My early childhood was spent living several states away from my grandparents. This limited our visits to a couple of times a year. A big goal for my parents was returning to Kansas so they could be closer to their parents. Meeting this goal allowed us to visit my grandparents many times a year. This also allowed me to see and to experience my parents serving as caregivers to their parents in a variety of ways.

For many years, I worked in long-term care facilities in Florida. There were snow birds (retirees who spent the winters in Florida to escape the snow) and a fairly transient population. Whether at work or within the community it was rare to see many grandparents (or great grandparents) regularly receiving visits from their grandchildren. And, I found many elementary aged children lived far away from their grandparents.

Sandwich pile

Image by redspotted via Flickr

I now live in an area where extended families are the norm. I am blessed to live less than a three-hour drive from my father. Currently, two of my siblings live the same community as my father.  My father is active and healthy. Yet, I know their may come a time when he may require assistance.

At what point does one go from being between generations to being the Sandwich generation? As the mother of a teenager and the daughter of a 70+ aged father, where am I? . So, I did a little research. The Sandwich Generation® site classifies three types:

bullet Traditional: those sandwiched between aging parents who need care and/or help and their own children.
bullet Club Sandwich: those in their 50s or 60s, sandwiched between aging parents, adult children and grandchildren. OR those in their 30s and 40s, with young children, aging parents and grandparents. (Term coined by Carol Abaya)
bullet Open Faced: anyone else involved in elder care(Term coined by Carol Abaya)

I like this menu selection Carol Abaya created. It implies we have within our families and within our communities the potential to be an ingredient in the sandwich. Some current research indicates a diversity of ages and situations make-up the sandwich generation. While those in a sandwich situation spend more time providing family care, they spend as much as time as other employees at work. General, these people earn less than other employees but spend more on care.

Over the next few weeks, I will share some thoughts specific to each type of sandwich on the Sandwich Generation®  Menu, ways music could support each group, and some ideas for preparing the ingredients (various generations) for preparing to be a part of the sandwich.

Are you a member of the Sandwich Generation? If so, which type of sandwich are you? What are the blessing & challenges you experience? (Be sure and fill out the CAPTCHA when leaving a comment.)

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