The Sandwich Generation
A look at those doing double duty in providing and caring
A look at the statistics
According to Statistics Canada, from 2002 to 2007, middle aged Canadians providing care to elderly parents increased from 670,000 to 2.7 million. At the time, those surveyed were not uncomfortable with the role of caregiver. Of respondents, 54% said they were coping "very well" while another 42% said they were "generally okay" with the role of caregiver to their parents. In addition, 22% of those surveyed were traveling an hour or more in order to provide care for their mother or father.
The US survey organization, Pew Research, estimates that one in eight Americans aged 40 to 60 is caring directly for a parent while still also raising a child. Also, nearly 10 million US adults provide some care to a parent living at a distance.
This looks like it will be a trend for the foreseeable future. The North American population of those 65 and over is expected to double by the year 2030. All of these are just statistics, of course. Each member of the sandwich generation has his or her own story.
Support for the sandwich generation
How do you deal with being one of the sandwich generation? Are there resources or websites where you can find support or encouragement? What possible government assistance or other help can be found.
There are a number of potentially helpful resources for those caught in this category, including the following:
- The Canadian Caregiver Coalition provides advocacy and organizes some events.
- You can create your own support group by connecting with people. Unfortunately, the VON does not have the resources to organize such associations.
- There are a number of small Facebook groups under Caring for Parents.
- The Caregiver Network Inc. was started in the late 1990's by Karen Henderson, whose father meanwhile passed away early last decade. The site looks to be long in abeyance. Nothing similar seems to have arisen since its stead.
- We blog the latest on family and friends.
If you are a member of the sandwich generation and want to share your thoughts in a blog post or promote a support community you are part of, please email [email protected]
The phrase "Sandwich Generation" is often associated with Carol Abaya, who also proposes that some in this category be dubbed the "Club Sandwich" generation, where they may be caring for grandchildren as well.
The Sandwich Generation was the subject of a short documentary in 2004, you can watch here.