Are you the meat or the bread? Welcome to the Sandwich Generation. The relationship between grandkids, parents, and grandparents is a tricky one, with all sorts of different ways it can go. Factors that can influence these dynamics include different generational cultures, and stereotypes that each generation may hold about the others. Albeit temporarily, the grandparent may experience a kind of “reverse aging” when engaged with grandchildren, making for great memories. Of course, there’s the physical, financial, and mental burdens that can fall on each generation. Navigating Life’s Changes is exciting, sad, scary and eventual. How we manage is important.
THE SANDWICH GENERATION
One of the most common dynamics in modern families is the Sandwich Generation. This term was coined by two social workers, Dorothy Miller and Elaine Brody, in 1981. it refers to people who are simultaneously responsible for caring for their own children and their aging parents. Some reasons for its significance are:
- The aging of the population: The Baby Boomers are now entering their retirement years, and many of them are living longer than previous generations. This means that there are more elderly people who need care, and fewer young people available to provide it. Couple that with the fact that their parents may be living longer it may be confusing about who is caring for who!
- The increasing number of women in the workforce: In the past, it was more common for women to stay home to care for their children and elderly parents. However, today, more and more women are working outside the home. This means that they have less time to devote to caregiving.
- The rising cost of childcare: The cost of childcare has been rising steadily in recent years. This makes it difficult for many families to afford to pay for childcare, which can force them to rely on family members for help.
- The decline of social support networks: In the past, it was more common for families to live close together and provide support to each other. However, today, many families are more geographically dispersed. This can make it more difficult for families to provide care for each other.
- The lack of affordable housing: The cost of housing has also been rising in recent years. This makes it difficult for many families to find affordable housing, which can force them to live in multigenerational households.
- The decline of the traditional family: The traditional family, with two parents and two or more children, is becoming less common. This is due to factors such as divorce, single parenthood, and delayed childbearing. As a result, more and more middle-aged adults are finding themselves responsible for caring for their children and their parents.
- The cultural expectation of caregiving: In many cultures, there is a strong expectation that adult children will provide care for their aging parents. This can add to the stress of the Sandwich Generation. They may feel obligated to provide care even when they may not be able to afford it or have the time or guilty if they can’t.
- More development of institutional style housing than affordable independent living. Today, there are more than 46 million older adults over age 65 living in the U.S.; by 2050, that number is expected to grow to almost 90 million. (Trends in the senior living industry, Baker Tilly US, LLP, Michael Edwin, Apr 21, 2022) Trends in the senior living industry
One of the biggest challenges facing the Sandwich Generation is financial. Caring for elderly parents can be expensive. The reality is that long-term care is less available and far more expensive. The effects of the Great Recession, Covid and the uncertainty of current world and national events may have great impact. Too few older people have accumulated the resources to bear the potential burdens of care. Sandwich Generation parents may find themselves struggling to make ends meet. They may even have to take 2nd jobs. Another challenge is emotional. Sandwich Generation parents may feel guilty about not being able to spend as much time with their own children as they would like. The sandwich generation is changing. The stress remains.
IMPRESSIONS OF THE ELDERLY
Children often have a very positive impression of their grandparents. They see them as wise, loving, and fun. Grandparents can provide a sense of stability and continuity for children. They can also teach them about history, culture, and family traditions.
However, are children getting the wrong Impression of the elderly from their sandwiched parents? Children of Sandwich Generation parents may get the wrong impression of the elderly from their parents. For example, if their parents complain about their elderly parents, the children may develop a negative view of the elderly. They may think that all elderly people are frail, dependent, and a burden. This can be a harmful stereotype, as it can lead to discrimination and neglect of the elderly. Parents should remember that they may be the persons being complained about by their kids in the future. Sewing the right seeds is probably a good idea. Sandwich Generation Stress: 6 Ways to Cope While Raising Kids and Caring for Elderly Parents
What’s needed is for children to learn that the difference between the young (themselves) and older people (their parents and grandparents) is the passage of time. Both share similar dreams and aspirations, albeit at differing times in history. Kids should be empathetic and understanding, looking at these relationships as an opportunity to learn from those who have been there. Just because something has “Never Happened” in their lifetime doesn’t mean it Never Happened Ever!
