Surprising Facts About ‘Sandwich Generation’ Caregivers You Need to Know

Every year, more and more middle-aged adults are finding themselves in the position of caring for their children and their aging parents. Sociologists have dubbed this broadening cross-section of society the “sandwich generation,” because these family members are “sandwiched” in between older and younger family members.

There are many aspects to being a sandwiched caregiver. Planning ahead at the outset of a new year is probably the most advantageous time to take action.

The Sandwich Generation is defined as those with at least one living parent over the age of 65, and raising at least one child under the age of 18, or financially supporting a young adult child, perhaps in college. Today, the National Caregiving Alliance estimates roughly 13 million Americans currently fit into this category.

Other surprising facts about this noble demographic include, but are not limited, to:

Most sandwich adults are between the ages of 40 and 59 years old, and work full-time.

Studies show that performing dual care responsibilities for older and younger loved ones can bring families together, but often in the midst of hardship.

Nearly half of all adults in the U.S. between the ages of 40 and 59 fall into the sandwich category, with about one in seven, or 15 percent, providing financial assistance to an elder parent and child.

Married adults are more likely than unmarried adults to be sandwiched between their parents and children.

More affluent adults, or those with annual incomes of $100,000 or more, are more likely to provide dual care support.

Among those with a parent age 65 or older and a dependent child, 31 percent say they “always” feel rushed.

Many sandwich adults say their parents rely on them for emotional support.

Aging parents and younger children often require health care, financial assistance and other forms of support. These demands can be especially burdensome, in addition to regular personal and professional obligations.

As with any caregiver, it is critically important to leverage assistance from other family members, and to develop coping strategies. One of the most important strategies is taking care of yourself. Do not wait to learn more about how to protect yourself as a Sandwich Generation Caregiver and those you love who you are providing care for.

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