The sandwich generation carry on caring
Life becomes a juggling act for many when looking after parents and children. This article looks at the sandwich generation that sees growing numbers of people looking after their elderly family members alongside their adult children.
Perhaps because of this many of us are now labeled the sandwich generation. These are the people who juggling their lives caring for their adult children and their own parents at the same time.
Advances in healthcare mean that people are living longer than ever but as they becoming increasingly frail someone has to care for them. Most of us would prefer to remain in our own home being cared for by relatives rather than going into a care home but, of course, that’s not always possible.
More than 2.4 million people in Britain are struggling to care for their elderly parents while still looking after their adult children. One in five adults regularly provide care and assistance to their elderly parents or in-laws, according to a survey.
The survey estimated that the sandwich generation spend £5.9bn each year supporting both their elderly parents and their own older children. Adults in their 40s and 50s provide elderly parents with an average of 36 hours of unpaid care each month.
The 2009 Cost of a Parent report also highlighted the financial and emotional pressures that the sandwich generation face during the recession. They are worried about rising care costs and weakening finances should their parents or in-laws need professional care.
Caring for elderly parents in Essex, Edinburgh or Easthorpe is a clearly a major concern for a huge number of us and the recession is adding to the financial pressures.
The overall cost of caring for a parent is £132,549. This figure is made up of the amount of unpaid care adult children invest in their elderly parents over a ten year period, as well as the cost of residential nursing care.
According to the LV= survey people are making big sacrifices in their lives in order to help their parents. One in seven of those surveyed said they gave support for parents needing care a higher priority than financial support for their own children.
More than a quarter of the 2,000 people surveyed said they had put off their holiday due to having parents who need care. A further 15 per cent said they had put off any financial planning, while 13 per cent said they have put their career on hold.
Nevertheless, most people in the sandwich generation are content to carry on caring for their elderly parents as long as they can.
The survey found that 83 per cent of people between 45 and 60 would not consider putting their parents into a care home even if they could afford to.