The Panini Generation: Today's Sandwich Generation is Getting Squeezed
Home Instead research finds 62% of panini generation caregivers feel they have to choose between being a good parent or being a good daughter or son
Use of the term "panini generation" is on the rise, illustrating the increased pressure sandwich generation caregivers are facing in caring for their aging parents while raising children. Balancing these responsibilities through a pandemic, economic uncertainty, and other increasing external pressures, 62% of panini generation caregivers feel they have to choose between being a good parent or being a good daughter or son, according to a recent survey by Home Instead, Inc. And the majority (59%) don't know where to turn for support.
With older adults living longer and families waiting until later in life to have children than previous generations, it is becoming more common for Americans to manage both ends of the caregiving spectrum. According to Pew Research, more than one in 10 U.S. parents with children under the age of 18 are also caring for an aging adult. The National Alliance for Caregiving estimates this to be at least 11 million Americans.
"Much like raising children, being part of your parents' aging journey is a deeply meaningful experience," said Jisella Dolan, global chief advocacy officer for Home Instead and panini generation caregiver. "But with conflicting priorities, the intensity of parenting and daughtering at the same time can be overwhelming."
According to a recent survey from Home Instead, Inc., the majority of those in the panini generation (59%) don't know where to turn or how to ask for help when it comes to relief from their caregiving duties. The Home Instead survey reveals the impact these pressures are having on family caregivers.
Nearly half (45%) of panini generation caregivers have cut expenses or shifted budgets in order to meet responsibilities as a caregiver for parent(s) and/or in-law(s).
Almost one in four of all respondents (23%) have quit a job that made it too hard to be a caregiver.
Roughly half (48%) of those who work say their employer has warned them that their caregiving responsibilities are jeopardizing their employment.
Many non-working caregivers left the workforce (60%), declined job offers (59%), and felt the quality of their life has suffered because of the time they invest in being a good caregiver (58%).
When asked how the pandemic has impacted their ability to juggle caregiving responsibilities, nearly half (44%) of the panini generation say it has made it harder to handle. They are concerned about the impact of COVID on their aging parent/in-law (67%) and children (57%), finances (54%), their mental health (54%), and having child care challenges (41%).
"It's important for family caregivers to voice their needs, and it's equally important for loved ones, employers, and others in their circles to offer support," Dolan said.
Home Instead is working at the national level to advocate for solutions for aging adults and their families through initiatives such as Moving Health Home and the RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council. Home Instead also offers practical information and resources for families and employers at www.HomeInstead.com/SandwichGen.
For those seeking hands-on assistance with aging loved ones, Home Instead offices can provide personalized care plans tailored to meet the unique needs of families and help alleviate pressure – allowing more room for other responsibilities, or simply time to rest. Professional caregivers help older adults age safely at home, assisting with daily activities such as personal care and housework, transportation, companionship, and more. For more information or to find care near you, visit www.HomeInstead.com/Locations.
"Family caregivers often feel guilty asking for help, but doing so makes us even better parents, daughters, and sons," Dolan said. "We need to seek support through respite care and family caregiving resources to ensure we're in a good place with our own wellness and best able to care for our loved ones."