March 19, 2021
Reading Time 4 min.

What is the Sandwich Generation and How can They Cope with Their Responsibilities?

The sandwich generation is usually middle-aged individuals who are tasked with the responsibility of caring for both their adult children and elderly loved ones. They are not necessarily the Baby boomer generation as they may also include the millennials who are in their 30s and whose parents need financial support while they have their own children to care for.   

The sandwich generation has a considerable challenge ahead of them. They are mostly middle-aged adults responsible for their growing kids and aging parents. They are sandwiched between taking care of aging loved ones in need of assistance physically or financially – and their kids who require emotional, physical, and financial support. At times, adult children return home; therefore, the phrase boomerang kids.  

They are usually in their mid-40s or 50s, working full time while doing their best to fulfill the role of caregivers at the same time. The sandwich generation has to care for their grandkids in cases where the parents (adult children) cannot do so due to workload.   

Understanding the Demoraphics and Challenges Faced by the Sandwich Generation  

Sandwich generation family composed of Grandparents, parents and children.

According to the Families and Work Institute Older Adult Caregiver Study compiled during 2014, roughly 53% of 1,050 adults cared for family members 65 years of age and older. As much as 61% provided care for adults 50 or older.  

One in seven adults provides financial assistance to their elderly parents as well as one or more children.   

Elderly care experts say the sandwich generation can be grouped as follows:  

  • Open-Faced: This would be anyone who cares for a elderly person in a non-professional capacity.
  • Club Sandwich Generation: Adults aged 50 or 60 wedged between adult kids, aging parents, and possibly grandkids. This term even applies to younger adults aged 30 or 40, who have young children and elderly parents to care for.   
  • Traditional: These would typically be adults in their 40s or 50s who have to care of elderly loved ones as well as their adult children.   

Did you know that the term “sandwich generation” became so commonplace that it was added to the Merriam Webster Dictionary?  

Let’s turn our attention to the challenges faced by the sandwich generation. The most impacted area would be finances in taking care of multiple generations. Contrary to popular belief, it is not as much elderly parents as adult children aged 25 to 34 who require the most financial assistance.   

Is it any wonder that we need assistance to cope with sandwich generation stress? Working, managing your home, caring for parents. There may be no time or resources left for to care for yourself. This can lead to caregiver fatigue and burnout.

The uncertain times we live in related to a global pandemic and increasing unemployment leaves many of us with no choice but to face the burdens of helping out with daily activities, covering medical costs, and other financial concerns.  

Due to all kinds of stress factors, the sandwich generation is prone to experiencing:  

  • Difficulty in finding the time to be a good parent, spouse, and child.  
  • Feelings of guilt, isolation, and depression are possible signs of caregiver burnout.  
  • Trouble managing hobbies, work and self-care.  
  • Sandwich generation psychology issues such as anxiety as you are pulled in multiple directions daily.  

Tips on How to Bust Sandwich Generation Stress 

 

Activity with mother and daughter to  reduce sandwich generation stress

The primary mission of anyone who renders caregiving duties would be to ensure everyone they are responsible for is safe, healthy and happy. Unfortunately, a common by product is they tend to neglect their own needs. 

Below are ways to help reduce stress and tips on how to relieve financial burdens that would lead to a more positive experience:

  • If your adult children live in their own place for which you pay the rent, you could be saving on these expenses by having them move back home and helping around the house.  
  • Similarly, aging parents could move into your home or a in-law suite to reduce bills and save time when they need assistance.
  • You may want to invest in a medical alert system to ensure your loved one gets monitored 24/7.  
  • How about part-time senior care at home. Just a few hours a day will contribute to relieving caregiver stress.  
  • Discuss with those you are financially responsible for and set boundaries. Budgets are not fun, but they are effective when followed.  
  • Set up an identity theft protection service for those you are responsible for to prevent them from getting scammed.  
  • The elderly and children below a certain age quality for tax breaks. Even medical expense claims will reduce tax liability.   
  • Make time for yourself. Use an adult day care or respite care service to give you time to take care of yourself and to decompress.   
  • Buy a good quality hearing aid for seniors who are hard of hearing so they can may be aware of their surroundings at all time.   

Find a local support group to share ideas and ask questions from people who have been through similar challenges.

The elderly population keeps growing, and young adults are may be struggling to make ends meet during our trying economic times. This leads to folks in their mid-40s and 50s to become what they fondly refer to as the “sandwich generation”.  

Most importantly, as a sandwich generation member, you need to practice self-care by eating right, ensuring you invest in some downtime, get enough sleep, laugh a lot, and be willing to ask for and accept help when needed. 

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That's all for today.

Take care, keep mom safe and have a great day!

Winn

Articles of Interest:

  1. ADULT DAY CARE CENTER: HOW IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE
  2. DUTIES OF A CAREGIVER IN HOME
  3. WHAT IS RESPITE CARE FOR THE ELDERLY

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