The Sandwich Generation
5 things you need to know
Vice President Sales & Marketing
Although you might not consider it as being between a rock and a hard place, taking care of both parents and children can be very stressful. This primarily American phenomenon has even coined a name: The Sandwich Generation. Defined as a generation of people responsible for bringing up their own children and for the care of their aging parents, it now represents one out of every eight of us (tens of millions of Americans).
Below are the five things you need to know about the Sandwich Generation.
- The sandwich generation continues to grow:
According to the Washington D.C. nonprofit think tank, Pew Research Center, it has proliferated for two reasons: Our population is aging and our children are finding it more difficult to maintain financial independence.
- Being sandwiched affects work and wallets:
One in seven middle-aged adults provides financial support to both a child and their aging parent. In addition, two-thirds of caregivers are employed while providing elder care, and more than 1 in 4 caregivers count on their employers to be flexible to allow them to balance caregiving and work responsibilities.
- Most caregivers make career adjustments:
Maintaining a career and tending to both an aging relative and their children can be a struggle. Many are often forced to make adjustments in their careers, such as turning down a promotion, scaling back their hours or even leaving their jobs. For those who reported to have quit their jobs, studies indicated they made that decision because their employers weren’t flexible enough to allow them to do both.
- Businesses are feeling the impact:
Employers are facing estimated costs of $17.1 billion to $33.6 billion annually attributed to caregiving. Absenteeism accounted for $5.1 billion, employees shifting from full-time to part-time roles accounted for $4.8 billion, $6.6 billion to replace employees who left and $6.3 billion for workday interruptions. Additionally, reports show increased healthcare costs between employees caring for an elderly relative and those who are not.
5. Women bare the brunt:
While this generation has no gender bias – both men and women are impacted – it’s women who are more heavily affected by caring for both an aging parent and raising their family. Aging population and elder care needs are the most “significant challenge” women will face in the coming years. Mothers feel more stress than any other age group. While two in five men and women in this generation feel overextended, more women than men indicated they experienced extreme stress.
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