The Sandwich Generation

Randy Forbes
2015-03-16 09:04:49

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The Sandwich Generation
By Congressman Randy Forbes
March 16, 2015

There’s something special about photographs that capture multiple generations of family members together. Grandfather, father, and son. Grandmother, mother, and daughter. Great Aunt, father, and daughter.

They’re special because you can see the resemblance – the thread of family heritage – passed down between the family members, from the gray hair and smile lines of the oldest to the youthful energetic smile of the youngest family member. 

The photos are also a beautiful representation of how care is passed down from one generation to another. A reminder that, at some point in our lives, we will be both a recipient of care and a giver of care, whether as a child, a parent, or a family caregiver.

One group of Americans is very aware of this cycle of care. These Americans are providing care in two very different directions. They’re called the Sandwich Generation – individuals who find themselves “sandwiched” between caring for an aging parent and their own young children or young adult. 

The Sandwich Generation isn’t a new phrase, but the group of Americans who will be put into roles as “sandwiched” caregivers is growing. Almost half (
Americans who find themselves sandwiched caregivers don’t just have dual responsibilities. Some spend an average of 20 hours a week providing care for a parent on top of working a full-time job. This could be anything from simple and sporadic care, like running errands and helping with finances, to time-consuming care like doctor and hospital visits and advance care planning. Add in the financial and emotional investment of caring for multiple generations, and the responsibilities grow quickly.

It’s likely that you or someone you know is in this situation, or will be at some point in the future. Here are some resources you can refer to that may help you as you provide care to our aging generations:

has a network of 25 agencies that provide services for seniors in Virginia’s communities. The site includes an option for you to search for agencies near your home.

offers a range of resources, from tax assistance resources, caregiver checklists, information on long-distance caregiving, information on services for caregivers, and more.

provides information on housing options for aging parents or relatives.

offers an online forum connecting people caring for elderly parents. Participants post ideas, questions, and recommendations.

provides access to programs and services available to Virginia seniors and caregivers. 

In addition, my office has produced a
that you can use to help a parent or loved one organize important documents.

Many of us will either become members of the Sandwich Generation at some point in our lives or find ourselves caring for an aging family member. Whether providing full- or part-time, or in-home or long-distance care, the people, services, and information you have access to will help you in your journey.

If you’re a caregiver in the Sandwich Generation, we’d like to hear about it on Facebook. Perhaps there is a resource you’ve found helpful or tip you’d like to share with others who find themselves in this role. Join the conversation at


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