The ‘Sandwich Generation.’ For those who have never heard this term, you’re not alone. It essentially refers to those men and women who are caught between caring for children and aging parents. In essence, they’re ‘sandwiched’ between two care demands, and for many it’s not possible to choose between one or the other.
Many of these ‘Sandwich Generation’ individuals face mounting challenges with work and other responsibilities. They stress about the safety and welfare of their children as well as aging parents who may be facing increased safety issues at home.
One company now, Deloitte, may be establishing a new trend that could help these men and women get some relief. Deloitte is going to provide up to 16 weeks of paid time off for those who need to care for aging or disabled loved ones or children. There will be certain provisions to ensure those using this benefit are doing so in good faith, and it will also include up to six months full paid time off for women dealing with short-term disability for childbirth.
The company is being lauded for accepting the importance of elder care in much the same way that numerous companies recognize the value of maternity and now paternity leave.
As reported by Sushma Un, reported for Market Watch in the blog, Relief may be on the horizon for the Sandwich Generation if elder-care leave catches on:
“Because of the aging population and workforce, more people will now have to combine work life and family care and workers shouldn’t have to choose between the two,” Lynn Feinberg, senior strategic policy advisor in AARP Public Policy Institute said. The AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired People), a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit advocacy group launched a similar program in May this year. All active full- and part-time AARP employees can request up to two regularly scheduled work weeks of paid time off per calendar year to care for or assist a family member.”
More Americans are reaching retirement age and living longer, which is placing increased pressure on family members and others and it’s adding a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety into their lives.
While a good gesture, it still doesn’t address long-term care or the value in relying on experience caregivers. As seniors age, they will face numerous challenges and family is often the first to step up and help, but without proper experience or understanding of those challenges, its impact may be limited.