Wednesday, September 30, 2015

When The Other Shoe Drops...

When the other shoe drops, you gather up the shoes and reevaluate how to proceed.

There will be times you will question everything as a Caregiver and there will be times you go with the flow. There will be times it will be difficult to understand what is happening. Life takes on a new, deeper meaning. Everything matters, as does every day. Like never before, you are trying your hardest to help to save a life in any way possible. 

Healing is a lifelong process when impacted by crisis and illness. Adjusting in midlife, caring for another, is a great responsibility. We crave stability and peace of mind. It takes a strong desire to keep our emotions in check so our voice of reason is what we speak. 

You are managing well. You're doing a good job. Keep your chin up. Don't forget you're human and you have limitations to "fix" what's happening. And be sure to care for yourself. That is one of your biggest responsibilities, and that should be at the top of your list!

Best Wishes,
Carole Brecht

To see our Caregiver Gift Line and other Zentangle Inspired Art click:

Tangled Art Boutique

Click The Sandwich Woman: Caring For The Sandwich Generation facebook page and visit often to connect to the global community for inspiration, support and information about how to navigate midlife caring for a loved one. 

Follow us on Twitter: @SanGenWoman
                         Instagram: San_Gen_Woman

#caregivers #carers #caresupport #sandwichgeneration #thesandwichwoman

Copyright 2015


Monday, September 28, 2015

~ I Love My Caregiver ~

Celebrating Caregivers for all that they do!

~We are here to support you and hope you visit often. This is your Community~

Caring for the Caregiver ~ Nurturing the Nurturers
~Where Words Soothe and Ideas & Art Delight~

The Sandwich Woman on facebook

Twitter: @SanGenWoman
Instagram: San_Gen_Woman

Copyright 2015

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What Does A Caregiver Look Like?

Make no mistake about it: Caregivers come in all shapes, sizes, colors and both sexes. Caregivers range in all ages, from small and young to old and older. We reside all over the world and are in need of support now.

Our children play a key role in our lives, both young and old, who still rely on us for a variety of reasons. I've been mostly focusing on senior care, but the fact is we are called The Sandwich Generation for a reason. We are sandwiched in the middle of generations. A responsible role riddled with emotions of great highs and great lows. I love midlife for so many reasons. What's not to like? You don't have to wait to be dismissed at the end of the day by a school bell. 

In my opinion, the current definition of The Sandwich Generation would be someone in midlife between the ages of mid 30s-mid 60s. 

What is different in 2015? The global army of Caregivers is growing by leaps and bounds. People are living longer and in turn the needs become greater. 

Caring for the Caregiver is essential. It's only a matter of time; in the next 2-5 years there will be an explosion of support systems in place for the "Cargiver Industry." It's only a matter of time because Caregivers need support systems in place to be resilient and stay healthy enough to do what they do. It is no secret that Caregiver's lives are hugely impacted emotionally and healthwise from the stressful and responsible job positions they fill. 

We are a pioneering generation that has a broad age range. The level of care and medications to sustain a life is costly. And let's never forget that at the end of life how many people it may take to sustain a life. 

Feeling rundown, isolated and/or anti-social are not healthy places to be emotionally and mentally for extended periods of time. My Caregiver journey and aftermath of what took place with my Mother looking back, is monumental. The impact is ever present. 

One of my biggest take aways from my Caregiver journey was to understand my limitations better, ask for help more often and take better care of me. I wasn't thinking of myself until day's end, and then I was too exhausted to figure out how to "do" self-care. I wasn't thinking about me at all. I was consumed with my Mother's care. I have no regrets. I'm not complaining. I wouldn't have it any other way. 

The stats are high and climbing for people afflicted with terminal illnesses, both young and old. Beyond aging, there are a plethora of maladies plaguing mankind. Alzheimer's Disease is on the rise worldwide. The wreckage that disease causes to a person and a family is critical. To learn the definitions for Alzheimer's Disease and dementia, click here 

This week when you are taking care of business, make sure you are high on your check list to care for. You are managing a very important role in the life of someone who counts on you to sustain their life. I'm not sure there's a higher calling in life than that.

The role reversal that comes in the course of caring for an elder may be minor or extreme. No matter, it's an adjustment and there's no denying you are making important decisions about or with your loved one's future. Planning for the future is critical, so if a crisis or a turn for the worse occurs, you are prepared.

I admire you and respect you for all you do. You're doing a great job. Keep it up. We do what we do in the name of love. Come visit The Sandwich Woman: Caring for the Sandwich Generation facebook page often and please continue to embrace this community as your own. 

