According to Statistics Canada, the "sandwich generation" now includes more than two million Canadians -- or 28 per cent of all caregivers in Canada -- with the majority being women between 35 and 44 years old. This number is only expected to rise as Canada's population ages and the older generation is no longer capable of caring for themselves. That leaves us with a generation stuck with caring for their late-leaving adult children and their ailing parents at the same time. How do they cope?
One of the earliest memories from my childhood is when you'd come home, I'd help you take your shoes and socks off. Memory is a funny thing though; it's not always accurate, but more importantly, and particularly in your case, it's oftentimes fleeting, and unreliable. You may not remember this, or at times fail to even understand, you have an illness called dementia.
My mom's health has been deteriorating greatly over the past year. As an only child, I am her primary caregiver and this last hospital stay has really taken a toll on me. She gets very limited formal help and the rest of her care is left to me. I am so tired and can't concentrate on anything any more.
Just in front of every baby boomer, there is a parent. Or parents. Like me, on the brink of old age. Let us suppose that I am your mother. Chances are, when you ask me, "How are you Mom?" I will answer "Fine." Am I? Or am I in denial, protecting you from the truth, afraid to admit to my physical and mental lapses?
If you're in your 40s or 50s you may be starting to deal with the reality that your parents, as you've always seen them, are changing. Beginning to take on the role of care giver for your parents is another struggle, but how best to ensure mom and dad's well-being, finances, and expressed wishes are looked after is something you can plan for. This begins, ideally, by making decisions before the fact and there are four basic components you want to determine.
China's 4:2:1 problem is ours, too, just with a different name: A glut of people are growing old and there are fewer of us to pay for their care, while also having to save for our own retirement. At the personal level, there are more of us without siblings shouldering the costs of care for aging parents.