My thoughts about Sandwich generation

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1. Video “Caregivers between generations: what is the “sandwich generation”?”

In this video clip, two experts address the situation of sandwich generation caregivers. First Elizabeth Midlarksy of Columbia University discusses factors that can make the kinkeeper experience of a middle-aged child for an older adult either positive or negative. Then, Anna Zimmer, a gerontological social worker poses essential questions of most sandwich generation caregivers about their aged parents, their won families and their own lives.

Elizabeth: There are many people who’ll be given the term “caregiver” because of the fact that they have a frail parent or parents and they are nominally the ones responsible. That’s just the fact. Many people in a certain age group are caregivers by definition. The question arises as to what are the effects on their own well-being. What are the effects on their own current family situation? That would be the positive and negative. And what is the impact on whom they are caregiving? And these impacts or these consequences can range from highly positive, through neutral, to negative. I think there’s a wide range of factors that are involved. One of the more influential factors is the type and the degree of impairment in every caregiving situation. I used to like to think that I was not the case, that one could be the kind of fantastic individual so oriented towards nurturing, so deliciously concerned with others, so skilled that the level of impairment would be a trivial factor. It turns out that that is not trivial at all. It’s very, very important. If you have an individual, the care-recipient, who is highly enough impaired in their ADL, in their Activities of Daily Living, to the extent that they need help with virtually everything – they can’t toilet themselves, they can’t cut their nails, they can barely get out of bed unassisted, and in addition and often more importantly they are seriously, cognitively impaired, both in terms of not even recognizing their caregiver, which is a very hurtful thing because essentially you’re caring for someone whom you’ve lost, but in some cases even agitated and abusive so that the caregiver walks into the room and they’re hit, they’re screamed at and their parent, who was a loving parent in many cases, doesn’t even know who they are, and they to clean up after this individual – this can feel like a degrading, difficult situation.

Anna: You’ve heard the expression “The sandwich generation” and I say it’s not a double-decker or triple-decker but it’s a Dagwood for those people who are old enough to know what Dagwood sandwiches were. Usually, it’s a middle aged daughter who has a parent, mother or a father, might even still have one of her children at home. In some cases, it may be a child who had left home but then in the process of finding themselves returned home, may then be going to school or, as when we talk about grandparents parenting their grandchildren, in some cases it’s following a divorce and that adult child comes back not only themselves but with the grandchildren. So the issue is “How much can i give to my husband? My children? And what about me?”.

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