Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Sandwich Generation

A relatively new term, the "Sandwich Generation" refers to individuals who provide senior care to their parents while taking care of their own children. This arrangement can be stressful, but it is often unavoidable. Members of the Sandwich Generation must provide the care that both their parents and their children need, while also maintaining their own careers and relationships.

Davy, from Durham, North Carolina, is the perfect example of a member of the Sandwich Generation. Every morning, Davy and his wife get their kids ready for school. Davy packs up his laptop, buckles the children into their car seats, and takes them to class before heading off to his parents' house. As a web designer, Davy is the only member of his family able to work from home. Because of this flexibility, he has taken on the responsibility of taking care of his parents.

Senior care is a serious task, one that may require a wide range of services. Davy's parents need minimal care; throughout the day, he helps them prepare meals, get in and out of the bathroom, and perform basic activities to maintain the house. Some elderly individuals need a much higher level of senior care, which members of the Sandwich Generation must learn to provide.

Being a member of the Sandwich Generation poses many challenges. Some of these include:

  • Effectively budgeting time between one's elderly loved ones and one's children.
  • Maintaining financial stability. This is particularly difficult if an individual must quit work to provide senior care to their parents or if their parents are in need of financial assistance.
  • Overcoming the emotional toll of watching one's parents age.

While the Sandwich Generation must overcome many obstacles, it also benefits from providing senior care to elderly loved ones. For example, familial bonds are often strengthened through senior care and, because the Sandwich Generation must care for both their children and parents, the bond between children and grandparents has a unique opportunity to grow.

Davy from Durham and other members of the Sandwich Generation certainly face many challenges; however, providing senior care for elderly loved ones can be a very rewarding experience.   

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