Sandwich generation starting to feel the pinch
Caring for aging parents while managing their own lives is leaving many middle-aged Canadians stressed and stretched.
56-year-old financial planner Mary Ann Jenkins, for instance, is providing support for two children in their 20s and four parents in their 80s.
She and her husband spend at least $500 a month to support their children through school, she tells the Globe and Mail. They also spend a couple of hours a week doing chores for their parents, and are anticipating bigger shoes dropping, especially since her mother’s heart attack in January.
These members of the "sandwich generation" are typically between 35 and 55 years old — meaning they're not only caught between the pressures of their kids and their parents, they're also balancing careers.
Some of these Canadians are stretched so thin, they're risking their own mental health — and a survey released this summer backs up the idea that many are feeling the strain.
This time, 13 per cent of respondents said they were helping their parents with their domestic and psychological needs, while many were also chipping in financially.
Of those helping with their day-to-day and emotional needs, nearly half — 47 per cent — said it was a significant source of stress. Of those helping financially, 78 per cent said it was extremely stressful.
Caught in the middle? You might want to look at Family: The Compact Among Generations, by James E. Hughes Jr. Hughes is an old pro at helping families get a handle on what's important to them. Most of his clientele are wealthy, but even average-earners can benefit from his experience.
Sound familiar? Are you struggling to look after aging parents while balancing work and family? How are things going so far?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
Posted by: W & D Schroeder | Dec 9, 2021 12:57:55 PM
How could anyone whine about two hours per week helping thier aged parents? Two hours? How about all those hours and money spent by the aged parents raising them? You people should be ashamed. And your leaching "kids" in thier 20s should be doing chores for thier Grandparents and have jobs in addition to school. Maybe the "kids" should pay rent or move, they are adults, whom you are infantizing. They will be another generation of whiners with a sense of entitlement.
Posted by: K. Koester | Dec 9, 2021 1:25:07 PM
I have to say two hours a week isn't much unless you're stretched wayyyy over the barrel to begin with. While the comments of "Schroeder" may be presented harshly, there is a point to be taken. I agree the kids should help out and admit that mine should do more. I care for my bed-ridden mother around the clock and I have five children as well. I'm a single parent and spent the past 2.5 years sleeping an average of 3-4.5 hours a night in 1.5 hour intervals due to the demands of her care.
I'm not whining, in case someone should like to attack my post. I chose to have five kids years ago, and as life went on and my mother declined I knew what I was commiting to when I took her in. However, that doesn't negate the sacrifices made by my children and myself.
It is stressful, yes, but the reward is that my mother will spend her final years with her wishes honored. For years she sacrificed as a single parent for my brother and I and I owe her the same. Ultimately, I hope this is the legacy I leave my own children as they look on and see what I've done with my life.
A warm greeting to all those who make similar sacrifices and who do it for honor out of love, not out of duty. A nursing home would do that much. That's not good enough for my mother.
Posted by: Perky M | Dec 9, 2021 2:25:04 PM
Yes, it's a challenge, but we are able to do that and so much more. I cared for my mother who was committing suicide via alcohol and caring for my older intellectually challenged brother, three children and a husband who could not be there because of lay offs and had to seek work in another city. So for approximately five years I was a single parent for the most part. My hair literally fell out in two places so I also had to deal with bald spots: ah vanity thy name is woman. :)
The rewards at the end far outweigh whatever we might go through if we are doing it out of love and not mere obligation. My mother deserved all the love and warmth I could bestow and I fully understood her alcohol abuse. She had carried the torch through her own hell, how could I not see her to the end. We had been the Three Musketteers my brother, my mother and I for a long while. "All for One and One for all."
Wealth comes in many guises.
Namaste and have an awesome day.
Posted by: victoria trudeau | Dec 9, 2021 6:48:13 PM
In the past, children always took care of their parents. There were no nursing homes, retirement centers,pensions, in return they gave their kids the inheritance. Today's society can't take care of 50 percent of the retiring population.
Posted by: Bernice | Dec 9, 2021 7:41:30 PM
Things I wish for - that my parents were still alive so I could do for them, what they did and gave up for me. That my son continues to do well in life and reflexs back at times, that his dad and I passed up on our wish list, so he could have a good education and be able to succeed in his life. That none of us become so self-absorbed to assume we don't owe anyone, anything.
No one promised us that life would be a piece of cake. We live. We die. It's how we choose to fill in the middle part, that matters most.
May your holidays be safe and happy and spent with family and friends, for all too soon, memories are all you'll have left. God Bless all!
Posted by: Bruce | Dec 9, 2021 11:51:50 PM
For those in this situation or for those that have been through it, this is not about whether or not you have a choice. Caring for parents and your kids in their 20s is a condition you've never prepared for. It can wipe you out financially, stress or destroy your marriage and add additional stresses to life in your fifties. A time in life when things were supposed to be settling down for you. And if this condition is layed on your table without the proper finances for you to honor thy parent with good care, you may be ashamed by what little can be afforded.
It could happen to you.............???
Posted by: Kenneth | Dec 10, 2021 2:32:57 AM
Its truly sad that the world has become so selfish. My own mother cares for my granny and come the day that she will possibly need me I will step up to the plate as will my younger brother. As for my children I am fortunate that they are doing well but by a cruel fate of chance were they to need their mother and I we would be there unconditionally. I hope people can see where our world is going wrong . The writing has been on the wall for a long time, think of the statement what is wrong with kids today?
Posted by: education | Dec 10, 2021 9:42:04 AM
My parents took care of me as I was growing up. Even when I first became a university professor at the age of 29, they asked me if (and how) they could help me out. To people like me, and to most of the people who have posted their comments, it is only natural that I do everything in my power to take care of my parents as they grow older. I am one of those people who will gladly bring my parents in to live with me when they don't feel like living in their own house anymore. I'll just buy a bigger house and it will be like old times...
Of course, things may be different for:
1. People with less financial means
2. People with more responsibilities
3. People whose parents didn't raise them properly
Being lucky enough to have the parents that I have, it is difficult for me to relate to people who complain about helping their own parents. Of course, maybe my speech would be different if my parents didn't care for me, I had 4 kids and I was working 2 shifts at the gas station. I'm sure it's difficult...
Posted by: Canuckguy | Dec 12, 2021 6:09:01 PM
@ K. Koester
Well I hope the old saying "What goes round, comes round"
Hope your kids are selfless like you.
You deserve it.
Posted by: T. Burgess | Dec 13, 2021 4:00:20 PM
Very interesting to say the least. Yes, looking after our parents is stressful. I am 52 years old, my husband has M.S. and lives in a nursing home. My children are both grown and I am a first time grandma to boot. In the last 2 1/2 years I lost both of my parents. I work fulltime and was with my
parents at least 4-5 times a week, often spending the night at their home. On top of this I had visits to my husband's Nursing home. I have had and have been very stressed out! But I can say I'd do it all over in a heart beat! I got to know my mom and dad not only as parents, but as wonderful friends. How lucky and fortunate I have been.
Posted by: BobE | Dec 16, 2021 4:28:06 PM
How many years are you going to let your spoiled kids leech off you? One day you will be gone and they will have to support themselves. Because you have not raised them properly (independence?) they will fail. You are not doing them any favors and the sooner they let go of your breast and feed themselves the better.