#caregivers #carers #selfcare #caresupport #endalz

Best wishes for the week ahead,
Carole Brecht

Copyright 2015

To see our Caregiver gift lines, click Tangled Art Boutique

Caring for the Caregiver ~ Nurturing the Nurturer
~Where Words Soothe and Ideas & Art Delight~

Twitter: @SanGenWoman
Instagram: San_Gen_Woman

Monday, September 21, 2015

~A Caregiver's Love Is Heaven Sent~

 ~~~~> Caregiver's are the Salt of the Earth <~~~~

~Thank you for doing all that you do~

Warm Wishes,
Carole & Jan

To see this and other Caregiver designs for Greeting Cards, Tote Bags and an assortment of Caregiver merchandise, click here 

Copyright 2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015

~~~Sandwich Generation Caregiving~~~

Jan and I were recently invited by as guests for their video series on "Sandwich Generation Caregiving." It was a great experience. We share our experience and point of view on being Caregivers for our family members. 

Click here to take a look: Sandwich Generation Caregiving

Click here to see our selection of  Caregiver merchandise

Click here: The Sandwich Woman: Caring For The Sandwich Generation is a facebook community that now represents a global outreach of over 30 countries. We hope you embrace it as your own. 

We love what we do. Caring for the Caregiver is Essential!

This screenshot is an example of our store website accessed through a cell phone. The design options are available through your mobile device too. Zoom in on the design to fill the page or minimize it as much as you want, and add a band of color of your choice on the edges. A fun way to shop. All greeting cards can have a personal greeting added to it before checkout. A beautiful design to affirm a Caregiver in your life.

Caring for the Caregiver ~ Nurturing the Nurturers
~~Where Words Soothe and Art & Ideas Delight~~

Sending best wishes::::......*
Carole Brecht & Jan Steinle

Twitter: @SanGenWoman
Instagram: San_Gen_Woman

Copyright 2015

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

~~~> The Caregiver Squeeze <~~~

For several months, I've been writing about being a Caregiver and what my experiences have been like. Included in my writings, I have been referencing The Sandwich Generation often and what it's like to be in the middle between the younger and older generations we are a part of. 

I had a moment the other day that literally made me laugh out loud, when I was observing how squeezed I was feeling in my day, and had a revelation that "I am" who I am writing about. That may sound goofy, even to me, but it's true. I've been writing as though I am sharing with someone about my life, but not necessarily how I feel in my life. 

You don't have to be a Caregiver to feel squeezed or smashed in the middle of the sandwich between generations. We deal with stress all day long. Some days better than others. My schedule is especially busy these days and I feel pulled in many directions. I often times work off of a to-do list to stay on task, and it has helped me tremendously. 

When you are loaded down with a long list of responsibilities, figure out at the beginning of the day what is important. Then create a priority list, and I assure you that you will feel more in control than without one. 

Do you feel like you have a purpose-driven life? Do you have a sense you have some control in how your day unfolds? I feel certain all we really have control over is our attitudes and how we deal with what life throws at us. Even then, there are days that we may feel like everything has a mind of it's own, and life is what happens when you have other plans. (One of my Dad's famous quotes). 

If you don't have a notebook, journal or clipboard, pick one up and get busy modifying your life via your daily list. You will be a happier camper, I mean Caregiver!

Best Wishes today & always, 
Carole Brecht

Twitter: @SanGenWoman
Instagram: San_Gen_Woman

Here's a screenshot of the Caregiver tote bag I just bought. I thought I'd create my own customized bag with my favorite color for the border. If you haven't looked at our online Zentangle Boutique, take a look. The customization features make it fun to create the look you like.

Click here to go to the store: Tangled Art Boutique

Copyright 2015

Sunday, September 13, 2015

~Caregiver's Are Earth Angels~

♡We love Caregivers ~ We are here for You♡

Click here for: Caregiver Greeting Cards & Gift Lines 

Nurturing the Nurturers ~ Caring for the Caregivers
~Where Words Soothe and Ideas & Art Delight~

Best Wishes, 
Carole & Jan 

Copyright 2015

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

~The SanGen Life~

~The SanGen Life~

I was in my kitchen the other day and opened the door of the pantry that houses all kinds of food and staples. I rarely go to the pantry anymore. If I'm opening that door at all, it's typically for peanut butter every few weeks or sometimes longer. All my baking supplies are in there. Plus a million other "things" that are kitchen-worthy. This particular time I opened the door, my mind flashed to what seemed like several minutes of my children in the house, all four of them, the walls ringing with laughter, squabbling and lots of love. Home Sweet Home. It was a beautiful sound. I was savoring and cherishing the moment, keenly aware of the quiet backdrop in my home, of twenty years. All the birdies flew the coop for I believe the last time when my youngest fled in March. My third go-round of empty-nester. I was pretty sure I would sail through it, since I'm a veteran, but no way, to my surprise. 

I've been immersed between two generations for a long time as a Sandwich Woman. It's been a great ride! Family is my thing and caring for those I am close to comes naturally. The demands can become great at times and certainly when dealing with life and death, but in the overall, I am thankful to have been by my parents side to help them navigate their senior years. As for the age range of SanGens, it varies greatly and nobody should be out of the loop of recognition for coming to the aid, and sometimes rescue, of a loved one in need. There are plenty of young Caregivers all over the world putting their best feet forward. There are also plenty of seniors, taking care of each other, in their beloved homes. 

As you move forward in your personal journey as a Caregiver, take five to do something nice for yourself. Having fresh flowers in the house year 'round is a good start!

Best wishes today and always,
Carole Brecht

Twitter: @SanGenWoman
Instagram: San_Gen_Woman

Copyright 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

