6% if you do not have diabetes

5.7-6.4% your doctor will talk with you about ways to make changes with your diet and exercise to avoid diabetes

less than 6.5% goal for well-controlled diabetes

just over 6.5% for some people with diabetes

– your doctor will help decide your best goal

When your blood sugar is too low, you get dizzy, shaky, sick to your stomach, you sweat, and it is hard to think clearly. When your blood sugar is too high, it causes damage throughout your body. Uncontrolled blood sugar can lead to poor kidney function, blindness, and loss of feeling in your hands and feet and other parts of your body. Also, type 2 diabetes is linked with high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and being overweight.

Your Best numbers for your Weight

Your weight is also checked with nearly all doctor visits. Extra weight is hard on a lot of parts of your body. It creates more work for your hips, your knees, your ankles, and your feet. You are more likely to have diabetes. There are more cells to feed, beyond what your body was intended to feed. Your risk of heart attack and stroke go up. Your risk of falls goes up.

Your ideal weight is linked with your height. There are two best ways to determine if your weight is in a healthy range. One deals with your total weight. The other pertains to where you carry your extra weight.

Body Mass Index (BMI) – you can calculate your BMI here. It is based on your height.

Your BMI should be between 18.5 and 24.9

Waist Circumference – see this link to learn how to measure your waist circumference.

Women should be less than 35 inches

Men should be less than 40 inches

Can you live with numbers that are outside the normal range? Yes, you can. There will be consequences, though. When we live outside of the optimal range, systems don’t function as efficiently. They don’t operate like they were designed to operate.

Note, medications can help with these numbers. And, in all of these circumstances, our daily choices are also important to maintain optimal operating conditions. What we eat, how much we sit, how we exercise, and how we control our stress are also important in staying in these goal ranges. So, you have a lot of ability to help control your numbers!

Please contact us at Meds MASH to learn more about how to stay in your optimal operating conditions! You can reach us at 410-472-5078 or www.medsmash.com/contact.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Our body will function best when it can operate at optimal numbers. God designed our bodies and these healthy parameters. God has given us optimal operating guidelines for our spiritual life, too.

This struck me hard this week while I was reading Numbers. [I’ll admit, I don’t love reading some of the Bible chapters like Numbers. They can be dry and tedious. I have accepted the challenge of reading the Bible in a year. I highly encourage you to do this. You can start any time. So many insights jump out each time.]

While reading Numbers it hit me how God REPEATEDLY told the Israelites exactly what He was going to do and what He wanted them to do. He guided them with when to move, when to stay, and where to go. He provided the food while they were in the desert with few food sources. He explained before they reached each place who they would conquer and how He would make that happen.

If they had just listened, things would have been so much easier for them. That time in the desert could have been focused on worship and praise and relaxation waiting for all the wonderful things that they were promised.

Instead, they were impatient, untrusting, and impressionable. They were easily pulled away from God’s message and onto the opinions, concerns, or temptations presented by other people.

[If you’re a Veggie Tales fan, remember the peas in Josh and the Big Wall? They said, ‘silly children’ when addressing the children of God.] Silly children!

Numbers 14:11 ESV

And the Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them?

We sit here and read about their mistakes and wonder how they could have been so dense. Through Moses, God spelled out what they needed to do in great detail. It was very clear. What were they thinking?

Then, I remember my own thoughts, actions, impatience, lack of trust, and how gullible I can be. Who am I to judge? Because Jesus died for us and removed the rules of the Hebrew Bible, our access to God is so much easier! We really have no excuse.

Galatians 3:13 ESV

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—

We don’t have to obey the tedious rules and sacrifices of the Hebrew people. Christ removed all of those rules and barriers between God and us. You have a straight link to the creator of the universe through Christ. Day by day, minute-by-minute God will guide you if you just ask.

I’ve mentioned before, my day is entirely different, less stressful, more productive, and more peaceful when I give it all to Christ. So, you’d think I would do that every day. Duh! If I give it to Christ it is an incredible day. If I get into a rush, too busy, too much too do, no time to slow down, then the whole day stays rushed and stressful.

John 16:33 ESV

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

I encourage you to consider this week how God is calling you to live. How does your ready access and potential relationship with Him change everything? If you look in the Bible, we are given the exact recipe for a life of peace and love. It’s our own decisions, impatience, lack of trust, and distractibility that takes us off that path.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 ESV

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

Blessings,

Michelle

Image source: Medline Plus, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

We need to be needed

We NEED to be NEEDED to maintain our HEALTH

We need to be needed
We all need to be needed even if it is to care for an African Violet

Have you ever thought about the link between being needed and health? As I’m thinking about it, that link could probably go both ways. I am wanting to tell you about the health benefits of being needed. But, I’m sure you could make a case that being overworked in constant demand can have negative health implications.

