The concept of the sandwich generation is not news, anymore. There is quite a bit of literature on what that generation is dealing with — raising kids (even adult children) on the one hand and caring for elderly parents on the other. The sandwich generation is the baby boomer group to which so many of us belong (including me).
TIME Moneyland, however, has an article that is worth at least an overview, here. You can find the entire article here, just without my added wisdom. 🙂
The article reinforces what we already know with some statistics:
Some 35% of boomers have been responsible for the care of an elderly parent, according to an AARP survey. That is up from 26% in 1998. Meanwhile, half of boomers are raising a young child, including grandkids, or providing financial assistance to an adult child, according to Pew Research Center. Go ahead—just try to retire.
Well, in this economic environment, who is retiring?!
- “68% of boomers have missed work in the last six months or left early due to care-giving duties for either a young child or an elderly parent”
- “47% of young boomers worry about how their care-giving duties affect their performance at work”
- “The No. 1 concern of older boomers as it relates to care giving is that their duties will force them to postpone retirement”
In our experience, at Support For Home, working with a great many members of the sandwich generation, the story is a bit different. Many family members that bring us on board have, in fact, been forced to retire (or go into semi-retirement) because of the demands on them as a family caregiver. For many of them, we are brought in to allow them to return to full-time work, earning those credits toward real retirement.
In our view, the issues of the sandwich generation may have become prominent with the baby boomers, but as the baby boomers age, the likelihood is that the generation behind them will pick up the sandwich generation mantle. The phenomenon will not be going away.
One of the most important strategies for families to employ as they approach this problem is to explore Long-Term Care Insurance. Having this financial resource on hand will help baby boomers and future sandwich generation folks get the help they need to feel a bit less squeezed.
Best wishes. Bert