Based on what I learned this semester, I think being a sandwich generationer is the most challenging to Americans and their families. A sandwich generationer is a caregiver to an elderly parent/relative and children or anyone who acts as a dual caregiver whether it parents, grandparents, and children. Sandwich generationers not only have to deal with parents needing daily assistance and having to pick up finances for their bills but also having to care their own children/family, resulting in a lack of balance in the rest of their life such as work, free time, and dating preforming the ultimate act of juggling.
As the Elderly gets older they need someone to help them with task they no longer can perform on their own such as eating, bathing, or going to the restroom, the elderly being to become forgetful, slower, and hard of hearing. Sandwich Generationers usually accompany their parents with these tasks but even that gets overwhelming, resulting in high priced nursing homes, assisted living, and medical care. 68% of family caregivers provided financial support, 41% change hours at work, and 13% resign from their jobs and careers to accommodate the needs (Eisenberg). With greater life expectantly for the aging parents and grandparents follows more intense care prior to generations before.
31.2 % of adult students are living at home once completing college (Dickler). With employment being difficult to find from not having the required experience and higher education than a bachelor’s makes it hard for younger generation to live on their own. Moving back home is known to be the best solution for students to give them the major opportunity to pay back students loans and build emergency funds while still being able to live in a stable home. Leaving the Sandwich generationers also known as their parents to pay things such as phone bills, utilities, food supply and subscription services. So many adult children are still highly dependent on their parents to help them out with expenses.
This doesn’t include small children that are under the ages of 18 to parents the age of 35 or older. In the book “Families as they are” Elizabeth Gregory stated in her article that 1 in 7 children will be born the women ages 35 and over (Risman & Rutter). I think this is worse for the pockets if the sandwich generationer is already caregiver to a parent and start a family a little latter than the norm right in the middle of that. Considering if a parent doesn’t receive Women, Infant, and children (WIC) nutrition services then parent must pay for formula and proper nutrition which is costly, especially if they don’t decide to breastfeed or cannot apply for government food resources. Then there are school age children who need help homework and have after school/ extracurricular activities they participate in. School supplies, clothing, shoes, etc. are things school age children need as well as time, and attention.
Sandwich generations feel that they hold some sort of expectation. The cost to care for both old and young have increased and will continue to only increase in future sandwich generationers. Strutted activities, travel, transportation, entertainment, media and, medical finances cost money and loads of it. These finances will begin to tear families apart from one another. Cutting back money from one end and placing it in another trying to make everything work out.
62 %of caregivers said they must make choices between spending time with friends and providing care and 57 % of caregivers said they must make choices between spending time with a spouse or partner and providing care (Eisenberg). Friendships and intimate relationships as a sandwich generationer are a challenge itself to maintain. The children and parents of these middle age individuals are secondhand to receiving attention. They may begin feel threated by this individual forming new relationships with outsiders of the persons needing tending too. Caregivers may ask themselves how much time is too much time, how to find equality in time for both children and elderly parties, how to distinguish fire between emotions, and more importantly how to successfully deal with guilt when not meeting everyone around them needs and expectations.
Policies that should be in place for individuals that are being squeezed should be paid family leave, child care benefits, financial planning assistance that doesn’t break the bank while trying to maintain it, and more flexible work schedules without consequences and repercussions. This lets the middle age individual accomplish work duties, task, and errands without having to call out. If calling out is a problem then depending what type of care plan is in place the person should be able to qualify for paid leave. Leaving the employer to take the situation into consideration for how long the individual should be out of work. Employers could also release burden by offering child care benefits. By employers offering some of these benefits mention shows the sandwiched individual that they are supported in their place of work.
People living longer, waiting longer to have children, and children staying at home longer is creating a pressure cooker for the individuals sandwiched in-between. This need is increasing due to the aging population. However, it seems that rather than creating methods to improve life for the aging member our federal, state, and local governments are making life more difficult with cost house housing, food, and medical insurance. Essential anyone juggling the generational demands of caring for aging parents and children should come up with a plan and stick to it. Consistency is key to successfully following out any plan. Those sandwiched in between their own families and parents also need to remember that they are human and must also care for themselves. These individuals must accept these real-life changes making the new normal situations smoother, and not as complicated.