Caught In the Middle: The Sandwich Generation

Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, the Social Network Generation… we’ve all heard these labels tossed about when describing a certain age group and demographic over the years, but the Sandwich Generation? No, I’m not referring to a sudden spike in popularity of turkey-on-rye lunch patrons. Rather, it’s a term now being used to describe a growing number of households that find themselves stretched between providing financial and practical help for both their adult children and their aging parents.

It’s a growing phenomenon due to the fact that people are living longer, and young adults are struggling to get a solid start in the grown-up world. In recent studies conducted by Bruce Gregor of Financial Demographics, the number of adults who have parents still alive, and are now grandparents as well, has more than doubled since 1970. The trend is going to grow as strides in medicine and science continue to improve and people simply live longer.

The financial and emotional strain on a family can be significant. Many sandwiched homes still have adult children living with them, as well as caring for an elderly parent. While there is no official data held for ‘sandwiched’ homes, the number is significant and sure to become more prevalent in the future.

So what can a sandwich family do about this? Proper financial planning is critical. When elderly parents move into the home, checking on their current and future financial health and how to integrate it into the family can be helpful. Also, with young adults around, spreading out the burdens of taking care of older parents can relieve pressure off the home. Having a large family unit around can often be less of a burden and more of a boon if everyone is pitching in to run an effective home.



Source: Business Day