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Responsibilites of "Sandwich Generation" taking its toll
More Americans than ever before are living in the so-called sandwich generation -- with responsibilities for children and at least one aging parent.
The stress is taking its toll on the caregivers.
The Pew Research Center says nearly half of American adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent who's 65 or older, while either raising a young child, or financially supporting a grown child. "How was basketball?"
Dr. Julie Schaefer knows the burden of the sandwich generation. Julie has three sons, one in college, a mother with Alzheimer's, and a dad who often needs help taking care of her.
"It's very stressful."
"As long as I was standing, I was available because my health was certainly better than theirs."
Jenny MacDougall started caring for her parents while still working full-time as a teacher. Her 92-year old mother lives in a senior facility, but Jenny helps with her medicine, laundry, bathing, and transportation several times a week.
"She's given a lot of her time to taking care of me, and I'm very appreciative."
The National Center on Caregiving says 75 % of sandwich generation caregivers are women.
Most work full time, and many routinely neglect their own needs.
"They don't go to the doctor like they should, they don't exercise like they should."
Julie's not just living it. She also sees it in her medical practice.
"I see a lot of patients with anxiety, insomnia."
"You just make emotional decisions."
Kathy Smith started a business after taking care of her parents and aunt. Seniors Resource Hub has check lists for choosing care facilities, and downsizing and moving.
"Everybody seems to start from ground zero."
And her E-Health Repository puts all of a senior's medical information, contacts, even important documents together in one place, saving time at the doctor or hospital.
"They can hang it on a flash drive on their key chain."
Getting organized was a way for Kathy to manage her role as caregiver. Jenny says a support network helped.
"I think I've been the beneficiary of how I raised her."
Despite the stress, these women treasure the time with loved ones.
"For me it's a way to pay them back for all they've done for me."
You can find links to the Seniors Resource Hub Products and Resources for Caregivers on our website under Newslinks.