The Sandwich Situation of Caregiving

August 20, 2019 (PRLEAP.COM) Lifestyle News
Is the Sandwich Generation the fast-growing population category? Maybe you've heard the term that describes this group, but what you may not know is that it is now consuming more and more of the population.

The Sandwich Generation is the generation of people who are caring for their aging parents while also supporting their own children. Merriam-Webster officially added the term to its dictionary in July 2006. At that time, the term described a very large group. Thirteen years later, the group is exponentially bigger.

Deb Zabin, LCSW, owner of Counseling and Resource Services, explained, "There are two simple reasons why the Sandwich Generation is increasing. People are living longer, and people are delaying when they start their families. You've got a growing group of people who have both an elderly parent(s) and young child(ren)."

The Sandwich Generation members are mostly middle-aged, or between the ages of 40-59, but the age range is now increasing. "Many people in their 60s are taking care of their parents, while also supporting teenage children," Zabin said. "The problem didn't exist as much when life expectancy was lower. Advances in medicine and healthcare are allowing people to live much longer. Conversely, people are completing advanced degree education and establishing their careers before starting families."

Adding to the Sandwich Generation time constraints is the travel. Family relocation now plays an even bigger role. While the primary caregiving of a senior usually falls to a family member, today's migrating society rarely sees an extended family living in close proximity to one another. "You have to add the travel time now. Families don't live in the same town or even in the same state anymore," Zabin added.

Extra help is the answer.
Rob Ruotolo, president of the Stamford, CT-based CareBuilders at Home, an in-home care service agency that helps seniors with daily living tasks, says, "We're in an industry that is growing rapidly. Families need to have dependable, trustworthy extensions of helpers."

Tackling both eldercare and childcare at once can take its toll with elevated levels of stress, financial hardship and depression. Learning how to tackle all of the responsibilities is the key. "We've witnessed the conflicted decision to ask for help," Ruotolo said. "We have to remind family members that it actually the senior who welcomes the help. They do not want to see their child stretched, stressed and unhappy. At the same time, our staff of care providers are extremely happy in their jobs and have a genuine fulfillment by being able to provide a helping hand. It works for everyone."

"Hiring caregiving support is also more affordable than you might think," Zabin said. Agencies have on-call assistance when last-minute changes occur, and some, like CareBuilders at Home, don't have any monthly or weekly hour commitments. "Sometimes it is as easy as a morning routine assistance or a mid-day transportation to a doctor's appointment. Something as simple as that eases everyone's schedule, and it's probably covered by insurance or long-term care policies," Ruotolo explained.

The role of the Sandwich Generation may be changing from total hands-on caregiving to managing the needs. "It's vital that the responsibilities of the Sandwich Generation adjust because the needs are getting greater," Zabin said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2017 National Population Projections that within just a couple decades (2030), older people are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history. Jonathan Vespa, a demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau, said, "By 2035, there will be 78.0 million people 65 years and older compared to 76.7 million people under the age of 18."

"We're ready to help," Ruotolo said. "Every day we have applicants as caregivers who walk-in and say, 'I want a job where I can make a difference and help other people.'"

CareBuilders at Home is one of the nation's leading home care providers for seniors. The company is known for its high-quality, personalized array of services that can help seniors stay at home and enjoy the comfort and familiarity that they have lived throughout their lives.

About CareBuilders at Home (CBaH): CareBuilders at Home is a private duty home division of ATC Healthcare Inc., an integrated healthcare services provider founded in 1983. For over three decades, CBaH has been helping people all over the United States with daily tasks and assistance in the comfort of their own home. The CBaH Stamford franchise is an official member of the Connecticut Association for Healthcare at Home and listed resource of The Seniors BlueBook. For more information about CBaH services in CT, visit the website and interact with the company on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Free consultation and evaluation appointments for residents in southwest CT can be made by calling 203-544-4285.

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