The Baby Boomer Sandwich
I remember some years ago someone saying that baby boomers would be a sandwich generation. By the time they were in their middle years they might have frail parents while still be looking after their own children or helping with grandchildren. At the time I dismissed the comment, thinking that the main focus would be the children and they’d just do their best for the parents. But here we are.
I cannot tell you how many of my friends have grandchildren and frail parents and are struggling with all their commitments, sometimes at the cost of their own health.
Isn’t it said that if the oxygen masks come down on a plane, a mother should put hers on before her children’s, so she will still be alive in order to help them. Well the same idea needs to apply to baby boomers. Obviously they have to try to meet the needs of all those dependent upon them in their family but if their health goes downhill then their dependents won’t receive their support anyway.
A Cautionary Tale
A baby boomer had children and an aged mother, who needed her support. She shopped for her mother and did her washing and some cleaning. She also had a high powered job, husband and family. Then she developed cancer. She asked her mother to accept help from a care agency, but the mother insisted that she would not have strangers in the house, so the baby boomer carried on with her care whilst undergoing cancer treatment. Her husband did his best to look after the family and care for his wife but eventually she died. Then her mother was looked after by ‘strangers’ – professional carers who came into her home and did the same duties as her daughter had done. The mother is still going strong. And the moral of this story is…
Well the moral is that baby boomers need to add their needs into the equation. They need to plan time for their family (partners and children/ grandchildren) and they need to plan time for their parents (either actual care or checking that suitable care is in place) but just as importantly they need to plan time for their own friends and interests. They will deal with everything in a better way and more easily if they are happy. Without some relaxing time and time off from caring for others, either their physical or mental health, could go down and then where would everyone be? Sometimes their personal time will be stolen by an emergency. That’s life. Then they should immediately reschedule their personal time so they don’t lose it. And if their families think the baby boomer is being selfish then that’s their problem.
So my prescription for the baby boomer sandwich generation is a minimum of one activity you enjoy with friends a week, planned special time with your nearest and dearest and at least one night out a month with the girls!
And the picture? It’s something I enjoy. I love watching swans. They are so beautiful. I go bird watching with my husband about once a month. It’s always special.