5 Effective Strategies to Alleviate Sandwich Generation Stress During the Summer Break

Smiling multigenerational family shares a meal together.

According to Pew Research Center, 54% of Americans in their 40s have a living parent age 65 or older and are either raising a child younger than 18 or have an adult child they are helping financially, making them part of the sandwich generation. USA Today reports sandwich generation caregivers provide 28 hours of weekly care to their kids and another 22 hours of tending to senior family members. These hours become longer during the summer, as many caregivers have children of their own home for summer break.

Summer break can be a double-edged sword for many sandwich generation caregivers. On one hand, it’s a wonderful time to create lasting memories with your children; on the other hand, it brings the added challenge of balancing their care with that of your older loved ones. 

During this challenging period, managing Sandwich Generation stress can be effectively done with thoughtful planning and self-care. Here are five strategies to guide you through the summer season as a caregiver for both children and seniors.

Create a Flexible Schedule

One of the keys to managing multiple responsibilities is to have a schedule that accommodates everyone’s needs without being too rigid. Here are some ways to create a flexible schedule:

  • Daily Routines – Establish routines for both your children and older loved ones. This helps create a sense of predictability and security for everyone.
  • Time Blocks – Allocate specific times for different activities such as meals, playtime and caregiving tasks. This can help ensure that all essential tasks are covered without you feeling overwhelmed.
  • Involve the Kids – When appropriate, involve your children in caregiving tasks. This can be a bonding experience and can teach them valuable life skills and empathy for their older loved ones.

Prioritize Self-Care

It’s easy to overlook your own needs when you’re busy caring for others, but self-care is crucial for maintaining your physical and mental health. 

  • Daily Breaks – Take short breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge. Even a few minutes of deep breathing or a quick walk can make a big difference.
  • Practice Healthy Habits – Eat well, stay hydrated, and get enough sleep. Regular exercise can also help reduce stress.
  • Mental Health – Practice mindfulness or meditation, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Many online resources and apps can provide guided meditation and relaxation techniques.

Engage in Outdoor Activities

Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of the great outdoors, which can benefit you and your loved ones. Fresh air and physical activity can boost everyone’s mood and health.

  • Family Outings – Plan family outings to parks, beaches, or nature trails. These outings provide a change of scenery and can be enjoyable for all ages.
  • Outdoor Games – Organize simple outdoor games that everyone can participate in. Make sure you accommodate any physical limitations your older loved ones may have.

Seek Respite Care

Don’t hesitate to seek respite care to give yourself a break. Respite care provides temporary relief for family caregivers, allowing you to rest and rejuvenate while your loved one still receives professional-level care. Here’s how to find and use respite care effectively:

  • Local Resources – Check with local caregiving organizations, senior centers, and community groups for respite care services. Many offer affordable options or even volunteer programs.
  • Professional Services – Consider hiring professional caregivers who can come to your home or provide care at a facility. This can be for a few hours, a day, or even a weekend.
  • Ask Family and Friends – Caregiving is an all-hands-on-deck process. Don’t hesitate to ask family members or friends for their help. They might be willing to assist with caregiving duties or look after the kids for a few hours.

Stay Connected and Seek Support

Being a caregiver can sometimes feel isolating, but staying connected with others can provide much-needed emotional support and practical advice. Here are some ways to stay connected:

  • Support Groups – Join caregiver support groups, either in person or online. These groups can offer valuable insights, resources and emotional support from those who understand your challenges.
  • Social Networks – Stay in touch with friends and family through social media, phone calls or video chats. Regular interaction with loved ones can provide a sense of normalcy and connection.
  • Community Resources – Use community resources such as daycare programs for older adults, summer camps for kids, or family activities organized by local organizations.

Juggling the responsibilities of Sandwich Generation caregiving during the summer can be daunting, but with strategic planning and prioritizing self-care, you can navigate it successfully. Keep in mind, self-care isn’t a luxury—it’s a crucial requirement that empowers you to deliver optimal care for your family members.


For more information on how to navigate being a sandwich generation caregiver, please read our Family Caregiver Ultimate Guide, or call (877) 432-2692.

SYNERGY HomeCare offers no obligation home assessments. Find a location near you or contact us.

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