The term “Sandwich Generation” refers to those caregivers who are both caring for their aging parent(s) and for their children who are still at home. Members of the Sandwich Generation are mostly age 40 to 59. Men and women are equally likely to be included in the Sandwich Generation. These are caregivers who are pulled in many different directions, and may be for many years. They may provide physical care, financial support and emotional support for both their elders and the younger generation. About half of all adults currently in their 40s and 50s have at least one parent older than 65 and are also raising a child or are financially supporting a grown child. About 15% in this age group are providing some kind of financial support to both an aging parent and a child.
Life in the Sandwich Generation can be a bit stressful, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that these caregivers are less happy than people of their age group who are not sandwiched in between an older and a younger generation. According to a Pew Research study, 31% of Sandwich Generation caregivers report being very happy with their lives, compared to 28% of non-Sandwich Generation caregivers.
Here are some ideas that Sandwich Generation caregivers can put into action now to help manage your time, your money and your relationships.
- Hold family meetings. In some families, caregiving doesn’t have to fall all on one person. It’s important to communicate with family members, divide up the tasks, if possible, and make sure everyone knows who is expected to do what.
- Ask for help. Resources are available, so reach out and request assistance from a social worker, a financial planner to deal with your budget, your Area Agency on Aging, or A Caring Heart Senior Housing Referral Service. Take advantage of the support that is available to you.
- Plan ahead. Especially for the financial future, and all the different ways your income may need to be distributed. Keep in mind too, it’s never too early to start teaching your children about saving for the future.
- Take care of yourself. As a caregiver, it is vitally important to take care of yourself. Eat and sleep well, take time out for your own needs, and listen to your body. Find out about respite care services when you need a break.
Here at A Caring Heart, we understand all the stresses and strains, and all the joys of caring for your loved ones. Get in touch with us. We can help you get the help you need.