Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Sandwich Generation: definition

The Sandwich Generation.

Have a think for a minute about what that might mean.

No, it's not the generation too lazy to cook, and therefore resorting to eating sandwiches.

The term "sandwich generation" is a relatively new one.

As a direct result of the work of Carol Abaya, beginning in 2006, this term can be found in the Oxford English and Merriam Webster Dictionaries.

Carol also coined the words "club sandwich generation" and "open face sandwich generation." 

Here are her definitions:

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. (Term coined by Carol Abaya)

Open Faced: anyone else involved in elder care. (Another term coined by Carol Abaya).

Here is an excerpt from her site:

"Carol was a pioneer in opening up discussion of the many challenges of elder/parent care and aging issues. 

As she cared for her parents, Carol talked with caregivers around the world and started writing about the issues of aging. One of her primary focuses has been on the many emotional elements of both the elder's aging and the sandwich generationers "new role on the stage of life." 

As more baby boomers become both sandwich generationers and seniors, the need to understand aging dynamics and family relationships increases dramatically.

As Carol says, it's not easy to become elderly or a parent to your parent(s). After all, our society "says" adults should be able to take care of themselves. But, as more live well into their 80s and 90s and families are dispersed across the country, everyone is going to be involved somehow, some way, in elder care. If not today, then tomorrow."

And so, here it is.

How am I qualified to write about this?

Well, it's the life I have been living since the day my twins were born.

Suddenly, I was mummy... and mum to my mum.

More on that in future posts.

Please, feel free to comment about your experiences. It's what makes our common experience that much easier (no, that's not the right word... it's never easy) to deal with.

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