Sandwich Generation – Taking Care of Mom While Still Raising Your Kids


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By  Greg Bechard

Owner of Home Instead Senior Care Mississauga

Three Generation Family Having Dinner at Home

Advice from Senior Care Experts

If you ever watched the American television show from the 1970s called The Waltons, you might have been enamoured with their family life. Set during the Depression of the 1930s in the mountains of rural Virginia, John Walton, Sr. ekes out a living for his brood. The family includes John Sr. and his wife, their seven children, and his parents living under one roof. Throughout the series, these multiple generations make the most of the hard realities of the world. Not only did John and his wife Olivia lead their family, but they could also be typecast as a Sandwich Generation family.

Today, more and more people find themselves stuck between two worlds. They are raising their children, and they care for their parents. This situation comprises of struggles and triumphs, including a tight-knit family. However, the stress that lands on the primary caregiver may leave them exhausted, guilt-ridden, and in need of some respite. Home Healthcare professionals such as the ones found at Home Instead Senior Care Mississauga bring relief to families. We support families and their loved ones through these challenging seasons of life.

Understand the Sandwich Generation and Caring for Seniors

Most of us never dreamed we would be in the position of caring for our children and our parents at the same time. With the increase of life expectancies and the delay in starting families, many middle-aged adults are living with this stress and responsibility. Understanding what it is and some of the challenges involved will better arm you for this new phase of life:

  • Definition and History: Originally coined in the 1980s by an American social worker, the term refers to men and women who find themselves taking care of both their children and their parents at the same time. Later in the 1990s, the term was broken down into categories:
    • Traditional: Those caught between taking care of aging parents and their own children.
    • Club Sandwich: Two scenarios make up this category:
      • People in their 50s and 60s handling their aging parents, their adult children, and their grandchildren.
      • People in their 30s-40s who have young children and take care of aging parents and grandparents
    • Open Faced: Anyone involved in elder care
  • Challenges: Men and women are affected by this new phenomena, but the majority of the time, women are usually the caretakers. No matter who is taking care of Mom, the challenges exist and place burdens on all parties.
    • Financial – Taking care of an elderly parent requires resources that are already allocated to an immediate family.
    • Stress – When you are stuck in the middle, the stress mounts. Many times, guilt creeps up as the caregiver continually makes choices between immediate family needs and parental needs.
    • Depression – When finances are tight, and stress is high, depression and burnout take over.
    • Career Stagnation – Sometimes it is necessary to step down from a position or pass up a promotion to care for the needs of the family.

Senior Home Health Care Provides Balance to Your Hectic Situation

Take this situation by the horns and make a plan to enjoy these times with your parents, your spouse, and your children. Use the services of a home care professional from Home Instead Senior Care as a proactive step in the right direction. Keep your life and your sanity intact with our help.

Call us at (905) 276-2273 to schedule a no-obligation in-home consultation. Learn more about the compassionate, quality home care we deliver each day to families in our Mississauga community.



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