just about everyone i’ve met in the past month, has mentioned words like college tuition and high school sports in the same breath with medicare, medicaide, nursing homes, assisted living or settling estates. the sandwich generation. (you know, adults who and sandwiched between caring for kids and caring for parents).
funny thing is, none of us are all that old. (i hear you… no, we aren’t that old). but we are squeezed from both ends.
sad to say, but i feel like C and i were kind of at the beginning of this wave since we each lost a parent years ago (for me, it was my only parent left. thankfully, C still has his mom). it’s tough to hear the tales, even tougher to see the strain on our friends faces.
is this the same as always or are things getting worse? a combination of having kids later in life, parents living longer and an economy that has made it increasingly difficult for kids to get ‘launched’ might be making it worse.
there are even multiple definitions of those of us in the sandwich generation.
- traditional: those sandwiched between aging parents who need care and/or help and their own children.
- 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.
- open faced: anyone else involved in elder care.
there were at least six people out of 20 or so at a dinner recently who were either dealing with elderly parent(s) or had just lost a parent. at work, four out of six people are dealing with an elderly parent with health issues and with kids too.
it’s a tough time of life. not just the issue of the tables being turned between parent and child, but a renegotiation among siblings (that often results in reliving childhood rivalries). heap on top of it work, financial stress of todays’ economic worries and (maybe) kids of your own and there’s a recipe for a personal meltdown.
so, i’m saluting the sandwich ‘kids’ around me and hoisting a beer in their honor. here’s hoping they hoist one too (or at least enjoy a day off and a long nap).