The Sandwich Generation


Are you part of the “Sandwich Generation?” Nearly 25% of Americans are –no, I don’t mean those who frequent Subway or live to create culinary masterpieces on bread. The phrase “Sandwich Generation” is of recent origin; in fact Merriam-Webster officially added the term to its dictionary in July 2006. The Sandwich Generation is a generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children. Due to the extension of our life expectancy and the phenomenon of “delayed adulthood,” more and more of us are faced with being sandwiched between caring for those above and below us. There are variations on this theme-there are:

The Traditional Sandwich: those sandwiched between aging parents who need care and/or help and their own children.

The 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.

The Open Faced Sandwich: anyone else involved in elderly care.

If you find yourself in this stage of life or if you sometime may, let me assure you that caring for children and parents has been part of God’s plan for as long as there have been families. I have recently read again the story of Joseph as found in Genesis, I noted particularly in chapters 45-50 you find some great examples of parenting from the side of the child caring for an aging father – in this case Jacob. It also shows the attitude of the parent to his adult children, in this case Joseph and his brothers. I could summarize it in two words: Care and Cooperation. These are the essential attitudes on both sides of parenting. They are ones I want to work on and invite you to do the same. Until next time…

Jesse Waggoner  @JesseWaggoner

Originally published February 27, 2010