Sandwich generation refers to people caring for their children and aging parents at the same time (Burke & Calvano, 2017). Some of these individuals also have to manage their careers and grandchildren. Many factors contribute to this phenomenon, such as aging population, increasing number of children residing at home and more individuals opting for informal care, and healthcare challenges.
Midlife demands faced by sandwich generation can lead to stress, time constraints, and interpersonal conflicts caused by unrealistic expectations set for caregivers (Evans, Millsteed, Richmond, Falkmer, Falkmer, & Girdler, 2016). Fortunately, there are numerous resources and coping strategies available to those caught up in dual roles.
The Sandwich Generation by Burke and Calvano (2017) is an excellent source of information on the concept; the book provides research findings on the social impact and the effect of caring on both caregivers and receivers. The authors offer a number of strategies for coping with multiple roles.
An article by Evans and colleagues (2016) targets primarily female caregivers, but the recommendations can be applicable to both genders. Thus, the authors recommend psychotherapy, self-management techniques, social support, and self-care as ways of alleviating the burden experienced by sandwich generation. Integrity, competence, emotional well-being, motivation, and focus on the positive are important aspects of caring for this generation.
As a developing professional, I would suggest these strategies, with a special emphasis on self-care, including healthy lifestyle, exercise, and maintenance of both physical and mental health. I would consider the many social and cultural factors in the challenges faced by a representative of sandwich generation. For example, in certain cultures, caring for parents might not be seen as an option, but rather as children’s duty.
For many individuals, self-care might equal selfishness; my job as a counselor would be to help my clients differentiate between being selfish and taking care of self. Finally, I would promote appreciation as a major strength and tool for all generations.