FEATURE ARTICLE
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FROM ALWAYS BEST CARE

The Sandwich Generation

by Tonja Edelman, MSW

If you know someone who is juggling care needs for an aging parent, in addition to caring for their own children, then you know someone in the "sandwich” generation. These people find themselves "sandwiched” between two generations that need regular assistance and supervision. According to the Pew Research Center, one out of every 8 Americans (12.5%) between the ages of 40-60 are raising a child and caring for a parent at the same time. In fact, the National Alliance for Caregiving estimates that 12.9 million people care for both children and parents.

While caring for family members can be rewarding, the stress related to caring for two generations can often strain relationships, physical health, and even mental health. Caregiving duties usually fall to the women in a family. A national alliance for caregiving study showed that approximately 66 percent of family caregivers are women. The typical caregiver is a 49-year-old woman caring for her widowed 69-year-old mother who does not live with her, and more than 37 percent have children or grandchildren under 18 years old living with them.

Balance is essential for the "sandwiched” caregiver, and it is helpful to prioritize and find ways to combine caregiving tasks when possible. Involving children in caretaking of the older adult and bringing the older adult to children’s activities are two ways to manage caregiving tasks. This can also help a child and the older adult to become more involved with each other’s activities.

As a Franchise Operations Trainer with Always Best Care Senior Services and Geriatric Social Worker and over 18 years of experience working with older adults and their families, I have seen the emotional and financial stress to "sandwiched” caregivers who are managing a parent’s medical care and appointments, finances, filling out insurance papers and purchasing medications – all in addition to their parental and professional duties. I also know the relief that comes to families when they trust outsourcing care to senior care professionals such as those employed with companies like Always Best Care Senior Services.

If you are a person who is a member of the sandwich generation and you would like more information on ways to alleviate sandwiched caregiver stress, contact a Care Coordinator at any of the individually owned and operated Always Best Care Senior Services offices located throughout the country. To find the Always Best Care office nearest you, please visit www.alwaysbestcare.com.

Tonja Edelman, MSW, is a Franchise Operations Trainer at Always Best Care Senior Services, and a former Deputy Public Conservator. Through its network of independently owned and operated franchises, Always Best Care Senior Services provides non-medical in-home care, assisted living placement and skilled home health care for seniors across the country. Visit Always Best Care Senior Services at www.alwaysbestcare.com.

Always Best Care Senior Services

Always Best Care Senior Services (www.alwaysbestcare.com/) is based on the belief that having the right people for the right level of care means peace of mind for the client and family. Always Best Care Senior Services has assisted over 25,000 seniors, representing a wide range of illnesses and personal needs. This has established the company as one of the premier providers of in-home care, assisted living placement assistance, and skilled home health care.

January, 2011

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