This topic has been on our minds for a while, so we were thrilled when Bruce Sallan of the #DadChat Twitter chat — the chat for anyone who is a parent or was a child — asked Barry to co-host to discuss the Triple Decker Sandwich Generation. Here is a VERY brief summary of the discussion…
A fantastic group of people came together on #DadChat to share tales of life in the Triple Decker Sandwich Generation. Huge thanks to host Bruce Sallan for inviting Barry to co-host and drawing such a crowd — not to mention sharing his own story and helping everyone else feel comfortable in doing the same.
Rather than tell you what everyone had to say, we thought we would share some of the highlights in each person’s own words. We can only share a small fraction of what was said, but this will give you a sense for what a great hour it was. So many people shared so much, which was especially challenging in the 140 character limitation of Twitter.
@BruceSallan @BarryBirkett, you’ve stated that too often we, in the middle of the sandwich, neglect ourselves. Elaborate? #DadChat
@BarryBirkett So many focus so much on caring for kids & for parents/grandparents they don’t leave any time to take care of their own needs. #DadChat
@LovelyLu I’ve now joined the group that officially worries about taking care of her parent #Dadchat
@BarryBirkett It may seem selfless to ignore your own needs to focus on others but over time it impacts your ability to care for them, too. #DadChat
@BruceSallan My parents are both gone. I was alone in dealing with their multi-year decline. It was NOT easy. #DadChat
@squirleywrath @barrybirkett I agree Barry. When I don’t take time to relax I get testy, and that can affect how I interact with the family #dadchat
@BarryBirkett So many of us let stress build, ignore our own relationships & don’t allow selves breaks in caring for loved ones. It wears us down#DadChat
@BruceSallan @BarryBirkett – I think those breaks in taking care of our elderly parents are ESSENTIAL #DadChat
@harryLfunk RT @BarryBirkett: @lovelylu It is so hard to know when we are helping them or not, we just want to make it easier for them.#DadChat
@LovelyLu I’m taking care of both now kids and parent @SteveCassady @BruceSallan @BarryBirkett #Dadchat
@ManvDadhood @Sonya_LeanOnUs @brucesallan So… What ARE we talking about? Sandwiches?? #Dadchat
@Sonya_LeanOnUs RT @BruceSallan: @ManvDadhood – Yes, with us as the meat – taking care of our parents and our kids and neglecting ourselves#DadChat
@lukerushly @brucesallan @BarryBirkett My wife’s uncle had a building w/ multiple flats where all the fam lived together but separate.#DadChat
@BruceSallan @LovelyLu – as much as my parents and I loved one another, it was NEVER an option for them to live with us…too much noise!#DadChat
@theflaggagency @BruceSallan I started waking up 45 minutes earlier since the first of the year specifically to have time for myself! #DadChat
@BarryBirkett Caregiver needs to realize it’s in interest of all & force self to do things for self. Fun, interaction with others, hobbies. #DadChat
@BarryBirkett With family caregivers we suggest that other family members offer to fill gap from time to time to let caregiver get away to refuel#DadChat
@squirleywrath @brucesallan Schedule time for yourself. plan to have coverage if you need it, but commit to it. #dadchat
@LovelyLu It’s hard when you are worrying about them and they live far away. I’m in NY, mom is in FL #Dadchat
@BarryBirkett @saskadad So many live far away today. We make an effort to find things people can do to help & give care from distance. #DadChat
@lukerushly I agree“@ManvDadhood: I like the way every culture outside America does it! The whole family is a unit and cares for one another.
@BruceSallan @harryLfunk – at least get the legal stuff in order and the medical forms!!! #DadChat
@lukerushly Our ‘rents still in good health, but we recently laid out end of life decisions like funeral arrngmnts, DNRs, etc. Hard but good.#DadChat
@BarryBirkett @harrylfunk Many parents grew up taught that finances were not things discussed with kids. Rough talk for some but protects them.#DadChat
@LovelyLu Or find respite help if you can’t RT @BruceSallan: Hire caregiver to give you a break if YOU are the sole one if you can afford it!#Dadchat
@squirleywrath @brucesallan hadn’t thought about sibs in making it easier. When fams had 7-10 kids, taking care of parents must have been easier#dadchat
@SaskaDad @BarryBirkett we try to video chat and have a family page on Facebook. #dadchat
@LovelyLu Nice to know we’re not alone though! I haven’t talked to anyone about this RT @azmomofmanyhats: Ugh this is a tough topic tonight! #Dadchat
@squirleywrath @barrybirkett This is good to talk about, to get out in the open and deal with, rather than thinking about it spinning in our heads#dadchat
We want to thank all of these folks and the many more who joined in the discussion — and especially Bruce for suggesting the topic and encouraging such a personal but fulfilling chat!
The response from these folks and so many more of you to this topic is gratifying. We plan on providing more information and opportunities for discussion in the future.