The sandwich generation is typically defined as adults who are “sandwiched” between taking care of their aging parents and their younger children. There are three variations of this term:
The Traditional Sandwich Generation: Adults in their 40s or early 50s, who care for their elderly parents and typically adult children, both of whom need financial and emotional assistance.
The Club Sandwich Generation: Older adults in their 50s or 60s who have aging parents, adult children, and possibly grandchildren. The term can also refer to adults in their 30s or 40s with younger children, elderly parents, and grandparents.
The Open Faced Sandwich Generation: Those involved in elder care in a non-professional capacity.
The sandwich generation faces unique challenges in how they navigate life. In this post, we will examine sandwich generation facts, stresses, and tips.
Sandwich Generation Stress
Caring for aging parents and younger children can create high stress levels among this generation. These hardships include:
- Difficulty achieving work/life balance
- Feeling unappreciated
- Spending most of their income on their parents and children, leaving little finances for themselves (Caregivers spend an average of $6,954 per year on their loved one)
- Neglecting hobbies and interests
- Anxiety and depression
- Feelings of resentment toward those they care for
- Difficulty managing relationships
Tips for the Sandwich Generation
There is no tried-and-true way to solve all of the stresses of the sandwich generation but there are a few steps you can take. These include:
- Share the workload by giving your children chores around the house or receive help from older family members with paperwork and caregiving.
- Hire some help. If it’s financially feasible, hire a professional for help with chores, caregiving, and/or babysitting
- Practice self care. Make sure you get proper rest, nutrition, and participate in activities you enjoy.
- Ask for help. Do not be afraid to ask your employer for a more flexible schedule or to ask family and friends for financial, physical, or mental help.
- Find quality care. Caregivers such as those at Griswold Home Care can provide assistance as often or as little as needed.
- Find a local support group. Speaking with others in similar situations can make you feel less lonely.
Sandwich Generation Statistics
According to Mass Mutual’s 2018 State of the American Family study, the following is true about sandwich generation issues:
- 55% perform chores for parents and/or in-laws
- 49% manage parents’ and/or in-laws’ finances
- 47% spend, on average, two hours per day caring for parents and/or in-laws
- 31% are financially responsible for parents and/or in-laws
- Nearly 25% of sandwich generation families are Hispanic
- 27% of sandwich generation families say it adds financial and emotional stress on their families
While 31% of sandwich generation families struggle to find a balance between work and home, they find ways to achieve it:
- 45% work flexible hours
- 35% receive help from family with chores
- 30% work from home
- 17% receive help with childcare from family
The study also noted how the sandwich generation views finances:
- 78% prioritize having a stable source of income
- 74% place a higher priority on “not becoming a financial burden” to their families
- 55% have three or more months of expenses saved