For working parents, staying on top of childcare is difficult enough. Yet increasingly, American parents are being squeezed by the pressure of not only caring for their kids, but their aging parents as well.
So-called “sandwich caregivers” are the individuals caught looking after two dependent generations simultaneously. An article by Clare Ansberry in the Wall Street Journal found that the arrangement is on the rise. A 2017 study showed the proportion of those caring for their parents as well as children under the age of 18 doubled from 12.6%, in 1999, to 26% in 2015. A number of factors are contributing to the phenomenon. Because boomers are more likely to be single than previous generations, the spousal help that would ordinarily alleviate some of the caregiving burden now falls on their adult children. Additionally, medical intervention keeps people alive longer, and, often, that means an increase in management of chronic illnesses.
The strains that this arrangement can put on caregivers--who typically have jobs and are in their 30s, 40s or 50s-- range from financial and professional to personal and romantic.
Today on AirTalk, we discuss the predicament of “sandwich caregivers” and how the phenomenon will change as boomers start to reach their 80s. Are you a “sandwich caregiver”? Have you found resources to help you juggle your responsibilities? Join the conversation.
With guest host Lisa Napoli
Clare Ansberry, writer and author of the piece, “‘I Feel Very Torn Between My Child and My Dad’—Demands Intensify for the ‘Sandwich Generation’” for the Wall Street Journal; she tweets @clare_ansberry
Caroline Cicero, professor of gerontology and director of the Age Friendly University Initiative at USC