HOW EACH RELATES TO THE OTHERS
- Grandchildren are often very curious about their grandparents and want to learn about their lives and experiences. They may also look up to their grandparents and see them as role models.
- Parents are often protective of their children and want to make sure that they are safe and well-cared for. They may also feel a sense of responsibility to their own parents, and they may want to make sure that they are getting the support they need.
- Grandparents often enjoy spending time with their grandchildren and sharing their love and wisdom with them. They may also feel a sense of purpose in helping to raise their grandchildren.
Parents may see their own parents as sources of wisdom and support, or they may feel resentful of their parents’ interference in their lives. Grandparents may see their grandchildren as a source of joy and renewal, or they may feel burdened by the responsibility of caring for them.
When grandparents spend time with their grandchildren, they may experience a kind of reverse aging. Grandchildren can often bring out the child in the grandparent.
They may also be more playful and spontaneous and may feel more energetic rediscovering their own childhood. This can be a very positive experience for grandparents, and it can help them to stay young at heart.
Spending time with grandchildren can be a lot of fun. Grandparents can teach their grandchildren new things, play games with them, and have adventures together. They may take on new interests and activities. This can be a positive experience for both the grandparent and the grandchild. The grandparent can enjoy being a mentor and role model, and the grandchild can benefit from the grandparent’s wisdom and experience.
IMPACT OF GENERATIONAL CULTURES
The relationship between grandchildren, parents, and grandparents can also be influenced by generational cultures. Each generation has its own unique set of values, beliefs, and expectations.
The different generational cultures can also play a role in the dynamics between grandchildren, parents, and grandparents. For example, Baby Boomers and Millennials have very different views on parenting. Baby Boomers tend to be more traditional in their parenting style. Millennials are more likely to be open to new ideas and approaches. This can lead to conflict between Baby Boomer parents and Millennial grandchildren. Each generation may have different expectations about how children should be raised.
Grandparents and grandchildren may also have different views on technology. Grandparents who grew up without computers and smartphones may not be as comfortable with technology as their grandchildren. This can lead to misunderstandings and frustration, as grandparents and grandchildren may not be able to communicate effectively with each other. We talk about Technostress, it’s a very real thing and not all of us have kids to call upon to show us how easy all this high tech stuff can be. Bridging the technology generation gap can bring families closer
It is important for each generation to be respectful of the other’s culture. This means being willing to listen to each other’s points of view and trying to understand where the other is coming from. It also means being willing to compromise.
Each generation may also have stereotypes about the others. For example, baby boomers may stereotype millennials as being lazy and entitled. Millennials, on the other hand, may stereotype baby boomers as being out of touch and old-fashioned. These stereotypes can lead to conflict and misunderstandings between the different generations.
It is important to remember that stereotypes are just that – stereotypes. They do not apply to everyone in a particular group. Also, stereotypes can cut both ways, so it’s important to get to know each individual on their own terms and avoid making assumptions based on their age or generation.
However, there are some general dynamics that tend to play out in these relationships. By understanding these dynamics, we can create more positive and supportive relationships between grandchildren, parents, and grandparents.
There are a number of reasons why people are becoming part of the Sandwich Generation. One reason is that people are having children later in life, which means that they are still raising children when their own parents start to need care. Another reason is that people are living longer, which means that they are more likely to have both young children and aging parents at the same time.
The Sandwich Generation can face a number of challenges. They may have to juggle work, childcare, and eldercare responsibilities. They may also have to deal with financial constraints, as they may have to pay for childcare, eldercare, and other expenses.
Despite the challenges, the Sandwich Generation can also experience a number of rewards. They may feel a sense of satisfaction from being able to care for both their children and their parents. They may also develop closer relationships with both generations.
The Sandwich Generation – Movie
The Sandwich Generation – Movie those caught between their aging parents and young children, includes some 20 million Americans. In this emotionally charged account of family caregiving, filmmaker Julie Winokur and her husband, photojournalist Ed Kashi, expose their personal lives with unflinching candor. Winokur and Kashi uprooted their two children and their business in order to move 3,000 miles cross-country to care for Winokur’s father, Herbie.