Life as a 'sandwich carer': Life can... - Care Community

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Life as a 'sandwich carer'


Life can sometimes be difficult to manage for us all and becoming a carer can often bring new challenges in addition to those faced in everyday life. It's believed that as many as 2.4 million people are 'sandwich carers' - those who care for a disabled or mature loved one at the same time as having young children. Have you ever been in the situation where you've had to care for young children at the same time as caring for your parents or inlaws? If you have, we'd like to ask you to share your experiences - what advice would you give to someone in the same situation?

6 Replies

My role as a sandwich caregiver lasted only about 48 hours. For months, my mother-in-law complained that her abdominal pain was caused by my husband and I occasionally asking her to watch our young twins while we cared for the rest of our newly blended family of seven children. One day, I received a phone call from her husband saying that she was vomiting bile. My husband drove her directly to a hospital where surgery was performed the next day. The surgeon said her pain was caused by advanced inoperable uterine cancer. As my husband and I sat by his unconscious mother the next day, the surgeon came in and said, "You are watching a dead woman breathe with a machine. Go home to your children." We did. My advice is, if possible, make contingency plans for the temporary care of your young children in the event that you have to take responsibility for someone else.


I don't look after young children, I am a sandwich carer for my elderly mother and my husband. My best advice to anyone in this situation is to find a forum like this where you are free to express your true feelings, vent your anger, etc when you need to without fear of offending anyone and then other carers will help enormously with their sympathy and helpful suggestions.

Hello jaykay777 great to hear from you again. Thank you both for taking the time to share your thoughts, experiences and advice with us. Hidden it's wonderful to know that you find the forum such a helpful resource. Talking to people, expressing emotions and knowing that there is support is so important and it's great to know that you find that here.

This is a difficult one as my child is 11 with ADHD, my partner has chronic cluster headaches and I care for my mum who is 77 and has dementia and is Not very active. Up until January I have gone from full time work to part time work as it's hard to sustain employment when my partner or mum is not well. Either the demand of work mean it is difficult to sustain the 9-5, or I struggle with childcare and the school run or the employer can no longer support me taking time off. On the last occasion, I just stopped work as I had a period of I'll health and couldn't even manage part time work as it was too draining and my mum became ill again. There's too much to juggle and I fall foul of benefits either for my child or for my mum. I have pulled in the support of carers for my mum but have found consistent and reliable carers problematic. Getting support for children with special needs is also problematic and overall their is also a lot of change in education and social care which I struggle to keeep up with. I remain optimistic but know that this can not continue.

Hi Yvonne0161

Thank you for being so open to sharing your experiences with us. It’s clear that you have a lot going on with caring responsibilities at the moment, but it really comes across in the way you write that you’re extremely dedicated and hard working. If you ever need any further support or you’d just like to have a chat please don’t hesitate to come back to us. Our bookings team may be able to advise on the possibility of respite for your mother, you can contact them by calling 0303 303 0145 or emailing All the best from us all at Revitalise.

Dear Revitalise, It would be lovely to get respite but do you know of care homes in the Manchester area? By any chance do you do respite care for families?

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