The Sandwich Generation

Do you care for both an older relative and your own children? If so, you’re part of the “Sandwich Generation,” in increasingly growing segment of the American population.

As America ages, the phrase “parenting your parent” is becoming increasingly important and widely used. So, what is parenting your parent? Most individuals in the “Sandwich Generation,” the Baby Boomers, are being faced with—or will confront—this issue. In general, Americans are choosing to have children later in life, while older Americans are enjoying an even-increasing lifespan. What this means, of course, is that many parents of school-aged children are also being confronted with the need to care for elderly parents. As this trend continues, many Baby Boomers and the generations following them will be forced to care for both their own children, and their parents, at the same time.

Although our parents are continuing to live longer and the quality of later life continues to increase, elderly Americans still face many age-related challenges. These challenges can range from dry skin to dehydration, from forgetfulness to dementia, and from poor hearing to deafness. In some cases, Baby Boomers are faced with the relatively simple tasks of helping a parent remember to pay a specific bill or to make travel arrangements. In other cases, members of the Sandwich Generation are left caring for parents who need round-the-clock assistance.

It’s important to remember that as a member of this generation of individuals caring for their children and parents simultaneously, you are not alone. Instead, you have much in common with many of your contemporaries, and are paving the way for your children who will most likely face the same issues.

In the face of these difficult caregiving responsibilities, don’t forget about yourself. Instead, turn to local agencies and support groups for help in dealing with your caregiving issues. To determine the type of agency or support group that is best for you, contact local faith organizations, the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, the Social Services Department, or your local Area Agency on Aging.

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