Use of the term “panini generation” is on the rise, illustrating the increased pressure sandwich generation is 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 Canadians to manage both ends of the caregiving spectrum. According to Statistics Canada, one in four Canadians provide care to someone else and a majority of Canadian caregivers are between the ages of 45-64. With the national dependency ratio (the number of dependents aged zero to 14 and over the age of 65) hitting a 20-year high in 2021, caregivers are facing mounting pressures now more than ever.
“Caring for an aging parent offers many rewarding and meaningful moments, though it does not come without its challenges,” said Debbie Franchuk, RN, Co-owner and Director of Care at the Home Instead office serving Calgary. “For those sandwiched between generations who are raising children, while also caring for an elder loved one and juggling work, this increased responsibility can be incredibly stressful and 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,” Franchuk said.