Think of a woman you know who went from caring for children and her husband to now being in an empty house with infrequent visits from children.

Think of a man or woman who worked in a very demanding job with a lot of responsibility who has now retired.

Often, we dream of the day everyone is raised and on their own. We dream of the day we reach the point of retirement.

Then, when that day comes you find yourself lonely. It is not as exciting as you expected. Reading books and relaxing can get boring.

Aging joints, accidents, and new medical conditions can create changes to retirement plans. Loss of a spouse can create changes to retirement plans. Children with jobs that take them away can create changes to retirement plans.

Social isolation

Social isolation is a real hazard to your health. Social isolation is when you don’t feel like your belong, don’t have much interaction with other people, don’t have people to call to get out and do something, and no/few close personal friends.

Social isolation can be bad for your health when it leads to drinking, being less active, or eating less healthy meals. It can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia, or depression.

We all Need to be Needed

A very innovative program was launched in the early 1990’s called Eden Alternative. They call their method, ‘person-directed care’. When I first heard about it in the 1990’s a very clear picture was left in my mind. A senior living facility had enhanced their environment by bringing in a cat, a dog, birds, a garden on the lawn, indoor plants, and a baby chick. There was a woman who wanted to spend all of her time in her wheelchair. The physical therapists were trying all they could think of to encourage her to walk and get stronger. She refused. Then she saw the baby chick. She did not want it to be eaten by the cat, so she put the chick in her wheelchair and pushed it. That chick, of course, became a chicken that continued to get first-class rides in the wheelchair.

Even people who were extremely incapacitated were given ‘jobs’. Even if it was caring for an African Violet. Some planted and worked in the garden. Some fed and cared for the birds. Some brushed the dog. Residents could sign up for the responsibilities that met their interests and abilities.

It was impressive how depression, anxiety, and pain were so much better with these changes. Since that time, the Eden Alternative has grown and spread and documented even more inspiring outcomes.

New Ideas to Decrease Isolation

I know many people who live in areas where they don’t feel safe getting out to walk. Some no long feel safe driving. Some don’t have the desire to get out and about without a partner.

So, some really smart minds have been working on ways to keep all of the health benefits of interacting with other people. Here are some of the creative options:

Virtual senior center. Using technology, you can take art classes, chat with others, participate in yoga or tai chi, and other activities. There are a lot of ways to keep in touch with family, read to someone, discuss topics, and support each other with technology.

Concierge driver options. Uber and other driving services are starting to offer unique options to take the stress out of getting out. There are groups working on strategies to provide more helpful driving service for people with walking aids, ways to coordinate outings such as restaurant or art gallery trips, and ways to make driving services more easy to coordinate.

This is only a very quick overview of the importance of interaction with other people, the dangers of isolation, and some of the many new ideas being developed. Stay tuned; I think we will all be amazed at what is to come.

For more information about the need to be needed and the dangers of isolation, or for updates on the amazing new advances we are hearing about, please contact us at www.medsmash.com or 410-472-5078. We’d love to tell you more!

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

We just discussed how our continued health needs us to stay active and engaged after retirement. Becoming alone is hazardous in many ways. We need each other. We never lose our need for purpose and fellowship.

And, we all have a purpose. We get so caught up in our daily details. We get so discouraged by our limitations, frailties, our weaknesses.

But, we are here for so much more! I’ve always heard this life is just a short, short preamble to a life of eternity in the presence of Christ! Can you even fathom that? I try then find it is so hard to begin to grasp!

We are assured of this truth numerous times in the Bible.

John 3:16 ESV

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

John 5:24 ESV

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

Romans 10:13 ESV

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

And while we are here in this life, we aren’t asked to sit around and twiddle our thumbs. We have a purpose!

Romans 8:28 ESV

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Sometimes we wonder what that purpose might be. In my experience to date, the purpose can even change over time. Things happen that seem strange and nonsensical, then suddenly, it turns into something only God could have planned.

I do my best to not make my own plans but rather stay open to what God has planned. That’s not meant to be pious. I have learned through a lot of changes, huge mistakes, and amazing teachers that my life is more fulfilling when I’m doing what God is calling me to do. It’s become a really wild ride, but I wouldn’t miss it. In the darkest times I need to remember that God can turn it all into his purpose and his plan.

Proverbs 16:9 ESV

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

I’m praying you find comfort in the promise of eternal life when God is Lord of your life. And, I pray you are asking Him for your purpose and blindly trusting Him to lead you on your personal adventure until He calls you to eternal life!

Blessings,

Michelle