Understanding and preparing for sandwich generation

INVESTING ON THE GO - Iggy Go (The Freeman) - October 13, 2020 - 12:00am

One of the things not being talked about in PH society and lack of financial literacy is the ‘Sandwich Generation’. If you think you’ll become your parents’ caretaker in the future, experts suggest that you start talking to them about their financial situation now, because it may take years for them to be willing to accept your help.

What is the Sandwich Generation?

The term “sandwich generation” was coined by social worker Dorothy A. Miller in 1981 to describe adult children of the elderly who are “sandwiched” between caring for their own children and their aging parents. Some adults spend years as a sandwich generation caregiver, while others experience only a brief overlap.

Long-term sandwich caregiving is becoming increasingly common as the population ages. At the same time, millennials are having children later than their baby boomer and Generation X parents, leading to more multi-generational households.

Demographics of The Sandwich Generation

There are many scenarios in this situation, here are three roles those in the sandwich generation typically fall into:

The Traditional Sandwich Generation — Adults typically in their 40s or early 50s sandwiched between their elderly parents and their typically adult children who both need financial or other assistance.

Club Sandwich Generation — Older adults in their 50 or 60s who are wedged between aging parents, their adult children and possibly grandchildren. This term can also refer to younger adults in their 30s or 40s who have younger children, elderly parents and aging grandparents.

The Open Faced Sandwich Generation — Anyone who's non-professionally involved in elder care, which is an estimated 25% of individuals at some point in their lives.

Mental Health of the Sandwich Generation

The burdens of costs, helping with daily activities, overseeing supervision, legal considerations and other concerns can take a physical and emotional toll. With so many stressors, the sandwich generation can often experience:

  • Caregiver burnout and feelings of depression, guilt and isolation.
  • Issues finding the time to be a good spouse, parent, and child simultaneously.
  • Trouble managing work, hobbies, and relationships.
  • Psychological issues as they struggle with being pulled in multiple directions every day.

Tips for sandwich generation stress

Get everyone’s finances out in the open — Ideally, the earlier the better. Seek the help of a financial planner, legal assistance and the like professionals.

You don’t have to do everything — If you feel overextended by everyone’s demands, discuss how your family can make small changes to improve your life.

Self-care is vital — Burnout can’t be fixed in a short period of time, but taking time to do the things you love can offer a chance to reflect on your own feelings and interests — and to create a balance between caring for yourself and others.

Ask for help — You also deserve care just like everyone else. If you have a sibling, reach out to them to discuss the situation. Join a support group, see a therapist or counselor if possible.

Don’t forget to love your loved ones

Embrace the situation. Challenges also come with opportunities. As hard as it can be to care for both your parents and your children, don’t forget to see the beauty in your special situation: your children will develop a closer bond with their grandparents.

With help from those around you and a little preparation, caring for three generations (don’t forget yourself!) is manageable, and can even be rewarding.

Have you felt the effects of being part of the sandwich generation?

SANDWICH GENERATION
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