If you are “sandwiched” between the needs of your parents and your children; Congratulations, you are most likely a Boomer and officially one out of seven middle-aged adults caring for aging parents and adult children. While the rewards for caring for those we love can be wonderful, the costs, financially and emotionally can be overwhelming.
The growing trend, over the course of the past 30 years, is that more middle-aged adults are caring for their adult children and their parents. This trend has not been seen since the turn of the century. Some families have created intergenerational households where three, or more, generations live under the same roof. This creates unique joys and challenges. For still other families, adult children and aging parents do not live under the same roof but are dependent upon the “sandwiched generation” for financial support. Either arrangement has tremendous financial, as well as emotional, implications for the ones in the middle.
It is important that boundaries are set and expectations are understood. Most adults, the young, those in the middle and those in advanced age, would prefer to be independent. It is important to respect and embrace that premise. There is a delicate balance between respecting one’s need for independence and one’s equally important need for nurture and support. The reality, that the sandwich generation must work to provide for everyone, necessitates that those that are
able-bodied, work together in the household. The very real needs of each of the generations are very different. It can be quite a balancing act.
Families can be quite creative in meeting the needs of their families. When the young adults and the middle-aged adults are engaged in daily living patterns, which in many cases, involves working outside of the home, the care for the senior generation presents unique challenges. There are safety issues, personal care issues, self-esteem issues, social and financial issues. Aging in place, is for many, the preferred environment in which to live and the most cost-effective means to provide excellent care and oversight. The bonds and relationships forged between a qualified caregiver and a senior can ease the load experienced by each generation. As a Boomer myself, I have a tendency to think I can juggle everything quite nicely on my own. The reality is we all need a hand now and again.