Meaty Tips for the Sandwich Generation

Do you belong to the sandwich generation? Merriam-Webster defines the term sandwich generation as “a generation of people who are caring for their aging parents while supporting their own children.” I guess the idea is that we are wedged between two generations of loved ones who need us.

If you are a member of this growing club (pun intended), you know how demanding membership can be. You are just getting the hang of raising children when you are called upon to change gears and provide care for aging parents. You do your best to make Mom and/or Dad comfortable: for some of us, this involves remote calls to health specialists or legal advisors; for others, regular runs to ShopRite and household chores. With those tasks accomplished for the day, you must change direction again, because kids are not as independent as they claim to be. They need you to attend their sports events, take your turn at carpooling, drive them to doctor’s appointments, teach them about bullying, pick up last-minute items for a science project, or support them in selecting a college.

Did it ever occur to you that you need to know about finance and the law to parent children or to care for aging parents? As your children age and consider college—and as your parents age and face the possibility of spending time in hospitals and rehabilitation centers—you would do well to arm yourself with knowledge about wills, probate, patient’s rights, etc. Here is a list of items to get you started:

The Legal Answer Book for Families. Nolo

Adult Programs Scheduled at MCLS
  • ID Theft and You
  • College Funding Solutions/li>
  • Understanding Your Social Security Benefits
The demands on our time—in addition to that of holding down or searching for a job—create a lot of pressure. It is important to your physical and mental well-being to find a release for that pressure. As a mom and daughter trying to do the best by my loved ones, I find release in exercise. Doing exercise encourages your brain to releases those feel-good chemicals, endorphins, into your body. In addition to improving your mood, exercise improves your fitness, making you stronger and more resistant to injury and keeping you in good shape to care for your loved ones. There are many books written about exercise. Here is a list of several books and DVDs:

Therapy Ball Workbook. Illustrated Step-by-Step Guide to Stretching, Strengthening, and Rehabilitative Techniques. Knopf, Karl.

Adult Programs Scheduled at MCLS
  • Drum Circle
  • Yoga
  • Stress Management & Breathing Techniques
  • Active Aging Fitness
  • Laughter Yoga
  • Saturday Morning Wii Bowling
  • Bokwa Fitness
  • Meditation
When you feel overwhelmed by fulfilling these crucial dual roles, take heart in the fact that there is strength in numbers. Pew research calculates that nearly half the adult population are sandwiched. Join your fellow “sandwichers” at the library—to watch a movie or musical presentation, pick up a new hobby, or improve your computer skills.


Pew Research Center: The Sandwich Generation

-Mary M. Astarita


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