Sunday, April 03, 2011

Sandwiched Caregiving

On March 22, 2011, at 9:00 AM, WITF-FM (Harrisburg, PA) presented a Radio Smart Talk program entitled Challenges faced by the "Sandwich Generation."  

The "Sandwich Generation" is the term describing a generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.  Merriam-Webster officially added the term to its dictionary in July 2006.

The term describes "three generations bound by caring", as described on the official website of the Sandwich Generation, which notes its annual commemorative month:
The annual recognition of Sandwich Generation Month is every July, with organizations and communities throughout the United States holding events to raise awareness of and provide support for members of the sandwich generation.
Free Planner’s Toolkits are available for download, so hospitals, advocacy groups, etc. can plan their own events. * * *
Wikipedia notes that Carol Abaya, the subject of a New York Times article entitled "A Survival Course for the Sandwich Generation" (01/17/1999), had categorized 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.
The Smart Talk radio program featured three panelists, who each reflected on the personal aspects of such multi-generational caregiving:
  • Dr. Linda Rhodes, a former Pennsylvania Secretary of Aging -- author of Finding Your Way: A Practical Guide for Family Caregivers, and recipient of two National Mature Media Awards for her book and weekly newspaper column, Our Parents, Ourselves, appearing every Monday in The Patriot-News. 
  • Lesley Davis, Licensed Professional Counselor -- a licensed professional counselor at Pinnacle Health, and
  • Eliza Booth, 33, of Lancaster, PA -- a woman caring for three generations, including her own children at home, and also a disabled brother and an elderly mother in another house.
The topic was expanded on WITF-TV on Thursday, March 24, 2011, in a Smart Talk TV broadcast program entitled Balancing Work, Family & Life, when Lesley Davis was interviewed again.

I listened to the radio program, and highly recommend it to others involved in the personal challenges of caregiving.

You can listen to this Radio Smart Talk program by clicking the LISTEN TO PROGRAM link on the episode's web page.