By Sheri & Bob Stritof, About.com Guide
What is the Sandwich Generation? It is a demanding time when a couple is still dealing with parenting issues, thinking about their own retirement, and yet facing the issues of coping with aging parents. Deciding which has the highest priority can tear a marriage apart.
An estimated 22 percent of the American population can be classified as the Sandwich Generation meaning they are parenting their own children and taking care of their parents at the same time. Some estimates show that nearly two-thirds of the baby boom generation will be taking care of an elderly parent in the next ten years. In 1990, Newsweek reported that the average woman spends 17 years raising children and 18 years helping aging parents.
Many of these couples face major stress in their finances, emotions, and relationships. What happens to a couple’s dreams for a secure retirement, travel, and slowing down?
However, coresidency apparently does not cause major problems for the majority of couples who have intergenerational households. With good communication, having three or four generations under one roof can enhance a family’s sense of well-being, provide a sense of belonging for younger children, assist teenagers in moving on to adulthood, and eases the burden of chores due to the extra helping hands.