Late 2009 –
I wonder how many folks living in the US consider themselves members of this generation; you know the ones with aging parents who need our help, and adult offspring who need a little, or a lot, of help, too? We’re the ones also bitten by the recent recession and struggling to preserve our retirement investments while managing an extended family household.
Getting deeper into my sixties, along with my wife, we found ourselves providing a home for our son and daughter in law while we were also providing non-financial support for my wife’s octogenarian parents. The younger ones were determinedly facing a difficult economy and trying to launch careers while the older pair were experiencing the ravages of advancing age, dementia and diabetes; plus Parkinson’s, heart disease, and a myriad of ailments.
I never imagined we would find ourselves relying on my wife in the breadwinner role while I managed my own part-time business, coached my children, coordinated in-law medical appointments and transportation, and made sure once they could no longer drive that Mom and Dad got their Tuesdays with Terry. I gradually became “the big guy” and best friend to my Father-in-Law who no longer remembered me as anyone else. I became the arm my Mother-in-Law leaned on, the counselor with whom my children consulted, and some days not much more than alternate cook and bottle washer to my lovely wife.
So many people find themselves in this position that I began to wonder if sharing my experiences would offer some comfort to the rest of you, just in knowing that you’re not alone, that there are difficult times ahead, and that there are ways of coping with the stresses and challenges of this time in your life. Hence this blog, Tuesdays with Terry, makes its appearance. This is also an open invitation to share through your comments your experiences with life in the sandwich generation. I don’t claim to know all of the answers or even a small fraction of them, so don’t hesitate to share what you’ve learned, resources you know about, and referrals to experts who have helped you through your own unique situations.
Late Summer 2017 –
Of course time marches on, and later in 2017 my wife and I found ourselves no longer the meat of the sandwich, but the bread! And now I’ve joined the ranks of the seventy-somethings! Since I began writing this blog my mother-in-law passed away, and then my Dad, the last of that generation in our family, leaving us no longer in the sandwich. Dad’s younger brother, my uncle, is still with us, but approaching 89, with his own family to be there when he and my aunt need the help. I’m still committed to offering insights for the sandwich generation, but now you may find my observations more often focused on being the recipient of care than the caregiver!
Regardless, I’m happy to continue the conversation … Pops