Did you know that, although the term “Sandwich Generation” has been in the Merriam Webster dictionary for only 9 years, it was first coined nearly 25 years ago to describe those caring for their growing children and aging parents? Or that the average Sandwich Generation couple spends $10,000 a year, as well as over 25 hours a week, in their care-giving roles? With more Boomerang Kids returning home, the number of those financially supporting both their grown children and their parents has grown to one-quarter of all adults. Baby Boomers make up the largest group among those sandwiched, but now the Generation X cohort has joined their ranks too.
Typically the day-to-day caregiving falls to the woman squeezed in the middle, often leaving her depleted both physically and emotionally. If you’re in this situation yourself, where can you turn for help in meeting the demands placed on you? Here are some kinds of support available to you:
Community Resources. In the Los Angeles area, KNX 1070 news radio is addressing the challenges these families face. They are sponsoring a free community outreach program, the Sandwich Generation Forum on Saturday, November 14, from 9am-3pm at the Burbank Airport Marriott. We’ll be participating in a panel on Boomerang Kids, so look for us there.
Support. Sandwich Generation support groups meet to give families a chance to share stories and solutions. Or, you may find that being with your own individual friends generates even greater feelings of support. Either way, you’ll find that spending quality time with your peers can help you find answers to specific questions, set boundaries and create an understanding and safe space.
Family. When you step back and let your parents and children do as much as they can around the house, you may be surprised at the positive results. And it’s a win-win for everyone – they’ll feel a sense of pride in their accomplishments and you’ll be relieved of some of your chores. You can also specifically ask your siblings for help with your parents.
Stress reduction. It’s up to you to be proactive in terms of your own needs. You know the personal techniques that lower the level of stress the most for you – it could be exercise, music, creating art, being with friends, meditation or a host of others. Be aware of when your negative emotions seem to be bubbling up and address them honestly.
For more ideas about where to look for help when you feel you are being pulled in two directions when caring for parents and children, be sure to visit the free Sandwich Generation Forum Saturday, November 14 and listen to follow-up reports on KNX 1070 all during the following week.