Parents take care of children as they grow up, and children take care of their parents when they grow old. It’s an age-old cycle. But another trend on the rise is the existence of a generation that is taking on both of these roles at once: The Sandwich Generation.
What Is the Sandwich Generation?
Adults aged between 40 and 50 who are still taking care of their teenaged or college-aged children, while simultaneously taking responsibility for caring for their own aging parents, are known as the Sandwich Generation. Juggling the two responsibilities is often difficult, time-consuming, and can leave little room for looking after yourself, especially if you have full-time jobs, as well.
Many people in the Sandwich Generation are not necessarily trained or experienced in family caregiving. Rather than it being a choice, their dual care efforts are a duty that they take on out of love and responsibility for their family. Learning how to take care of elderly parents while navigating parenthood and careers is often overwhelming, and no one really tells us what to expect.
Career vs. Caregiver
Aside from the personal drain, caregivers from the Sandwich Generation are often forced to cut down on working hours during their prime working years (i.e., age 35 to 50). Instead of getting promotions and pay increases that can go towards saving for later in life, they earn less so that they have time to care for their families. Once they reach older age themselves, and they find themselves with fewer resources than expected, an even greater burden will be placed on their own children.
Throughout 2020, COVID-19 has seen a rise in flexible working, which could be a game-changer for the Sandwich Generation. With more companies seeing the benefits of flexible working hours, remote work, and other accommodations that step away from the typical 9-to-5 office job, this could open up more flexible career opportunities for those with multiple care responsibilities.
How to Manage
If you have found yourself in a dual responsibility role, it’s important to remember you are not alone. You are among 11 million Americans also in the Sandwich Generation. There is plenty of support to help you manage your responsibilities.
First, remember that you don’t have to take on the burden alone. Try to speak to other family members about sharing the load, including your children and your parents. Including the elderly in your care plan for them is important; they are the ones who will be living it. Depending on how much input they can give, try to take their suggestions into consideration for their care.
As your own children grow up, they can also help you manage. It’s tempting to protect them and shoulder the burden yourself, but the best way for families to get through these tricky times is by facing it together.
You can also look outside of the family for aid. Personal Care Assistants (PCA) provide respite care to help lighten the strain and ensure everyone in your family gets the care that they need.
Connect with Best Care
At Best Care, we are here to help you navigate this challenging time of your life. Contact us today to learn your options! Call us at (651) 330-2550.