Author Kristine Bertini Isbn 9781598843644 File size 1MB Year 2011 Pages 144 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship This comprehensive instructive and entertaining book is full of information and resources for middle aged adults faced with the complexities of raising children while caring for elders Utilizes instructive case examples to expose the intricacies of challenges like simultaneously caring for children and elders Contains a bibliography of more than
Author : Kristine Bertini
ISBN : 9781598843644
Year : 2011
File Size : 1MB
Category : Family and Friendship
Strength for the
This page intentionally left blank
Strength for the
Help to Thrive While
Simultaneously Caring for Our Kids
and Our Aging Parents
Copyright 2011 by Kristine Bertini
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a
retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, except for the inclusion of
brief quotations in a review, without prior permission in writing from the
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Bertini, Kristine, 1955–
Strength for the sandwich generation : help to thrive while simultaneously
caring for our kids and our aging parents / Kristine Bertini.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978–1–59884–364–4 (hard copy : alk. paper) — ISBN 978–1–59884–365–1
1. Sandwich generation—United States. 2. Middle age—United States—
Psychological aspects. 3. Middle-aged persons—Family relationships—United
States. 4. Caregivers—United States. I. Title.
15 14 13 12 11
1 2 3 4 5
This book is also available on the World Wide Web as an eBook.
Visit www.abc-clio.com for details.
An Imprint of ABC-CLIO, LLC
130 Cremona Drive, P.O. Box 1911
Santa Barbara, California 93116-1911
This book is printed on acid-free paper
Manufactured in the United States of America
For my husband, William J. MacKilligan
There is no one I would rather be sandwiched with . . .
This page intentionally left blank
ONE: Introduction: Multigenerational Caregivers
TWO: Midlife Challenges
THREE: Our Children
FOUR: Our Parents
FIVE: The Self and the Importance of a Plan
SEVEN: Creating Meaning in All Stages of Life
Afterword: The Author’s Story
Appendix A: Resources
Appendix B: The Caregiver’s Creed
This page intentionally left blank
This book could not have been written without the grand presence of
my father, George E. Bertini. He is the greatest caregiver of all the ages.
I salute you, Dad. I bow to him and all the other kind souls who care for
loved ones against all odds and with the deepest love imaginable.
This page intentionally left blank
When we think of a sandwich, the best part is what is found in the middle.
The ﬁlling between two pieces of bread might be rich roast beef, tuna,
vegetables, cheese and ham, or any number of main events prepared to
delightful perfection. We look forward to what falls between the two slices
of bread, and the sandwich is noble for its ease of preparation and ability to
be modiﬁed to every preference. Yet we do not often spend much time
thinking about the sandwich, or the ﬁllings. We take the sandwich for
granted. And that is not unlike our failure to appreciate the Sandwich
Generation, millions everywhere all around us, caregivers that are a staple
in society today, sustaining families and fulﬁlling so many basic needs, with
Of late, more attention has been given to the phenomenon of the Sandwich
Generation: individuals who have come to midlife and ﬁnd themselves
“sandwiched” between their children and their aging parents, nurturing,
providing for, and ﬁlling what can seem like nonstop, too numerous, and
maybe even overwhelming needs of both their offspring and their elders,
most often while carrying career demands and household chores, to boot.
The Sandwich Generation is the ﬁlling, the variable that often keeps the
family together, nourished in every way, and running. These individuals
come in all shapes and sizes and from differing backgrounds and histories
and have varying philosophies. While their differences may be profound
Strength for the Sandwich Generation
in terms of culture, ﬁnances, education, and emotional resources, they have
many things in common in their role as multigenerational caregiver.
It is signiﬁcant that more than 50 million Americans are considered to be
middle-aged. This number constitutes at least one-fourth of our population.
This group of Baby Boomers “earns most of the money, pays the bills
and makes many of the decisions. Thus, the power in government, politics,
education, religion, science, business, industry, and communication is often
wielded not by the young or the old, but by the middle-aged” (p. 231).1
During midlife, many people come to terms with their life, and they
solidify their self-identity during this developmental period. Traditionally,
at midlife, individuals have often found their life partner, may have been
divorced, have solidiﬁed their professional life, and have had children.
Others are less traditional; they may have decided not to wed, have children, or focus in one area of employment, but they also have developed
a strong sense of who they are in the world. Still others may enter midlife
without having come to terms with their life path, and they may not yet
have solidiﬁed or embedded their identity.
