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What Oprah's Support of Obama has to do with Sandwiched Boomers

By Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. and Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D.

Oprahbama, the big O’s, Oprah and the Obamas – sounds like a rock band on a road trip.  As Oprah hit the campaign trail recently, her candidate played the celebrity card and the female fan base responded.  When you need it, the value of support simply cannot be overestimated.    

Oprah is a driving force, with her message of empowering women and her success at moving product.  So, for now, the contest for the democratic nomination is more up in the air.  Hillary pulled out all the stops, spending her time drumming up support with her mom and daughter close by her side.   Are you in the same boat, as Sandwiched Boomers in the midst of dealing with aging parents and growing children?  Do you need some help in finding support for yourself?   Learn how to go about it from the following ideas:

1.Educate yourself about what to expect and the various organizations or resources available to you. Talk to friends and family whose opinions you respect.  Collaboration is essential during such a critical period of time.  Reach out and create a network – you don't have to do it alone.

2.Be frank with your family.  Engage your siblings in the problems and the solutions.  Put emotional and logistical support systems in place as you ask for practical help and delegate responsibilities.  Have them set aside personal agendas and work together toward collective goals.

3.Find a class or workshop that addresses your specific concerns.  Local university extension programs or mental health centers provide training seminars about a variety of concerns and problems that are common to Sandwiched Boomers.

4.Join an ongoing group or attend a weekend retreat to share concerns, problem-solve and gain new perspective.  A therapist or a coach can be a sounding board, validate your perceptions, support your ideas and help you follow through with your plans.

5.As knowledge is power, try to better understand the difficult transitions your family in flux is going through.  Gather information about how to manage change from the Internet's search engines or the self-help section of bookstores.  Talk to others who have gone through similar experiences in order to get realistic feedback and some concrete advice.  

6.Dig deep and find your own inner voice – listen to what it has to say about caring for your family relationships and nurturing yourself personally.  Set some specific goals about what you need from your family and for you. Step by step, work toward achieving them.

Perhaps the marriage of show business and politics is a little too Hollywood for your taste.  Obama and Hillary are focused on the best way to achieve maximum political advantage.  For you, it’s more about building a support system, not star power.  How to get the vote of confidence, from those whose reinforcement you need, may be the crux of your struggle right now.  Pitch for the demographic that will buoy you up in times of need.  And save the best seats in the house for those who will continue to work on your behalf.  

© 2007, Her Mentor Center  

Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. & Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D. are co-founders of Her Mentor Centera website for midlife women and Blogspot a Blog for the Sandwich Generation.  They are authors of a forthcoming book about Baby Boomers' family relationships and publish a free newsletter, Stepping Stones, through their website.  As psychotherapists, they have over 40 years of collective private practice experience.






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