The happy patriotic holidays of the 4th of July and Canada Day are over. But, as I wrote in July Blog Party Fun for All of Us is Good News for Boomers and Seniors, there's plenty of blog party fun coming up to encourage us in this month of July. Not only that, though! July is also the month we celebrate THE SANDWICH GENERATION and all the issues we face on a regular basis.
I was fascinated to read what Wikipedia has to say about the Sandwich Generation:
According to the Pew Research Center, just over 1 of every 8 Americans aged 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent, in addition to between 7 to 10 million adults caring for their aging parents from a long distance. US Census Bureau statistics indicate that the number of older Americans aged 65 or older will double by the year 2030, to over 70 million.
Carol Abaya categorized the different scenarios involved in being a part of the sandwich generation.
- Traditional: those sandwiched between aging parents who need care and/or help and their own children.
- *Club Sandwich: those in their 50s or 60s sandwiched between aging parents, adult children and grandchildren, or those in their 30s and 40s, with young children, aging parents and grandparents.
- Open Faced: anyone else involved in elder care.
Did you notice the *Club Sandwich? That's me now! When I was in my late 20's I was there as well, helping my parents with their aging parents. And when I was in my 40s I was in the Traditional Sandwich Generation, dealing with the issues of helping a senior parent from a distance. Between close elderly friends, senior parents, and grandparents, I do believe I've spent more time IN the Sandwich Generation than out!
My personal bottom line definition: if you are squished in the middle (like a sandwich) juggling the issues of caring for the elderly parents, friends or relatives along with raising or babysitting children or grandchildren – your own or others – then basically you are in the Sandwich Generation. 🙂 And with the Pew Research statistics above about Americans 65 or older doubling by 2030, not to mention what that means world-wide, I suspect the Sandwich Generation will be growing exponentially as well. What do you think?
As a baby boomer, flirting with my own senior citizen status, I am constantly being reminded that I am aging. Arthritis in the joints from fingers to toes, glasses that need extra adjusting, and my faithful elastic waist blue jeans that get tighter and tighter (guess I need to skip the french fries above) are all markers that my metabolism and I are growing older, just as my sweet senior parents are. I am so grateful – as I go about dealing with all the Sandwich Generation issues of my life – from caring for my elderly parents near and far to playing tag and chess while babysitting cute grandchildren to prayerfully caring for any and all who are ill or in the hospital – that I don't have to do it alone. As I was reminded when I read these comforting and encouraging Bible verses from Philippians 4 during my devotions this week:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
To our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
What joy and comfort those words bring to this Sandwich Generation baby boomer during this Sandwich Generation Month and all through the year! Many of you are caregivers, whether in or out of the Sandwich Generation. What are the most comforting and encouraging Bible verses you love?