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The Sandwich Generation - Stress on a Rope

Stressed-out-woman "The prototypical family caregiver, according to research, is a "Boomer" woman in her 50s who's caring for her parents. She juggles a job and the needs of her own family, often putting kids through college. She's under a lot of pressure and, according to 59% of respondents in a recent survey, her caregiving commitments constitute the greatest stress in her life."

That according to in a study done by the National Alliance for Caregiving, AARP and MetLife. These women (and I should think, some men) are part of what we now call "the sandwich generation." They have kids at home or in college and elderly parents at home in a nursing home, for whom they are responsible.

I found this article noteworthy as I am one of the women they talk about - but, even more so, my sister, Jan, is living the life they describe. My Mom and my Dad live with my sister, in a small apartment built just for them. My Dad has Alzheimer's - and while my Mom does most of his care, the double-duty of caring for both of them is on my sister's shoulders, hers and her husband, Butch.CHLOEWEDDING _grandma-grandpa

[this is a pic of my parents and my daughter, from her wedding, six years ago]

The article talks about the idea that this group of consumers - the sandwich generation - is a large group, a connected group, with shared interests around caring for their kids and parents, but also part of making their lives better or easier, also. Here are the recommendations for brands looking to connect with this vocal group:

  • Create, sponsor or advertise in an online community - one that caters to the care-giver, that has the means to allow the women to communicate with each other.
  • Be simple - straight-forward and to the point. These women are already stressed, don't waste their time with empty promises or marketing speak. Story-telling is good, but not if you're writing the great American novel!
  • Empower them. "If you want to impact the buying habits of caregivers," the article says, "treat them as your brand advocates, engaging them with your message on a personal level and mkaing it easy to share."
  • Function over fashion. These women like checklists, buying guides, interactive tools that allow them to make informed decisions. Make your information user friendly - i.e. easily printable.

We're talking at least 43 million Americans - boomers who are wondering what will happen to THEM... in the coming years. Your opportunity is to not only support them as they traverse the path from motherhood to elder-care, but to guide them in helping make their entrance into senior citizenship easier, better, more comfortable.


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Liked you on Facebook, too. =)


I just read your story, what if you are a man in this situation?
All too often we men find that we need support as well. I my case My wife is the one needing the care. She lives in an old folks home during the week. On weekends I take her home and she gets out.

The average person there is around 80 and she is 38 (yup you read it right)the only reason she is there is because of her med needs.
The last while I have had my own medical problem. I have two teenagers at home that I have to care for (you know that's A JOB)
With that said you still have to keep your stress in check and it gets hard some times.

When things get overwhelming I say my little prayer and continue on.
I find that helps for the most part,the stress doesn't stop but it makes it easier to deal with.
So you take care and I'll be gone on to the next thing.
PS I found this page because I'm trying to write a blog about stress, and maybe like you I can help some one else.

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