Erik Erikson, a pioneer in research on the stages in the life cycle, identiﬁed the period of midlife as one in which individuals develop either
generativity or stagnation. He described the person who has a strong sense
of creativity, is successful, and is making a mark on the world with the
term “generativity.” This person is also concerned with the next generation, and Erikson called the virtue associated with generativity “care.”
Love is given without expectations of a speciﬁc return and is connected
to the generations to come. Too much generativity, however, can lead to
overextension, which creates unhappiness in that the individual has no
time for himself because he is so busy. According to Erikson, individuals
who do not develop generativity will experience a sense of stagnation.
These people can be self-absorbed, be unconnected to others, and tend to
offer little to society. Too much stagnation may lead to a failure to create
any sense of meaning, a state that Erikson called “rejectivity.”2
This book details the challenges one faces at midlife as an individual. It
also explores the many challenges of the multigenerational caregiver, who
is trying to nurture and care for both children and aging parents. Sandwiched
between one’s children and one’s elders, the midlife individual may reach a
healthy generativity or may burn out or stagnate. The challenges at midlife
may be huge, so this book offers hope, and a concrete plan of action, for
the overwhelmed caregiver.
Much like the traditional sandwich, whose ﬁlling is the best part, midlife
can be the best part of one’s life journey. Midlife is not the beginning, when
we are struggling with basic trust, autonomy, competence, and identity
issues. Nor is it the end, when we face the impending demise with either
wisdom or despair.3 Midlife and multigenerational caregiving can be that
middle place, and as spicy, sweet, or mild as we choose to make them. This
book is designed to help the caregiver focus on what is good during what
can be a stressful period of life and ﬁnd joy.
Interestingly, the Sandwich Generation is now ofﬁcially registered within
the National Special Events Registry, which marks a national observance
annually each July 1–31. According to the Pew Research Center, just over
one of every eight Americans aged 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring
for a parent, in addition to between 7 and 10 million adults who are caring
for their aging parents from a long distance. Projections from the U.S.
Census Bureau indicate that the number of Americans aged 65 or older will
double by 2030, to 70 million. Currently, more than 42 million women fall
into the range of the Sandwich Generation.4
The tasks of multigenerational care for the midlife individual may seem
overwhelming. There can be children of varying ages still in the home—
from youngsters to adolescents and even young adults—who make up
one side of the sandwich. On the other side, there are aging parents, who
come with their own complex set of needs. Many elderly people have
physical and mental challenges that they do not have the resources to
cope with on their own. Thus, each side of the sandwich needs help from
the ﬁlling to survive and succeed. The midlife individual, in the middle,
attempts to be all things to both sides, children and aging parents, to make
the sustenance work. At the same time that the midlife person is managing
her own life, relationships, and profession, she may also be attending
sports events for her children, helping with homework, making meals,
and putting a ﬁnger in the dike of the typical daily crises of the children.
While doing this, she may also be caring for one or both parents: scheduling and providing transportation to doctors’ appointments, attending to
the demanding needs of the demented parent, and providing assistance
with physical needs that ranges from cutting toenails to dressing, bathing,
giving medications, making meals, and feeding.
Americans have come to expect longer lives; thus, more midlife individuals have parents who are still living, and more of these parents are contending with chronic diseases from Alzheimer’s and arthritis to cardiac
conditions, diabetes, osteoporosis, and hearing or vision loss. In addition,
women are deciding to have their children at later ages, so their parents
are older at the same time that their children are younger than was the case
in years past. Many midlife women are also choosing to adopt; thus, they
Strength for the Sandwich Generation
are parenting into later life. Most women in the Sandwich Generation work
outside the home, making it even more challenging to balance both work
and the needs of their children and parents.5
According to Charles Pierret, up to 33 percent of 45- to 56-year-old
women are caring for both their children and their parents. He noted that
only a little more than 1 percent of this group has both parents and children living with them, so the care provided to elders often also involves
The ﬁnancial resources used to support and care for both children and
elders must also be considered. Monetary outlay can be considerable.
Younger children living at home require new clothes, braces, driver’s education, and tutoring and need monies for extracurricular activities and a
multitude of other routine expenses. As these children get older, college
payments loom and are more signiﬁcant now than ever before, with tuition
skyrocketing at the same time more and more careers are demanding
degrees. Financial support of an elder may also be signiﬁcant if the elder
has not planned for retirement, for chronic disease care, or for simply
living as long as we do today. The midlife caregiver may ﬁnd himself
paying for a parent’s groceries, home cleaners, medical care, insurance,
prescriptions, home safety devices, and general upkeep. Some elders
may require in-home assistance, and if the caregiver is working, this also
must come out of the family budget.
