If you have ever been on the way to visit your son at college when you get a call that your parent has fallen—You know about the Sandwich Generation.
If you and your wife have just arranged for your Mom to move in when your daughter asks if she, her husband and their dog can return home for just a month—You know about the Sandwich Generation.
According to the Pew Research Center, just over 1 of every 8 Americans aged 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent. Dubbed the “ sandwich generation” this ever-increasing group of baby boomers is caring for the needs of family members on both sides.
- Most will tell you they would never give up the opportunity to care for their loved ones.
- Most will also agree–This is no easy task!
While dealing with the demands of time, finances, medical appointments, school schedules, transportation, food choices and insurances forms is no small feat, it is often dealing with the emotions inherent in this dual caring that presents the greatest challenges.
Understanding some of these emotional challenges offers some Sandwich Generation Survival Techniques.
The Emotional Challenges
- For most people their closest genetic connections, their major source of identity, their earliest experience of attachment and their greatest fear of loss involve their parents and their children.
- As such, with either group, the wish to please and the fear of judgment is very high.
- When the care of both groups is needed at the same time, the stakes are higher and the stress on the caregiver, much greater.
- Given the historical pull and unconscious stirrings, many in the sandwich generations have a far more difficult time saying “No” to an aging parent or adult child than to a spouse with whom they have a clearer adult relationship.
Being in The Middle of the Sandwich
Adding to the strain, the sandwich generation is “ in the middle” in literal and emotional ways. Often they actually are subject to judgment from both sides. It is no coincidence that these folks are often very similar – They do say traits …