Well, hello! So am I! My grandchildren are between the ages of one and fourteen now. Let me introduce you to my friends; open-faced and traditional! How many children do you have and where do your parents live?
Most of us have heard the term “Sandwich Generation” but not many of us know what it’s about even if we’ve felt the pinch of living between the slices. However, if you’re like me it is warming, in a way, to know you are not the only one dedicated to your family who is bone weary.
We are parents, as most are, who couldn’t wait to see our children grow up to become amazing adult contributors to society while wistfully dreaming of where we want to go and what we want to do when we are not as necessary to their world.
But as the need waned, we barely had enough time to catch our breath before our parents became the focus of our worry. Sandwiched between adult children who can’t afford to visit and parents that can’t visit due to health, we trade Europe for new baby showers and Aruba for hospital MRI and CT scans. Many of us are caring for a parent in our home, raising our grandchildren or sending money to both generations to survive. We often still work full-time and don’t even have time for new friends. We do it willingly and lovingly because we care so much about our family but we become tired, discouraged and sometimes depressed.
The Sandwich Generation is… people (usually in their 30s or 40s) who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.
According to the Pew Research Center, just over one of every eight Americans aged 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent, in addition to between seven and ten million adults caring for their aging parents from a long distance. US Census Bureau statistics indicate that the number of older Americans aged 65 or older will double by the year 2030, to over 70 million.
They are characterized by…
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.
Merriam-Webster officially added the term to its dictionary in July, 2006.
My husband and I understand being sandwiched. We have six children between us (ages 21 to 36), eight grandchildren and though his parents have passed my parents are lapping the doctor’s office and Wal-mart regularly. Mark and I have been together for over ten years and married since 2011. Our plans to have a quaint wedding in France ended in a small house in Utah because that’s where most of the kids were.
We regularly talk about how young we feel, how surprised at all these aches when we unfold from the planes we now frequent, and often wonder if we will ever accomplish our own goals (or sit still for that matter!). My goal has become publishing my book, Laughing At the Storms, and getting through another holiday’s worth of phone calls.
If you are part of the Sandwich Generation I hope, on this blog, you will find many ways to engage, find friends, learn new things that apply to us, and generally feel at home. Thank you for spending time here with me!
(The Quiet Christian)