Often when we use words like “generational divide,” what instantly comes to mind is actually more of a reference to a “generational gap.” This gap refers typically to a difference in opinions between one generation and another, often a reflection of a person’s age and/or the situation of the world at the time that generation was growing up. An easy example might include the beliefs, politics or values of those who grew up during the depression era, or who lived through a world war, vs. those who came of age in the 1960’s. While we agree with the definition of a generation gap, at Amintro, we’re actually referring to something distinctly different when we talk about the generational “divide.” It isn’t just about a gap in terms of age but rather, how those of us who are 50+ are required to navigate squarely through a generational divide that requires us to divide our time between two distinct generations of family who need us. Talk about multi-tasking!
Multi-tasking our way through the generational divide is challenging, time-consuming and while it’s sometimes rewarding, more often than not it leaves us feeling overwhelmed. At Amintro, we’re here to support you through the process, acting if you will, as your Peer Support Network, much like Amintro acts as a support network for your parents and grandparents in making new friends and living life well. We know that navigating this generational divide demands a significant amount of your time and attention. You might still be taking your teens to and from sporting events, after-school activities and part time jobs, while also taking Mom to a doctor’s appointment, or helping to temporarily relocate Dad to a rehab facility after a bad fall and hip surgery. You are battling the demands of a full time job and whether you are married or a single parent, statistics tell us that the majority of the burden of care falls on women. At Amintro – “We See You!” Your work is not going unnoticed. At one time, employers and even each of us as individuals valued multi-tasking as a skill set but the truth is, it’s a lot of hard work and can be exhausting. You need help and you need to know it is ok to ask for it.
Perhaps this is something you’re occasionally feeling when you have conversations with your parents, or perhaps even your own children. Sometimes not having the same lived experiences can lead to challenging confrontations with loved ones, a situation made even worse by what we’re calling the “generational divide.” At Amintro, we’re not simply talking about gaps in age or opinion but rather, how YOU, as the child of an older adult and the parent of teens or young adults, might be trying to multi-task your way through this generational divide; one where the loved ones at both ends of the spectrum need ongoing assistance, advice, and support in order to navigate their way through life.
How Can Amintro Help?
We’ll be talking a lot about the role of a caregiver, of the adult child assuming more and more responsibility for the parent and the significant challenges you face in trying to “be everything to everyone,” over the coming months. With tips and tools geared specifically to addressing the generational divide we’ll help you navigate the ups and downs of mid-life, not as in “mid-life crisis” but in a “we’ve got your back” kind of way, because we do!
- The first and most important question is this. Have you told your parents about Amintro? Seriously, Amintro is their source for connecting with other like-minded older adults to make new friends, engage in activities of shared interest and to meet for coffee, travel together or conquer those bucket list adventures with new friends they’ve made the Amintro way.
- Amintro takes some of the burden of caregiving aways from you as it allows and encourages your parents, and even your grandparents, to find new ways to fill their time and new friends to do that with.
- Amintro offers all kinds of tips, tools and advice to those who are 50+ and exploring new ways to live healthy, active and fulfilled lifestyles with everything from financial and health advice, to travel tips, healthy eating and more.
- Amintro, together with its industry partners offer webinars on a variety of fun and interesting topics of interest to older adults and everything that Amintro does is FREE! No strings attached, simply a free platform for older adults to get, and stay, engAGED!
What does all of this have to do with multi-tasking?
Well, to begin with, if your parents are out there finding support and friendships with like-minded older adults, it might mean one less phone call to you for advice! It could result in one less trip to the grocery store if Mom or Dad has a new friend to either drive with or accompany them. It may even help the older adult in your life to change their perspective on aging – embracing opportunities rather than simply giving in to decline.
If you still need some ideas on effective multi-tasking however (we haven’t even begun to touch on the younger adults in your life and their needs!) here are some important things for you to remember:
- Multi-tasking isn’t actually about doing everything all at once. Rather, it is effectively managing multiple responsibilities at once by focusing on one task while tracking the others. You may occasionally have to switch roles quickly but with good time-management and tracking techniques you will know where every piece of the puzzle is at any given time and be able to effectively pick up and place that puzzle piece appropriately – even while tracking the progress of the entire puzzle’s picture.
- To accomplish this, you’ll need to make lists AND more importantly, to prioritize them. If you know the kids need to be at soccer practice on a Tuesday night at 6pm and a pick up from band practice Thursday at 4pm, your calendar will be managed more efficiently by placing those items in priority order for those days and scheduling Mom or Dad’s appointments at another time.
- Planning and prioritizing allow you to also plan for alternatives, like having a friend or neighbor bring the kids home one night a week so you can take a prepared meal to your loved one.
- Setting goals for yourself and for family isn’t just about what you would LIKE to achieve but also about what is REALISTIC. You cannot do everything for everyone and you need to accept that! You’re human. Determine what matters most to you and build a realistic and manageable schedule around only those priorities.
- By the way – when goal setting and prioritizing, never, ever underestimate the time it will take to complete something! A sure-fire way to fail is to assume a task will only take an hour when in reality it will take longer. Scheduling a doctor’s appointment? Always work backwards from the premise the provider might be behind schedule, traffic could be snarled or a slow-moving train puts you behind schedule. Allocating extra time up front means less rushing for you, fewer emotions running on high, and less exhaustion (perceived or otherwise) from always “being on the run.”
- Finally, our most important advice of all is to be sure all that scheduling you are doing includes scheduled breaks for you. Even your parents will agree that making yourself a priority helps to prevent burn out and if you end up burning out, you are no good to anyone, even yourself.
When it comes to multi-tasking and navigating your way through the generational divide there is so much more to explore. Keep an eye out here for more topics related to helping you help the older adults in your life. Consider our invitation to you that Amintro acts as your very own peer support network helping guide you through all the good, and the occasionally challenging, ups and downs of managing the generational divide! We’ve got your back and we’ve got the backs of your senior loved ones too! As for the teens and young adults – once we figure out what “SMH” and “BTW” means – we’ll help you there too!