The Ethics Sage Explains the Sandwich Generation
Sandwich Generation – Ethics Sage
In the early 1990’s very few had even heard of the term “sandwich generation.” Most thought it was connected to a sandwich eaten by children who were “latch key” kids. Instead, sandwich generation refers to those people who are sandwiched between aging parents who need care and/or help and their own children. It could be the parents have “boomerang” adult kids who come back home after school and/or unsuccessful attempts to get a job. At the same time, one’s parents need in-home care, 24/7 adult supervision or independent/assisted living.
The task is not easy to become elderly or a parent to your parent(s). After all, our society “says” adults should be able to take care of themselves. But, as more live well into their 80s and 90s and families are dispersed across the country, everyone is going to be involved somehow, some way, in elder care. If not today, then tomorrow.
Being a Sandwich Generationer – an elder/parent caregiver – is a new role on the stage of life for which no one can ever rehearse. Becoming a parent to an aging parent presents extraordinary challenges. The challenges to elders are just as daunting. To lose control of one’s life – even the little things – can be shocking and frustrating.
Members of the sandwich generation face difficulties in allocating time and money and often describe themselves as being pulled in two directions. Emotional difficulties, especially depression, and marriage conflicts are common problems for those in this situation.
Steven Mintz, the Ethics Sage, as usual, presents a timely subject. One of the cruelties of the beltway obsession with cutting Social Security and Medicare is the lack of concern over the effect on millions of Americans. Not only do these government programs keep many out of poverty, they enable the children of the aged to better take care of their parents saving millions, and probably, billions of dollars the would have to fall on the various government agencies. Those programs spread the weight of aging more through society.
I have strong sympathy for those caught in the “sandwich.” The emotional and financial costs can be devastating. I tell my students that this stage of their lives will be a major test of their character.
From around the web –
From the web site, Another Boomer Blog:
It appears I am about to find out what it is like to be a part of the sandwich generation where one cares for a dependent elder while dealing with the younger generation as well. Mind you, it is not my elder relative, but the gently crumbling father of a good friend who is in need of tender care and direction. I hardly ever hear from my friend anymore since she’s so busy with work and parenting the prior generation. So next week I will run off to the transitional center and the elegant elder and I shall endeavor traveling to the eye doctor.
From the web site, The Sandwich Generation and Aging with Grace:
So, dear ones, I invite you to join me on this BLOGIN’-JOURNEY that explores what it means to be a participant in the Sandwich Generation. I hope I discover, and therefore help you discover, tips, information and humor to cope with the oncoming, currently happening or post-parent-now-what phase that happens in this process of ALL the Boomers aging – gracefully please – and what joys can be found from every moment, yes, every moment of the journey.
And finally, from the web site, The Voice of the Caregiver:
The “Sandwich Generation” was a term officially added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in July 2006. What does it mean? It’s defined as a generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children. Today, according to the Pew Research Center, just over 1 out of every 8 Americans aged 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent, in addition to between 7 to 10 million adults caring for their aging parents from a long distance. While serving as a caregiver to a loved one, of course it’s not only important to protect their health and well being, but also to protect your own.