Britain's 'Sandwich' Generation Are Burning Out

In 2024 personal timelines are looking very different to the generations that came before us. This blog looks at the 'Sandwich Generation'.

How to cope when ageing parents and dependant children need you most.

In 2024 personal timelines are looking very different to the generations that came before us. The ageing population along with people choosing to have children later in life gives us opportunities to enjoy more time with loved ones, travel, enjoy hobbies and pursue dreams and career opportunities. At the same time these circumstances have
changed the landscape of caring and today many people in the middle ages find themselves caring on two fronts. The “Sandwich Generation” – the people who are caring for elderly parents, as well as their own children is increasing. Currently, the ONS estimates that 1.3 million people in the UK now have this responsibility. Caring is a huge undertaking both physically and mentally and people often feel it is their “duty” and do not seek support from others.

Home Instead conducted research asking 2000 carers in the UK about their caring experience.
• 86% of people said they felt guilty about not doing enough for their parents or children.
• 71% feel guilt about not being able to put enough into work (75% about neglecting careers)
• 88% felt they were neglecting their own health and wellbeing.
• 31% felt they were at breaking point.
• 85% felt it affected their relationships and friendships.

Illustration of three caregiving stages: children, adults caring for aging parents, and elderly parents with children. - Home Instead

How is this affecting the 'Sandwich Generation'?

Carers in the “Sandwich Generation” showed symptoms of mental ill health while caring for both older relatives and children – with their risk of experiencing this increasing the more time they spent caring each week. The study showed that 50% of carers spent less than an hour on themselves every day. These people will inevitably be balancing numerous demands on a daily basis as both a parent and a child whilst holding down a demanding job and running a household. The pressures of these demands and being pulled in different directions, can be overwhelming and result in your own well-being ending up at the bottom of your priority list.

It is vital that you take steps to build resilience, find support and maintain your own wellbeing. If this is achieved, being in the ‘Sandwich Generation’ can be a positive experience. Enjoying quality time with parents and children and feeling a sense of ‘giving back’ for a lifetime of love and care and seeing them enjoy their grandchildren.

An elderly man sits on a bed while a woman kneels down and helps him put on a shoe in a cozy room. - Home Instead

How can Home Instead Cleveland Help?

In 2024 personal timelines are looking very different to the generations that came before us. The ageing population along with people choosing to have children later in life gives us opportunities to enjoy more time with loved ones, travel, enjoy hobbies and pursue dreams and career opportunities. At the same time these circumstances have
changed the landscape of caring and today many people in the middle age find themselves caring on two fronts. The “Sandwich Generation” – the people who are caring for elderly parents, as well as their own children is increasing. Currently, the ONS estimates that 1.3 million people in the UK now have this responsibility. Caring is a huge undertaking both physically and mentally and people often feel it is their “duty” and do not seek support from others. It is often likened to the instructions given on an aircraft “Please put on your own oxygen mask before you help others” Meaning if you don’t look after yourself, you will not be able to continue to look after others. People express a feeling of guilt or selfishness when thinking about delegating elements of care, however sharing the load is often the best way to strike a balance and create a positive environment to allow the whole family to thrive. A little help can make a BIG difference. When caring responsibilities pull you in two different directions, how can you best look after your own well-being?

At Home Instead Cleveland, we pride ourselves on providing the HIGHEST QUALITY home care in Teesside. We can offer you the choice of living a happy and fulfilled life in your own home. We do this with a tailored, personal and adaptable home support, based on what you and your loved ones need. You are matched with a Care Professional who gives you all the support you need to enjoy a high quality of life. Giving you the peace of mind that your loved ones are supported and cared for the way you care for them.

Find out how we can help you today!
A caregiver wearing a mask and gloves assists a seated elderly woman on a yellow couch. - Home Instead