In 2015 Dana Larsen wrote a Senior Living Blog titled
Family members, predominantly female family members, have provided the majority of care to their aging loved ones. Today, there is a generation of middle-aged adults, known as the Sandwich Generation, who are caught between the demands of child rearing in addition to providing care to their aging parents." There are several reasons why this is happening : primarily, people are living longer and having children later. However there is another variable that creates a different and more complex sandwich.
There is large new part of the population that is raising, not their own children, but their grandchildren while having care giving responsibilities for their aging parents. Although this is not exactly my situation, the demographics fit. I have the responsibility for my 90 year old father and my 12 year old nephew.
The Boston Globe writer Robert Weisman reported that:
"There are approximately 3 million grandparents raising more than 7 million grandchildren in the United States, according to data from the Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But those figures may not capture the entire picture. They don’t include grandparents who are in full-time parenting roles, but aren’t legal guardians or those who don’t live with their grandchildren but take care of them when both parents are working."
Mr. Weisman quoted Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker speaking at a conference for grandparents raising grandchildren, Baker said "his administration was working on ways to boost support for those who had stepped up". He expressed gratitude to the attending grandparents with deeply personal words.
"The hands you’re playing are ones that require a spectacular amount of love and courage and grit and commitment and kindness. And they come at a point in your life where that’s not where you expected to be. . . . If you’re working, you have to figure out how to incorporate all of that in your own lives. If you’re retired, you’re not retired anymore. If you thought you were going to be a grandparent that got to deal with the benefit of having grandchildren without the burden that came with having children, well for the time being that’s gone."
I fall into this demographic even though it is my nephew I am raising. I am almost 66, the primary carer for my 90 year old Dad whose memory is failing and now the sole support for my 12 year old nephew. How this is going to work - I have no idea. All the cliches come tumbling into view one day at a time, moment by moment, in case of emergency place the oxygen mask on yourself first ....
More to follow eventually.