Rising to the challenge: caring for the sandwich generation
More and more Australians are juggling caring for children at home along with increasingly dependent elderly parents – they’re called the sandwich generation; and it’s a dilemma we can no longer afford to ignore.
If you’re reading this, you might be one of the roughly 1.5 million Australians currently feeling the pressure from both sides of your family – children living at home, and parents who are increasingly dependent themselves.
You may also – like us – be wondering who came up with this term ‘sandwich generation’ anyway? Surely nobody in that situation wants to be visualising any white bread concoctions of the kind hastily slapped together for the school lunchbox, or for mum to have with her pills? (And on that note – did you remember to eat lunch today?)
But while ‘sandwich’ might not be our favourite word for this stressful state of affairs, it does help to describe what is in fact a fairly new issue, unique to our time. Yes, people have always had children and parents – but these days what we’re seeing is the intersection across generations of people having children later in life, those children often staying home longer (thanks, Sydney house prices), expensive child care, and life expectancy increasing.
And, as with anything, something’s always got to give – and in this case it’s often the well-being of the ‘sandwiched’ (unpaid and statistically more likely to be female) carer who lacks time to invest in their own health and well-being (sound familiar?). But the implications extend even further, with not only personal finances and career growth – but productivity across the economy likely to be taking a hit too, as these carers are either taking time off work or even taking themselves out of the workforce altogether.
In some fairly damning findings out of the US (and the situation in Australia is likely to be comparable) – employees caring for elderly parents were more likely to be in poor health themselves, more likely to report depression and stress, and more likely to miss days at work. The report’s recommendation was clear: “Employers can serve the best interests of their employees as well as those of their corporation by anticipating and responding to the challenges of eldercare for their employees” – and this back was in 2010, with the issue only growing as the population continues to age
Another consideration is the upshot of this situation for the next generation: what happens when your kids find themselves in this so-called ‘sandwich’ and your health and financial situation has been compromised as a result of the sacrifices you’re making today?
How can we help?
Whether you’re caring for an elderly parent yourself, or are helping mum or dad navigate their options – this isn’t a burden you should have to shoulder alone.
Aged care is a broad and complex area – and one in which you can hardly be expected to become an expert overnight… whilst raising your own kids and juggling a career, and maybe even finding time look after yourself.
That’s where we come in.
- Do your elderly parents want to receive care whilst remaining in their home?
- Do they need help coming up with a financial plan to fund their care?
- Will their house need modifications to enable them to stay at home longer?
- Do you want your parent/s to have the best choices available to them in their older years, without sacrificing your own wellbeing making that happen?
We can help you navigate these considerations and more, and connect you with vetted, high quality service providers and products, then assist you and your family with each step along the way.