Type: Research
Pages: 4 | Words: 964
Reading Time: 5 Minutes

A lot of middle-age people have the daunting task of caring and support of their growing children and aging parents or family members. This is a situation, when people feel themselves in the middle of this task. The generation of such individuals, who have to be responsible for their children and parents, is called “the sandwich generation”. This term has been known since 1981 and became more popular lately. Nowadays, more and more scholars pay their attention to the increase of individuals, who are joining the sandwich generation, because it is likely to grow faster than in the last century. The generation of middle-age adults is facing the daunting problem regarding their personal life, growing children, and aging parents. According to Umberger (2010), “The Sandwich Generation, those who may feel they are being pulled in all directions when taking care of aging parents and young children, are invited to a session that will explore the problem”.

The Main Challenges of the Sandwich Generation

The research asserts that the term “sandwich generation” is a new one, and not many people have even heard about it, more than 25% of American families are involved in a care giving process of their children and aging parents. It has become a reality in the United States, because the number of individuals, who have to support their aging parents and growing children, is growing (Bertini, 2011). Those of the sandwich generation are middle-age individuals have to know how to cope with this reality. Many people realize that they may be caught in the middle between their growing children and aging parents, what may lead them to a significant stress.

According to the research, 1 of every 8 Americans at the age of 40 to 60 is both raising children and caring for aging parents. This number is supposed to increase during next decades due to the baby boomers. The sandwich generation is the generation of middle-aged individuals, who need help and support in order to learn how to cope with these challenges. Many experts offer different ways to reduce stress of caregivers and maintain a healthy and normal life-style during these challenging years. O`Brien (2012) notes that, “because you’re both a conscientious parent and a dutiful child, you may be tempted to put your own needs after those of your aging parents and adult children if you find yourself in a sandwich generation scenario. Don’t”.

To be a part of the sandwich generation might affect individuals greatly. Individuals bond to its parents biologically and emotionally during their whole life. Thus, even when aging parents live in a distance, their children feel to be responsible for them. Quan (2009) notes that, “the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the roughly 20 million women in this sandwich generation will transfer $18 billion and devote 2.4 billion hours of their time to their children and their elder parents each year”.

Often these relationships between children and parents are a real drama. So, to be the sandwich generation is not an easy task, and to be a parent caregiver is rather challenging for their children. Actually, children become parents to their aging parents.

The Best Solutions

To be a part of the sandwich generation, one should find out proper solution in order to cope with this daunting task. It may depend on different factors, such as the financial wellbeing of the family, social status, possibilities to make changes into work schedule, etc. Having positive approach to an individual`s situation, it is quite possible to identify different solutions. Obviously, the better solution would be to change or leave the job in order to spend more time caring for parents and children. Unfortunately, this advice may be perfect for wealthy people. But in most cases, people care for their income and cannot afford to stay at home without work. In order to find ways for the better solution, all family members should do the following things:

  • Discuss and plan how this situation will affect the family and each individual. Identify what needs should be satisfied immediately.
  • Provide different mutual activities, such as watching TV, discus members` hopes and fears, invite friends and relatives for family events and weekends.
  • Continue to treat aging parents as individuals, who are full of energy.

It is important to consider that there are different programs and services that can give a professional assistance for aging people, who need help. Taking support from care giving organizations may help individuals to feel that they are not alone. Being a caregiver for aging parents and growing children is a new role for each sandwich generation individual. Bagolea (2000) acknowledges that “American families provide 80 to 90 percent of all in-home long term care services for their aging family members. These services offer their assistance to provide medical supervision, daily activities, psychological and financial support to those who are in need”.

Those, sandwiched between their own children and parents, have also to take care of themselves. They must learn how to accept the reality and changes in their life as a normal situation, and not as a complicated challenge. The research asserts that the sandwich generation is the largest segment of the American population. Experienced workers, who have to quit their jobs to take care of an aging parent, may affect the national industry more than $7 billion a year. Today, 52% of men and 48% of women are full time employees. Moreover, about 77% of caregivers admit that they work less effectively.


The sandwich generation, who is responsible for their own children and aging parents, has become of the greatest concern in the recent years. Therefore, the research should be done in order to protect those sandwiched and find out better solutions in order to help them with this daunting situation. The government organizations are prone to develop supporting programs for their citizens.

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