Baby Boomers = Sandwich Generation

     More and more people are living well into their 80s, 90s, and even 100s as the world population ages. The extraordinary growth of the 65 and over crowd is staggering:  the number of senior citizens over age 65 is growing three times as fast as that of the young.  The baby boom generation is not only caring for its children, but also its parents, terming what is called “The Sandwich Generation.”

     A typical caregiver, according to the National Alliance for Care giving, is “a 46 year-old woman, who is married, working, and who spends an average of 18 hours a week caring for her elderly mother.”   Basic among the responsibilities of these overly stressed and overly burdened women are:  providing transportation for their children and parents; grocery shopping (not only for their own families, but also for their aged relatives); doing household chores in addition to assisting with the basic aspects of daily living (bathing, dressing, and feeding).  These “sandwiched” women visit doctors, cook, clean, and run errands with both groups.  Additionally, these special women provide emotional, financial, and even physical support and care giving to their children and maturing aging parents and relatives.  Add working full time to the equation and you have very over worked, anxious, and exhausted women.

      Where do these women, unprepared for the role of caregiver, turn to relieve the burden?  Who can help with caring for their aging parents?     Dr.  Ken Dychtwald, gerontologist, and author of Age Power , suggests that “ the most vital thing a caregiver can do is find a trusted adviser—a person, not a pamphlet—to help lead a family through the thickets of health care, financial, and emotional questions.” 

      The conceptualization of Geriatric Care Management (GCM) emerged in the 1980’s from the tasks performed by hospital discharge planners and social workers that defined and finalized a plan of care for people preparing to leave the hospital. (Administration on Aging) This hospital vocation evolved into what is now Geriatric Care Management, professionals who “serve as consultants for families with dependent older adults.” 

     The overly burdened adult children of the baby boom generation are thrust into caring for their aging parents. They can now engage the services of the Geriatric Care Manager to help them navigate their way through the myriad of community eldercare resources. The services of the professional Geriatric Care Manager are described in full detail on the professional association website at: www.napgcm.org.  Locally, Raleigh Geriatric Care Management was founded to provide such services. Contact: lwatral@rgcmgmt.com  web site :  www.rgcmgmt.com

 

 

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