Have you heard of the Sandwich Generation?
sandwich generation noun
- a generation of people, typically in their thirties or forties, responsible both for bringing up their own children and for the care of their ageing parents.
I personally fit the demographic – early-40s, professional with children – but I don’t consider myself the meat in the “sandwich” just yet…
I have two children, one who’s moved out (although I do employ him) and a daughter still at home who’s left school and just started her career, and is still partially dependent. My parents are aged in their mid-60’s and early 70’s, are both well and enjoying retirement, a little north of Bundaberg, along with my grandmother, who is in her early 80’s. My parents have both had stents in their hearts in the past few years, but are completely capable and enjoying their later years with trips and gardening and volunteer work in the local community, although a little removed from their six grandchildren.
My in-laws are both also in their mid-60’s and doing well, but have just had their own situation of assisting elderly parents into aged care.
Nanna had been forgetful for some time, and Nannu had been happy to care for her, but once both in their early 90’s, things were no longer manageable at home. They had stubbornly resisted going into care for many years, preferring to stay in the family home they’d moved into when they migrated from Egypt in the 1950’s; but eventually they found a lovely facility in Engadine closer to one of their two sons. We were privileged to share in their 70th wedding anniversary in March, 2016 surrounded by friends and family but sadly both passed in June, 3 days apart.
Another girlfriend of mine also early 40’s however fits the bill perfectly as part of the Sandwich Generation, being the youngest child, but the only daughter. Her two boys are around 3 and 7 and she’s recently taken her mother into her home, who is now in her 80’s and not coping so well on her own anymore.
And this is becoming much more common as time passes.
For some, caring for your parent/s at home is a joy where three generations can benefit from extra time with each other whilst still possible. For others, this can become nightmarish when caring for a parent the marital home while trying to bring up small children and work as well. It can be a big mistake for some families, and damaging to family relations, your relationship with your partner and the children’s wellbeing. If you need to give up your job and are stressed or traumatized on a daily basis, that’s not a good outcome for anyone. Think long and hard and have open discussions prior to going into any long term arrangements that it’s hard to back out of or reverse.
Taking the time to consider all options and consult with a professional who deals with this on a daily basis will highlight considerations you may not have even thought of and help make the best decisions for your family.
I can’t recommend highly enough seeing professional advice of a financial consultant, who specialises in navigating Centrelink requirements for aged care as this is a specialist area and not all Advisers offer this type of advice. Some planners, such as those at Trusted Aged Care Services are also able to find and secure a suitable placement in an appropriate aged-care facility.