Necessity has made the sandwich generation expert jugglers. Not only do they have their own lives to lead, often with dual careers but they are the primary support for both older and younger family members. Here’s how the successful ones are managing to keep on juggling.
The current Sandwich Generation (SG) is the first generation to deal with family responsibilities on such an expanded scale. We have direct, personal experience with this within our own extended family, especially those who have more than a few children and are in constant “juggle mode”. Here are some observations on this situation, looking at the three generations in the sandwich.
The “older parents”
- are living longer. This means SG responsibilities are getting extended and stretched into the future, requiring more TIME and EFFORT than prior generations in the same position.
- have more stuff. The SG spends more time dealing with stuff, for all three generations, especially if they are involved in helping their parents downsize.
- are in downsizing mode whereas the SG is still in acquisition mode. On one hand, they are considering how to help trim their parents’ stuff while acquiring more stuff to support their own lifestyle.
Modern families are more spread out, requiring more time for the Sandwich Generation to visit and support their parents. Their own kids are often highly active with full schedules and need lots of parental time
Here are some suggestions for the Sandwich Generation in helping each layer in “the sandwich”:
A. The Parents
What the SG can do for their parents, especially if they need help.
- Form a network of support around their parents consisting of extended family members, neighbours, church friends and local volunteer services. This network can be further strengthened by hiring people to help their parents, if possible. In other words, they spread the responsibility widely.
- Hire people to do household maintenance work for themselves. The net result of all of this effort is the recovery of TIME they can spend with their parents, their children or themselves.
B. The Kids
What they can do to help with their children.
- carpool for kids’ activities
- start a neighbour “babysitting exchange” program
- have older children help younger ones learn daily routines
- create a neighbourhood website, in private mode, for exchanging expensive items such as car-seats, strollers, and sporting equipment.
- Take mini-breaks and special dates as a couple
- Spend time with their peer, sandwich generation families to relax, learn from each other and support each other in their dual roles.
Are you part of a sandwich generation family? How do you manage your responsibilities?
* You may notice some Canadian spelling in these posts. The words may look odd but that’s how we spell them. We’re used to it.
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Unless otherwise credited, all posts are happily authored with a quill pen …
Paul Ferri, Broker, ASA (Accredited Senior Agent)
RE/MAX Unique Inc. Brokerage*, Toronto, Canada
*Each office independently owned and operated.