The “Sandwich Generation”… do you recognize yourself?
The term “sandwich generation” is a term that describes individuals who find themselves in the position
of being caregivers for their young or adult children as well as one or both aging parents. These
individuals tend to be women between the ages of 40-65.
With access to better medical care and healthier living options, people are living a lot longer, adult
children are delaying marriage/child bearing and are not leaving the family home as quickly as before
and, finally-many adult children return to live at home once their marital/common law relationships break
down. As a result, there is now a growing number of older adults ranging in age from 40-65 that are
being challenged by having to balance the needs of their own families and that of their aging parents
(Lingren and Decker, 1996).
Support needs are varied-they may be for simple daily living support or for full care responsibility. And
there tends to be a difference between how men offer support to that of how women offer support. Men
tend to support financially, whereas women tend to do the actual physical caring. Caregiving has
historically been largely perceived as the task of a woman. For women this translates into finding the
time, energy and of course the resources to manage and balance the demands of the aging parents, the
needs of dependant and adult children and the responsibility and attention required by work/career. (This
is a typical time to be at the peak of your career and you may have extensive workplace demands).
This is a tall order to fill! All of these demands can have a huge negative impact on the caregiver’s
physical, psychological, emotional, social or financial health and wellbeing. It can be taxing to say the
very least! The biggest factor is quite frequently stress, that on its own leads to a myriad of psychological
problems. One study suggests that up to 50% of sandwich generation caregivers suffer from anxiety and
If you recognize yourself as a member of the “sandwich generation,” counselling can help! Your
caregiving role is an important one but you need to access support for yourself as well. I can help you to
deal with the stress, anxiety and depression and help you to better deal with all of this by teaching you
stress management and coping.