Sandwich Generation n. A generation of people who give care to their children and their parents at the same time.


 About 16 million Americans care for an aging parent and have children under the age of twenty one. That number is about to explode:

In 25 years, there will be 60 million Americans between the ages of 66 and 84, many of them needing full, or part-time, care. (CBS News, May 8, 2006).

What does day to day life look like for these Americans? What kind of help do they need? How can the faith-based community rise to the occasion and give practical, meaningful support?

Just what is the “Sandwich Generation?”

Stress Factors Of The Sandwiched

A few of the stress factors that affect the Sandwich Generation:

  • How to split time amongst children or family and elderly parent(s)
  • How much time should be given to each role of care giving
  • How to find time for one's marriage
  • How to find time for personal needs
  • How to keep peace between the children and the aged parent
  • How to find the needed resources to take care of oneself, the children, and the elderly parent
  • How to deal with a sense of isolation
  • How to deal with the guilt of not having the time to do everything

Who does what?

From the Press

"Even when men are involved, it's the women who tend to do the most challenging tasks related to caregiving,"

"The men typically get involved with the finances, become the power of attorney. They may be in the position to do some of the care coordination, kind of a managerial approach, whereas women are doing the dressing, the feeding, and the more challenging personal care tasks."

from Minnesota NPR 'Sandwich generation' caught between kids and their parents.  By Nanci Olesen, Minnesota Public Radio

"Most sandwich generation women don't seek help caring for their parents. Some of them don't realize help is available."

From a recent survey by the National Association of Social Workers

Helpful Hints

Here is a Ministry Guideline to help churches support their sandwiched congregants.

Caregivers Handbook

This handy guide provides resources, checklists and worksheets
 - all in one place.