The Jones family achieved a level of harmony while working together as a team, which initially started as a desire to save Jodi, who is caught in the sandwich generation, from becoming overwhelmed.
Who qualifies as a member of the sandwich generation? According to Pew Research, members of the sandwich generation are mostly middle-aged: 71 percent of members are ages forty to fifty-nine, 19 percent are younger than age forty, and 10 percent are age sixty or older. Men and women are equally likely to be members of the sandwich generation.41
Relationships are a key element to an individual’s well-being throughout their life span.42 But whether it is work, education, marriage or the dissolution of a marriage or partnership, military service, or travel, distance exacerbates the challenges of being caught in the sandwich generation. Another popular expression for this upside-down responsibility is role reversal. The child must take on the role of the parent. Psychologically, let alone physically or financially, this is not an easy task.
As we saw with the Jones family, becoming caught in the sandwich generation typically starts with just “helping out.” A chore here or there. Gradually, caregiver responsibilities increase along with care needs. Since it appears that you are handling things, other family members or friends may not even be aware or want to acknowledge the impact it is having on both you and the care recipient. Sharing Jodi’s story as she and her family move through the three simple steps is a way to introduce the topic and suggest a way to formulate a plan.
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