Living arrangements for the elderly parent may be in question. Does the
adult daughter choose to have the parent(s) come to live with her? How
will this impact the dynamic of the primary relationship with her partner
and with the children still at home? What about space? There are certainly
pros and cons for having the elderly parent come to reside with the family
that need consideration.
This book maps out a guide for those at midlife who are struggling with
these considerations and more. It offers a plan for sanity while balancing
the challenges of being a multigenerational caregiver and gives concrete
suggestions on how to nurture oneself while caring for loved ones. It
addresses the complexities of caring for parents with whom one may have
had a negative life experience, and it explores ways to manage life with a
This discussion begins by exploring the tasks at midlife and the psychological impact of reaching the middle of our years. It is crucial that one
has in place the foundation for identifying the strengths and weaknesses
of the self at midlife before the caretaking of others can be fruitful. Unless
the self is wholly recognized and nurtured during the middle years, the assistance to others will be ﬁlled with resentment and will be ineffective.
The book reviews the parenting of children during midlife and the
special joys and trials that are faced as skinned knees are bandaged, proms
are celebrated, and children are launched into young adulthood. Next, the
complications of caring for elders are discussed within the context of
the family. Relational bonds are examined, forgiveness is addressed, and
the creation of a balance between children and parents is explored. Helping
all generations of the family to create joint meaning as days dwindle for the
elder is also discussed.
Embedded in this work is a chapter that assists the individual at midlife
in ﬁnding ways to nurture himself and his primary relationships. It spells
out a concrete plan that can help him manage each piece of the multigenerational caregiver package during midlife and offers worksheets on
which to design one’s own individualized plan from the suggestions that
A discussion of the life cycle in different cultures provides a new lens
through which to look at how others in the world care for their children
and aging parents. The phenomenon of the need to be loved and cared
for permeates all societies and cultures and provides common ground to
look at the midlife role. A section is included on meaning at each stage
of life and the practice of creating rituals, celebrating, and remembering.
This is an important chapter that assists readers in weaving their world
and families together throughout the generations.
Finally, national and regional resources are identiﬁed as potential sources of help for the multigenerational caregiver.
This author is a midlife caregiver to multiple generations. Some days it
seems hard to simply survive. Some days there is a joy that is unimaginable, although this may last for only a brief second until the next task
appears. I write this book from a combination of research and my own
experiences to assist the many others who are experiencing much of the
same exhaustion and delight that I do. My hope is to help others expand
the moments of delight so that they overpower the exhaustion and to
coach others to give in to the exhaustion when it is needed and care for
Here is my brief story. I am 55 years old, clearly at midlife. I work fulltime as the director of busy health and counseling clinics at a midsized
university. I am an author. I am married and have young stepdaughters, ages
10 and 11. I have two elderly parents who live in our home with us. My
mother is 78 and has Alzheimer’s; my father is 82 and is sharp as a tack,
but he has been in and out of the hospital with a multitude of illnesses,
including a broken hip. Adding to the family constellation are our three
Ragdoll cats. So, you see, I understand. While your life story may differ
Strength for the Sandwich Generation
from mine in signiﬁcant ways, the underlying context of being a caregiver
remains consistent between you and me. We are universal in our roles,
and creating the most gracious and loving way to be who we are is my
heartfelt goal for this book.
I am up in the morning at 5:30; my husband (a saint) does the morning
duty with the children and gets them their breakfast and off to school or
camp as I head out the door to work. I never leave without seeing them
or kissing them good-bye, but I do not have the luxury of sitting at the
breakfast table to enjoy the morning with them, which is a great regret
of mine. My father and mother rise later on their side of the house, and
Dad prepares breakfast for Mom, cuing her to wash up, bathe, and eat.
During each day, Dad tries to take Mom out for a ride or visit. My dad is
an amazing fellow who has the patience of an angel, as my mother cannot
be left alone, experiences paranoia, and must be cued to do any task. Dad
tires easily, and Mom does not nap, a common trait of Alzheimer’s
patients, so it is challenging. Dad refuses home help, as he is proud. I am
afraid for him, for them, all the time.
During the day, I call to check in. Work is a blessing; it is my respite.
