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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
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Sandwich Generation

March 2008

Are you part of the Sandwich Generation? If you are a caretaker of both your parents and your children, guess what? You are! It is not easy. In fact it is extremely difficult. You may have the experience of making sure to leave the hospital where your parent is in time to be able to get home in time to pick up your children from school. Usually the person that does not get taken care of in this situation is you.

This is not uncommon. None of it is. Once you reach a certain age, usually somewhere in your 40’s, your parents are also at a certain age, an age where they need help. Naturally, for many people in their 40’s, they still have school age children. Now add into this having to work, having time to keep your marriage healthy and perhaps experiencing some health problems yourself, you can see why a recent study showed that the 40’s are often seen as the age when we are the most depressed.

Our parents were part of the Sandwich Generation with their parents. Our children will be part of a Sandwich Generation taking care of us. It is part of life. What you are experiencing is not unusual, but it doesn’t have to destroy you. So, back to a common theme in this column, the only way to get through this with your mind and hair intact, is to nurture yourself. Hopefully, you have found some ways to do that.

However, another important part of self-care being part of the Sandwich Generation is to talk to other people who are experiencing the same thing. Form a loose support group of people who are also caretakers. There are groups on-line that are always available. Knowing that you are not alone in this situation can be very helpful. You might also be able to share ideas that have worked for others.

You will get through this. Your parents did, as did your grandparents. The trick is to do more than survive. See the value of what you are doing. Value yourself as you go through this. And, as always, enjoy the journey.


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