Chances are you’ve come across the phrase “Sandwich Generation” over the last few years. It’s a growing trend in our country in which people between the ages of 40 and 60 are sort of caught in the middle of raising their children and possibly caring for a parent or even both parents.
July is Sandwich Generation Month, a nationwide observance of the fact this phenomenon is happening. A survey by the Pew Research Center reveals that one in eight Americans between 40 and 60 are considered to be in the sandwich generation situation. For some families, it’s an added strain on finances, time away from work, and even adding a parent as a permanent household member.
Being involved in the field of senior living has given me a unique perspective about the sandwich generation. I’ve had many conversations with older adults who all tell me the same thing — “I don’t want to be a burden on my children.” What they really mean is that they don’t want to have to rely on their children to take care of their homes by doing the yard work or other home maintenance. They don’t want to burden their children for personal care or the possibility of having to drive them to doctors appointments or other errands. We all want to remain independent for as long as we can. That’s why researching a senior living community and eventually moving to a community makes sense for so many older adults.
Adult children I meet with appreciate knowing their parents can not only live independently at a senior living community, but also have access to health care, such as assisted living or skilled nursing, if they need such care later on. And statistics also show why this can be so important. Of the 20 million Americans caught in the sandwich generation, seven million of them are caring for their loved one from a distance.
Many adult children can and do take on the caring responsibility for their parents and don’t think twice about it. Every family has a different situation. But for those adults children who simply can’t for a variety of very valid reasons, knowing there are options is comforting. Here in our region, valuable resources are available through the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida at www.aaaswfl.org.
A senior living community also provides families peace of mind. That’s another reason why I so often hear an older adult tell me they’re moving to a senior living community as a gift to their children.
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Lee Blanchard is the director of sales for the Terraces at Bonita Springs. Send your questions to: SageAdviceForSeniors@yahoo.com or to Sage Advice for Seniors, 27180 Bay Landing Drive, Suite 7, Bonita Springs, 34135