Caring For Kids and Parents
When does it happen…
We’ve heard and read the horrific stories of what the impact of Covid-19 has had on the elderly confined to long-term care facilities…
We’ve seen the impact to our friends and family when faced with providing care to an aging family member Heck, many, if not most, of us are dealing with the challenges ourselves… The fact is… we worry about not only our children but also our parents.
So, the question remains… When does it happen? When do we become our parents’ parent?
No one likes statistics and certainly no one wants to consider themselves as a statistic. The fact remains, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, the average age of the caregiver is 49.2 years old *.
Let’s think about this for a minute.
If the average age, today, of a caregiver is 49 and the caregiver’s parents were age 24/26 (average age of parents in 1971**) that places the parent’s ages, today, at 73/75.
Today, I’m age 60, my mother is 92 and my father was 86 when he passed away in 2001. I have both children and grandchildren that in many ways, my wife and I ‘parent’, or at best worry about daily. This coupled with my 92 year old mother, living next door (Everyone Loves Raymond…daily drama), we are a living example of the Sandwich Generation.
For those of us, the meat between the slices of bread in the sandwich, I recently came across a publication by Carol Bradley Bursack, Minding Our Elders, A Story from the Sandwich Generation: Caring for Kids and Parents.
p.s. Ironically, I'm noticing our daughter is now sliding into the role of being our parent.
"It’s very difficult for a person to provide the hands-on care all of the time"
- Carol Bradley Bursack, eldercare expert, syndicated newspaper columnist,
blogger and founder of the Minding Our Helpers website
...During the last few years of my caregiving, while my mother-in-law and my parents were still alive, my son was still having major health issues, and I was working full time, I read about the term “sandwich generation.” I remember thinking it was a clever concept, but it still didn’t occur to me that I was a member of this group. I was merely a caregiver and a mom.
Carol Bradley Bursack
Minding Our Elders
Maybe I didn’t have the time or the will to reflect on my own situation. That is the case with many caregivers. In fact, when I give presentations to groups of caregivers and professionals, I always stress self-identification. Caregiving is a job. When you have more than one generation to care for, it’s like working overtime or taking on a second job. Yes, sandwich generation is a very apt term. I was just an early practitioner and a slow learner when it came to recognizing what all I actually had on my plate.