This is a relatively new term for a generation that’s emerging who are caring for both their children and parents. The sandwich generation most often refers to parents in their late 40s through to their 60s, who are sandwiched between caring for children and their elderly parents, including distance caring for elderly parents.
In 2011 a UK carer survey showed 60% of people in the sandwich generation were between 40-54 years of age.
There are a number of factors for the growth of the sandwich generation, such as an increasingly ageing population, and women choosing a career first and having their children later, in their 30s and 40s.
This is in addition to many more people starting a second family and also those in their 50s and 60s who are retiring early. Estimates suggest 50% of people in their sixties who are retiring now will have one or both parents still living.
Another factor is that in the UK in 2013, 26% of children in the age group of 20-34 years (more men than women) were living at home with their parents.
If you’re part of this sandwich generation, it can impact on your life, both financially and emotionally. You may still have a mortgage to pay, be raising your children or supporting them in higher education, in addition to supporting your parents with their care needs. These can range from cooking for them, driving them to doctor’s appointments or outside activities, to helping them with basic activities of daily living, such as washing and dressing.
Club sandwich generation
Alternatively you may be part of the club sandwich generation. This is a term used to describe a generation of people who are caring for elderly parents at the same time as giving child care to grandchildren (known as GRGs, grandparents raising grandchildren), while supporting their own children who still live at home. So, you may be in your 30s and 40s and caring for your parents, children and grandchildren.
Either way the pressures, emotional, psychological and financial, remain the same with either the sandwich or club generations. For more information and support on these pressures, take a look at the following articles.