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The month of July is the National Sandwich Generation Month.
The term sandwich generation refers to men and women supporting their parents and their children simultaneously. This generation of people tends to be middle-aged, 35-54, and still in the workforce. They are caring for aging parents as well as their own children. The term was coined by a social worker in 1981 who saw an increase in the number of adult children supporting their parents while also raising their own kids.
This time of life can be exhausting and financially difficult. If you are experiencing an increased need to assist your parents as they age while having kids at home, you’re likely part of the sandwich generation.
It’s Like Living Between Two Extremes
Depending on the ages of your parents and kids, you may feel like you are teetering between two sets of needs. While your children need unique help from you, so do your mom and dad. It can feel like two extremes and start wearing you out. Over time your children may need less of your attention while your parents may need more. Ultimately, your children grow up and out of the home while your parents may require more and have less independence.
Caring for Kids and Parents is Stressful
One study showed the sandwich generation as having the highest level of stress on a personal level. This comes from the constant complicated balancing act. These people have to deal with the varied needs of growing children as well as the delicate needs of aging parents. Add in issues like managing a career, marriage, and other aspects of adulting, and things can get very hard emotionally.
The Sandwich Generation Won’t Last Forever
Depending on what age your kids are when your parents need help as well as what age your parents are when they start needing help, you can expect to be stuck in the middle for a while. Thankfully, the situation won’t last forever though it may feel like it. Kids grow up and parents eventually pass away, at some point things will even out and the cycle will start over again for your children who may need to support you at some point in time.
Surviving the sandwich generation isn’t easy but it is possible to make things better. Making yourself a priority and refusing to become a martyr will help you make the most of a difficult situation. It’s an honor to care for family, both young and old but it’s crucial not to lose yourself in the process.
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This article provides general information and discussion about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this article, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having.