Excerpt from Daily Cures, Wisdom for Healthy Aging by Connie Mason Michaelis
Thanks to the marvels of medical science, adults over age 80 are the fastest-growing segment of the population. Approximately 65% of those will become dependent on others for basic needs. That burden may fall to their baby boomer children, 77 million strong, who are still busy with their own families and grandchildren. With the additional pressure of the current economic times, we see caregivers sharing time, energy, and resources with multiple generations. The term Sandwich Generation describes baby boomers that are caring for elderly parents and, at the same time, are still supporting their children. It can become a severe strain on all parties. I have created a sandwich menu that may describe some of these unique situations.
The Traditional Sandwich: those sandwiched between aging parents who need support and their dependent children. Open-Faced: anyone involved in elder care over a long period with no end in sight. This might affect a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Club Sandwich: those in their 50s or 60s, sandwiched between aging parents, adult children, and grandchildren or those in their 30s and 40s, with young children, aging parents, and grandparents. My friend is caring for her mother, financially supporting her daughter and providing daycare for a grandchild, and trying to have a life of her own! Peanut Butter Sandwich: those that have sticky family dynamics. More often than not, women are the caregivers. They become the filling in the sandwich, and yes, it becomes harder and harder to stay between the slices of bread. Many caregivers are spread too thin. Sauerkraut Sandwich: people that become soured from caregiving. The bottom line is that caregivers need a support system for themselves. Googling the topic of caregiving will reveal many resources that support for caregivers of all types. If you are a caregiver, reach out for help!