What is the sandwich generation? In honor of National Women’s History Month & Social Work Month
Paige Jardim, 48, received the poor news just a year ago that her mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Quickly, she moved her mom from her own home in St. Louis, MO to her home in St. Petersburg, FL.
“My life had changed overnight,” she says. “I went from taking my daughter to soccer practice and watching her grow up to seeing my mom rapidly decline and also needing help. She was always healthy and active, so we really didn’t have a plan in place for something like this.”
Paige is one of the millions of sandwich generation caregivers in the U.S.
The term “sandwich generation” was coined by social worker, Dorothy A. Miller in 1981 to describe adult children who are “sandwiched” between caring for their own children as well as their aging parents. Thank you, Dorothy, for describing what so many individuals are experiencing right now. March happens to be International Women’s Month & Social Work Month and here at North Star Senior Advisors, we honor you, Dorothy, and all social workers for your hard work and dedication.
To show how much we care, our team delivered face masks and umbrellas all throughout March in the community. North Star has you covered! It was also Umbrella Month so check out our video, Umbrella Feat. North Star Senior Advisors here to put a smile on your face.
Let’s learn more about the sandwich generation and how you can find help below.
Facts about the sandwich generation
The Pew Research Center and National Caregiving Alliance (NCA) perform regular surveys on caregiving habits. Several interesting statistics show what makes this hard-working group unique:
- “Nearly half (47%) of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially.”
- “About one-in-seven middle-aged adults (15%) is providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child.”
- “Roughly half (48%) of adults ages 40 to 59 have provided some financial support to at least one grown child in the past year, with 27% providing the primary support.”
- “Among all adults, 75% say adults have a responsibility to provide financial assistance to an elderly parent who is in need; only 52% say parents have a similar responsibility to support a grown child.”
Some adults spend years as a sandwich generation caregiver, while others experience only a brief overlap. As life expectancy increases, couple with financial insecurity, more and more seniors are starting to require help from their families. Also, Millennials are starting families later than Baby Boomer Gen as well as Gen X parents, which is causing more multigenerational households.
Financial weight of caregiving
Adult children having to care for their own children as well as the aging parents have had to spend a lot more than if they were only caring for their children.
In addition to this increased economic load, sandwich generation caregivers often sacrifice their own retirement and savings to help aging relatives. This likely will increase the probability they’ll have to rely on their own children someday repeating the same cycle.
Ask for help if you are experiencing sandwich generation stress
Remember that you aren’t a burden, and you deserve care just like everyone else. Please contact North Star Senior Advisors to learn about support from counselors, support groups, and even guidance on home care options or senior living near you. We offer a free service to provide advice, direction, and be a shoulder to lean on when you need it most. We are paid by the senior living community but if you decide not to go that route, we are still here for you and can offer several resources.
Feel free to check out our website’s Video Gallery full of educational topics for seniors and families here. At your leisure, you can choose the category you would like to learn more about and reach out to us for further questions.
Senior care can provide relief to sandwich generation caregivers
There are several types of senior care, and there’s no one-size-fits-all option for families seeking help for aging loved ones. Many multi-generational caregivers want to keep their aging parents at home, but sometimes safety becomes a concern and constant caregiving can also lead to caregiver burnout as well as a mental and emotional strain. Home care and senior living and respite are all options for relief:
Home care agencies provide care in the home, generally, charge by the hour. The average rate is $18-$23/hr which may be beneficial a few hours a week but can really add up if 24/7 care is needed. Also, the care aides that come into the home don’t provide nursing care but do provide a combination of household help and personal care such as:
- Help with activities of daily living (ADLs)- this can be bathing, dressing, showering and toileting
- Meal preparation
- Light housekeeping
Senior living is an umbrella term for independent living, assisted living memory care, or skilled nursing. While independent living is for those that are completely independent, (likely not for a loved one whose caregiver is caring for them) assisted living is a great option that combines an independent lifestyle with your own apartment and space with the option of care from caregivers and nurses right outside your door. Plus, three home cook meals are provided as well as lively activities, transportation to outings and Dr. appointments and much more. It is similar to living in the clubhouse having the option to do whatever you like without having to leave if you don’t want to. Memory care is an assisted living community but it is geared for those that have Alzheimer’s or other related Dementia’s. The community is a locked environment for their safety and can only leave if they are accompanied but the staff is training and typically certified to care for those individuals. Skilled nursing homes are for those that need around-the-clock nursing care or have a higher acuity of care. Most assisted living and memory care communities can do a lot of what a skilled nursing home can do minus just a few things but at North Star, we can help guide you to the right community based on care needs and budget.
Respite care is offered by many assisted living communities which means instead of living their long term, you only stay temporality, typically up to 30 days. With this temporary relief of caregiving duties, caregivers know loved ones will be cared for by people who understand the unique needs of aging adults, while seniors can enjoy meals and activities geared toward seniors just like assisted living. It can even be a “trial run” to help determine if long-term assisted living would benefit your family. However, it is important to know that in the state of FL, no matter what assisted living community you choose, their contracts are month to month. This means even if you move in as a long-term resident, you can leave at any time as long as you give a 30-day notice to vacate.
For more information about North Star Senior Advisors, Senior Living, support groups, or more, call us today at 407-796-1582 or visit northstarsa.com.