My profession is exciting and rewarding, and the days are full. In the early
evening, my workday at the clinic begins to wind down, and I get ready to
propel myself home. I am the evening “everything-for-everybody.” If I
am lucky, I get home before the kids, change into my scrufﬁes, set the dinner table, and start the meal. Mom wants to help, which doubles the time
of any task. She places silverware helter-skelter; stands in the center of
the kitchen, her favorite spot, so I have to walk around her; and wants
me to look at a picture of her childhood for the 18th time that evening.
Dad has gone to the computer room to play solitaire for a bit of respite,
very much deserved. I understand his choice in computer games. Within
a few minutes, the door crashes open with joyous kids, dirty from the
playground and ﬁlled with stories of the day, both talking at once and
vying for my attention. “Kristine, Kristine, Kristine, Kristine!” How many
times can a child say my name in a minute? My husband fumbles in the
door behind the kids and looks disheveled and faded from his day. I know
I am the one on prime duty. I start the laundry and clean the litter boxes
while the dinner cooks, and the kids trail me from room to room, saying
“Kristine, Kristine!” My mother also follows and tries to “help.” It’s about
now that I want to hop a plane for the islands. I take a deep breath. We say
grace and eat. Dinner is a lovely time; the kids take center stage on the
nights they are with us, and my parents enjoy their interactions with them.
We share our day, and on special nights, we all have a scratch lottery
ticket and share stories about what we would do if we won.
I was once told that doing something that doesn’t work over and over
again expecting a change is a sign of insanity. Well, by the time dinner
is over, I must be insane—because every night the same things happen.
After the kids clean their places and go to start their homework, the men
sit at the table and talk. Mom “helps” by again standing in the middle of
the small kitchen, so I have to continually move around her with dishes,
garbage, and glasses. Every night I say (I should just make a recording),
“Mom, could you clear the table for me instead of standing in the middle
of the room?” And she gets hurt. And I feel badly. And she remains in the
middle of the room. And I want to really get on that plane.
I then get my parents’ bed ready for nighttime and put out my mother’s
nightgown. I tell her it’s time to get on her nightgown, and every night she
says she doesn’t have one. So we go and find it—placed out for her, as
always, on the bottom of her bed.
Then it’s time for the kids’ homework and baths. I don’t know about
you, but if you really want to feel dumb, try doing a 10-year-old’s math
homework. I have a doctorate and can’t figure out their math. In some
ways, this gives me a break because then they take the math to their father.
Otherwise, we do spelling, English, social studies, and special projects.
With luck, no one has a meltdown (including me). During this time, I also
fold laundry, make school lunches, check work email, make bedtime
snacks, and return necessary phone calls or pay bills. Family games come
next: kids’ choice. This ritual is a good one, and we all have fun unless
someone is overtired and cranky (again, including me). Then I have a
scheduled hour with Mom in front of the television while she drinks
a glass of cream sherry and I drink three glasses of wine. (Well, give me
a break!) By now, it’s nine o’clock, and I escort Mom back to her side
of the house with Dad. I look at the cats and say, “Sorry, I just can’t play
tonight.” They give me a dirty look.
Back at our side of the house, we all say prayers, and I go to my bedroom and collapse. I don’t think I’ve looked at my husband all night and
remind myself to kiss him in the morning. The kids stay up later than I
and read or watch television; sometimes they crawl into bed with me,
and we talk or read together, but I am usually the first one asleep. I wake
up the next morning with Dorie, the stuffed fish from Finding Nemo that
forgets everything, under my arm.
So you see, I do understand. And I generally love my life. My plan for
this book is to create a way for you to love yours, too.
This page intentionally left blank
CASE EXAMPLE: THE BUSY LIFE
She throws herself face down into the hammock and tries to curl up into a
ball and become as small as she can. The tissue she grabbed on her way
out of the house is soaked and ragged from her tears. She lets herself
cry, deep sobbing tears that make her nose run. She can feel the breeze
under her bottom from the hammock, and it feels good as she tries to settle
into the rhythm of the wind and her sobs.
The house is full. Her husband is in the kitchen, preparing dinner for
nine. She had made the week’s menu out and posted it on the refrigerator,
done the grocery shopping (two full carts, pulling one and pushing the
other), set the table, run errands, and made sure the kids were washed
for dinner and one child ready to head out to soccer practice as soon as
his plate was clean.
