Am I in the “Sandwich Generation”?

You may have heard the term “Sandwich Generation” over the past few years, and maybe you’ve stopped to wonder “Am I  part of this group of caregivers?” Thanks to modern medical advances and lifestyle changes, people are living longer. Many times, grandparents live to see their grandchildren marry and have children of their own. However, what happens when grandparents are struck by serious illness? Their children, many of whom have children of their own, must begin taking care of their parents. This generation is so aptly named the Sandwich Generation.

In America today, according to the Pew Research Center, one in seven adults are providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child. More and more people are feeling pressured by their obligations to their children, their duty in caring for their aging parents, and the need to keep their finances and retirement on track. These individuals, most between the ages of 40 to 59, are becoming overwhelmed by constant stress; stress which permeates every aspect of their lives and leaves them without room to breathe.

An anonymous story on exemplifies the frustration and exhaustion surrounding caring for both aging parents and children:

On a particularly busy day, a woman’s youngest son had a severe asthma attack. He was coming out of it and resting in his room when her mother’s medical alarm system went off. The dispatcher called to have her go to her mother’s apartment, but the woman was faced with a difficult decision. Should she leave her sick child to help her sick mother? Thankfully, her oldest son was available to watch his brother so the woman could run across town to her mother’s apartment. When she went into the apartment, she found her mother on the floor. After calling the Fire Department, they got her up and surprisingly, she was unhurt. After putting her mother back in bed, the woman rushed back home to be with her sons.

While this is only one example of the frustrating lifestyle that so many middle-aged adults lead, it is a poignant one. Many people deal with situations very similar to this, without much outside help.

Jewish Family & Career Services (JFCS) offers services that help adults cope with their obligations and duties as “Sandwichers.” Its staff can assist you and your loved one in finding resources, making decisions, and managing stress. We offer non-medical home care, affordable senior transportation, geriatric case management, and support groups for caregivers. Allow us to become part of your “sandwich” so that we can help support you.  Call us today!

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