Sandwiched Series: Caring for the Sandwiched Generation

We often think about child-rearing and caregiving for an older adult as separate responsibilities that occur in different seasons of life. However, across the nation, approximately 11 million “Sandwich Generation” caregivers simultaneously attend to the needs of their children and an aging loved one while balancing a career, household, and their own health. What happens when working adults must negotiate the demands of intergenerational care within their households? COVID-19 has only intensified the struggles associated with this unenviable position. Sandwich Generation caregivers may feel even more squeezed during the pandemic and unsure of how to manage their own survival.

“Sandwiched” is a series that addresses the specific challenges “Sandwich Generation” caregivers face. Del Oro Caregiver Resource Center has teamed up with Certified Child Life Specialist Shani Thornton, MS to facilitate these FREE workshops.

Learn how to:

  • Engage in self-care

  • Foster healthy attachments at home

  • Ease children’s fear and anxiety related to COVID-19

  • Help children understand the disease progression of a sick or disabled loved one

  • Find support and develop coping strategies in a new world of social distancing

Each week you will have access to tip videos with content related to building new skills as a parent and caregiver. Following the release of the videos, Ms. Thornton will facilitate a specialized support group where you can discuss the week’s topic and connect with peers in similar situations. You can opt to participate in some or all of the sessions, depending on your needs.

Register Here Today 

Session 1: Caring for the Sandwiched Generation Caregiver, 11/12/20

Session 2: Helping Kids Cope: Toddlers/Preschoolers, 11/19/20

Session 3: Helping Kids Cope: School-Aged Children, 12/3/20

Session 4: Helping Kids Cope: Adolescents, 12/10/20

Using Art to Support Children Coping with Illness

Guest Blogger, Caroline Robins at Kids & Art

Kids & Art Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides art experiences for families touched by pediatric cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, to heal, empower, encourage, and create memorable experiences.

Due to COVID, our weekly hospital programs at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and Stanford Children’s Hospital were put on hold in March 2020 as were our monthly destination workshops at creative venues. We took our 10 years of experience and our creative resources to be there for our families when they needed us most by creating virtual art workshops as well as amazing art lessons on youtube, to continue healing through the arts. Life was challenging enough for immunocompromised children before COVID. It is even more important to give them access to our workshops now so they can engage, connect, and create with others.

Check out our video about our COVID Response

As our Kids & Art researcher Dawn Linhardt has shared, research has shown that supportive services and therapies such as Kids & Art have been shown to affect stress as demonstrated through decreases in cortisol levels. These interventions are low cost and based on the research have the potential to decrease rates of readmission due to secondary infections.

Stress-relieving interventions such as art are becoming the standard in cancer care within integrative medicine. Preliminary evaluation of data from a study that includes Kids & Art families indicates that the physical symptoms and isolation associated with cancer treatment has a negative effect on the quality of life. We believe that supporting services like ours have the potential to alleviate stress and address the issues of isolation and ultimately improve the quality of life measurements.

Kids & Art is staying true to our mission to always be there for families wherever they are in their treatment. We are delighted to welcome patient families from other states including Alaska, Maryland, Michigan, and Florida as well as our home state of California. Visit our website for more details and a link to register.

What do our workshops include? Along with guided art projects we also include virtual tours of artists’ studios and galleries and invited guest artists. The workshops provide a space for creativity, fun, and stress relief and they bring a sense of togetherness for all ages in a supportive environment.

We have also started a larger Conversation in Improving the Quality of Care by inviting experts from the Art + Health + Innovation space. We have made all these conversations available for free on our YouTube playlist.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

Related Articles

Bringing Play to Chronically Ill Children During a Pandemic 

Supporting Children and Teens During COVID-19

Bringing Play to Chronically Ill Children During a Pandemic

In early March, we were clearly not preprepared for the sideswipe that COVID-19 brought. The unexpected virus created havoc in our communities, hospitals, and homes. As a child life specialist working in private practice, I had to halt my in-person sessions and pivot to a telehealth platform. Then quickly figure out how to create an interactive and therapeutic virtual environment that still followed the highest standards of safety and privacy.

Child life specialists working in hospitals also had similar challenges. Playrooms were closed, strict restrictions on visitations were in place, and patients were isolated in their rooms. It was awful.

Project Sunshine is a nonprofit based out of New York City.  Their mission is to “harness the power of play to support the psychosocial and developmental needs of children and their families as they face medical challenges.” They quickly saw the negative impact that COVID-19 was having on our most vulnerable and decided to pivot their efforts to better support them.

They licensed a healthcare HIPAA compliant Zoom account and allowed many child life programs to use. They also created a TelePlay program for interactive group sessions that are FREE and available to children and teens.

I have had the opportunity to use both. The families I work with were thrilled to continue child life services during our shelter in place orders; creating, expressing, and staying connected during these challenging times.

Learn more about Project Sunshine’s TelePlay program in the guest post below.

Know a child who is hospitalized, or dealing with a medical challenge at home?  In the current environment of the pandemic, it can be overwhelming for children and their families, given the additional hurdles of isolation and social distancing. Dealing with a medical challenge makes things even more difficult. For over 20 years, Project Sunshine has brought play programming to pediatric patients in over 400 medical facilities across the United States.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play is one of the most effective methods of reducing stress in kids, allowing their bodies to heal. To continue to support children and families in innovative ways, Project Sunshine has developed a new virtual, safe TelePlay program that provides the healing power of play. Children can choose from a variety of live, interactive games, and activities facilitated by Project Sunshine’s highly trained and vetted volunteers. Games are created for children between the ages of 5-12 and 12-18. Join us for a wide variety of games, from Disney and animal trivia to Scattergories, hidden image, fishbowl, and more!

If you know of any child facing medical challenges in your community that would benefit from TelePlay, they are welcome to sign up for our programs – all they need is a device (a laptop, smartphone, or tablet). A full schedule of activities can be seen here. Patients can join from home and their siblings and caregivers are always welcome. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, all of Project Sunshine’s programs are free for patients.

For additional information please visit our website.

You can sign up for a TelePlay Session by going to the following link: bit.ly/TelePlaySessionSignUp. Or you can download our TelePlay Postcard

Related Articles:

COVID-19 Resource

Project Sunshine’s Holiday Toy Drive