The meltdown was inevitable, even welcomed. On her drive home from
work, she had known it was coming; it would be just a matter of when and
what might set her off. On the front lawn, her in-laws had been sitting with
her parents, enjoying each other’s company. She had served them iced
drinks (she kept thinking that one of them might notice that she was running
in and out of the house and say they were all set, but no). Out of the four
parents, only one of them could still hear, so there had been a lot of shouting, saying “What?” and repetition. Her father uses a walker and her
father-in-law is in a wheelchair, so movement of any sort is a challenge,
and it takes time to get anywhere. Both mothers are still spry and maneuver
well, but with their aging has come a sense of entitlement, and they do little
Author James Bradford Terrell and Marcia Hughes Isbn 9780787988340 File size 1MB Year 2007 Pages 224 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Finally a
Author Betsy Keefer Smalley and Jayne E Schooler Isbn 978-1440842818 File size 4MB Year 2015 Pages 288 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Many
Author Jonathan L Singer Isbn 9781452074467 File size 1MB Year 2010 Pages 96 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship This is the original edition
Author Rebecca Chilvers Isbn 9781843104513 File size 5MB Year 2007 Pages 124 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship A celebration of the talents and
Author Beverly Kirkhart Jack Canfield Mark Victor Hansen and Patty Aubery Isbn 9781558744028 File size 44MB Year 1996 Pages 384 Language English File format PDF Category Family and
Author Malteser Malteser gGmbH Isbn 978-3830434146 File size 3MB Year 2010 Pages 160 Language German File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Je gr er der Aktionsradius der
Author Karen Rose Blaisure Isbn File size 3MB Year 2015 Pages 435 Language Englisch File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Anyone working or wishing to
Author ric Goulard Isbn 9782848995960 File size 59MB Year 2013 Pages 256 Language French File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Vous avez la sensation que votre
Author Sabine Seyffert Isbn 9783869106199 File size 16 4MB Year 2011 Pages 216 Language German File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Mangelnde Konzentration Stress und ngste sind
Author Emily Dubberley Isbn 9781904132769 File size 22 8MB Year 2006 Pages 241 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship This no-nonsense guide delves into the
Author Valerie J Grant Isbn 041515880X File size 2MB Year 1998 Pages 222 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Women who are dominant are
Author Ulrich Sachsse Isbn 9783794531530 File size 0 4MB Year 2015 Pages 152 Language German File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Die Mutterliebe und das B se -
Author Adam J Cox Isbn File size 1 1MB Year 2005 Pages 337 Language Englisch File format PDF Category Family and Friendship When your son responds to
Author Committee on Child Maltreatment Research Isbn 9780309285124 File size 5MB Year 2013 Pages 442 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Each year child
Author John E B Myers Isbn 9781412995061 File size 4MB Year 2011 Pages 384 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Specifically created to complement
Author Linda Perlman Gordon and Susan Morris Shaffer Isbn 978-0071417860 File size 1 Mb Year 2004 Pages 256 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship
Author Ana Villalobos Isbn File size 1 6MB Year 2014 Pages 298 Language Englisch File format PDF Category Family and Friendship In a time of economic anxiety
Author Elizabeth Brake Isbn File size 3MB Year 2016 Pages 259 Language Englisch File format PDF Category Family and Friendship This collection of essays by liberal
Author Jane Buckingham Isbn 978-0060885342 File size 2 Mb Year 2006 Pages 336 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship From the author of the
Author Ellen Rodger and Rosie Gowsell Isbn 978-0778700890 File size 5MB Year 2014 Pages 48 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship An estimated 40 000
Author Peter Fonagy Foreword Sara Barratt and Wendy Lobatto Isbn 9781782203018 File size 6MB Year 2016 Pages 340 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship This
Author Cory Doctorow Isbn 9780765322166 File size 2MB Year 2010 Pages 480 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship In the virtual future you must
Author Laura King Isbn 9780199674909 File size 2MB Year 2015 Pages 240 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Fathers are often neglected in histories
Author Alfie Kohn Isbn 0743487478 File size 1MB Year 2005 Pages 272 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Most parenting guides begin with the
Author Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar Isbn 9781452142661 File size 21 3MB Year 2017 Pages 168 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship From the creators
Author Carlos A Ball Isbn 9780199977871 File size 2MB Year 2014 Pages 184 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Same-Sex Marriage and Children is
Author Nancy J Mezey Isbn 9781452217383 File size 2 72MB Year 2014 Pages 232 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Nancy J Mezey s LGBT Families
Author Tahlia M Dailey Isbn 9781607417668 File size 4 2MB Year 2009 Pages 420 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Families parents have the
Author George G Morgan Isbn 9780071780841 File size 46MB Year 2012 Pages 470 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Unearth your family s past by
© 2018-2019 bookprice.uk. All rights reserved