~~~> Out of the Darkness, Into the Light <~~~

"Out of the Dark, Into the Light" by Jan Steinle

This past week we had our *Grand Opening* for our online retail store: that houses our Zentangle Inspired Art. It was a labor of love and took us months to create. Finally, this past Friday, it became a reality and we are very happy to see the store come to fruition! 

What once was an idea and a vision became a reality! A year ago it was a pipe dream, as you will learn in this blog. All of our designs were created during this past year. We discovered Zentangle only last June 2014. I remember saying to Jan last summer when we had made our first design or two, "Wouldn't it be cool to have a greeting card line of our designs?" In almost the same breath I dismissed it because it seemed like a crazy thought and how do you make that happen anyway? And besides, I was caring for my Mom on a full time basis. I was knee deep in my Caregiver journey on a critical care level, chasing time, trying with all my might to save my Mother's life. I was dealing with life and death issues, hospice, and dealing with the reality of senior care and how to navigate it. In hindsight, I have learned an encyclopedia of information concerning critical care, no matter the age, or the care level. Being a patient advocate and Caregiver comes with a lot of responsibility. 

Zentangle art quickly became a way to find my peace in the midst of that storm. I was so grateful we were shown this artform. We graduated art school after high school and for many years that was on the back burner while we were raising our 7 children between us! There's another blog I could write about, being a young mother, a lifetime ago. 

Out of something so dark and horrible as losing our Mom to Alzheimer's Disease, came a worldwide outreach for the Sandwich Generation to connect with. Out of the darkness, came Light! It amazes me that in 7 months all these different streams of positive energy and artistry were birthed as The Sandwich Woman social media platform. All I knew back in September 2014, at the tail end of my Mother's life, was that I wanted to write a book about my experiences as a Caregiver, so I could help someone not feel alone, withdrawn and isolated like I had felt. That was the extent of my vision. I was still immersed daily caring for my Mom and had very little time to think of anything beyond what needed to be done at the moment. The day-to-day care was so pressing and unrelenting. It felt like a rescue mission, because it was. When we received the diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease, we knew for sure it was going to be bad, but we had no idea the depths of the disease in personality change and memory loss. It was mind blowing and still is to this day.

We launched The Sandwich Woman facebook page in February, on the heels of my Mom's death, and in the heat of my unrelenting grief, experiencing great loss. I partnered with my sister Jan Steinle and we pulled together in a very positive way. We hope our efforts have affected your life in a positive way too. And we hope The Sandwich Woman social media platform has been a Light for you in your life to feel a connection to a community that supports, respects and highly regards Caregivers.

~~~> Out of the Darkness, Into the Light <~~~

"Ribbons of Faith" by Jan Steinle

Thank you for showing up, for being present, for embracing The Sandwich Woman Community as your own. 

These Zentangle designs were created by my sister, Jan Steinle. I felt they were both a good representation for darkness into the Light. The Zentangle that has bands of ribbons reminded me of the very windy journey it was dealing with such intense life and death matters, not even a year ago. We are thankful and grateful and humbled to be doing all that we're doing these days while still adjusting to the "new normal" and being involved with our Dad who fortunately is in good health.

We are both inspired daily by looking at and creating Zentangle Inspired Art. We love to tangle! To learn more about this art form and the benefits, visit Jan at  Jan is a CZT - Certified Zentangle Teacher, and is currently teaching classes locally in the Pittsburgh area. Her classroom schedule is posted on her facebook page.

To visit our online Art Boutique of Zentangle Inspired Art that includes a Caregiver greeting card, tote bag and print line, log onto: 

~Nurturing the Nurturers ~ Caring for the Caregivers~

~~~Words that Soothe and Ideas & Art that Delight~~~

Best wishes today and always::::::......* 
Carole Brecht

Twitter: @SanGenWoman
Instagram: San_Gen_Woman

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


* * * GRAND OPENING! * * *

Welcome to The Sandwich Woman Art Gallery and Boutique!

Along with a wide variety of Zentangle Inspired Art on acrylic, metal, canvas and paper, you’ll find greeting cards, tote bags, cell phone cases, home decor and apparel items. Print the entire image or zoom in to capture just a portion of it by using the customization feature. Change the background color to suit your taste and decor. Endless possibilities for every day fun, gift-giving, thank yous, fundraising, promotions, events or other special occasions.

Check out the Caregiver Gallery for greeting cards, tote bags & prints <~~