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'Sandwich generation': they take care of their parents and their children and are increasingly

2023-01-28T19:40:33.518Z


They are mostly women, they are around 40 and they fell in the middle of the two responsibilities. And that has a cost.


"Sandwich generation"

is the literal label demographers put on those caught in the middle of the double task of

raising kids and taking care of parents at the same time

.

Although it is not a popular breed

-overshadowed

in sociology and psychology by the crises of the millennials and the questions of the centennials- this 

forty-year-old group, with a majority of women

, grows in the country under

equally galloping stress

.

What if.

All cultural care tasks

still fall more on women than men

.

Still, the emotional and financial cost of that level of

doublet

responsibility can be overwhelming for any one person, regardless of gender.

And it deepened into a pandemic, with the closure of schools and nursing homes.

For decades hard data indicates that in Argentina children are having children farther and farther from 30 and

closer to 40

.

Thus, the fathers and mothers of these new mothers and fathers are getting older and losing autonomy.

The faithful translation from English would be "tight" and according to the Pew Research Center more than half of Americans in their 40s are "

spiked

" between an aging parent and their own children.

Both there and here, many people of this "crushed" generation had to change their hours and even work to live closer to a father or mother with health or economic support problems.

It is also that for decades families have become fewer and fewer and there are not many brothers and sisters with whom to

share the adult responsibility of being a child

.

To this we must add the flexibility demanded by the needs of parenting.

And extra complexity

if there is no pocket

for nannies and extracurricular activities.

Not even for residence fees for the elderly.

"Tight" stories

"I am from the sandwich generation," says S., a 52-year-old woman who will tell

Clarín

her story anonymously.

She is a journalist and political scientist.

"I studied the first career at the Instituto Grafotécnico and the second at the UBA while I worked and accompanied my old man in his family home appliance business. Only after graduating from the second and while I was studying English,

at the age of 38 I decided to have my first and only son

. He was born a day before my 39th birthday," he starts.

Andrea and Camilla

That preadolescent today is 13, and S. feels like a "big mother, but young in thought."

Her partner is 57 and her mother died at 82 after caring for her illness for a long time.

Relates how is that

encore of

care.

"We have a lot of communication with our son, we adapt to technology, we accompany him on social networks, with his friends, and we support his evolution in outings. As a journalist, I have walked through bullets or tear gas protests, but as your son grow up,

the law of life shows you that everything is transitory

. Your mother leaves and your old man retires at 86 because he is tired and you have to accompany him".

He sees it as a challenge.

"Suddenly you see yourself succeeding in the best of your career but with your son and your father in charge of you alone."

And she also sees the enjoyment side.

"Seeing them together, grandson and grandfather, sharing their mother and daughter, is the best."


According to exclusive data from the Civil Registry of the Province of Buenos Aires, which

Clarín

accessed , while in 2020 the percentage of women aged 38 at the time of delivery was 2.26%, with 4,003 registrations in reference to the total number of registrations. this year.

In less than three years, the percentage of mothers of that age does not stop growing: in 2021 it was 2.35%, in 2022 it rose to 2.36% and

so far this year it is already 2.43%

.

And there is more data on this maturity of parturients.

Women who in 2020 were 40 years old at the time of giving birth reached 1.47%.

The following year the figure reached 1.50%;

in 2022 it climbed to 1.66% (2,610 births) and so far in 2023, 176 with that age have already given birth in Buenos Aires:

1.64% of the total registrations for the year

.

Women of the sandwich generation "cancel themselves out."

So says Violeta Gorodischer, author of

Desmadres.

From personal experience to collective adventure: the decision to maternity today

(Planet).

And she marks what

happens in the middle class

, where maternity occurs at increasingly later ages.

The writer cited another specific and extreme case.

"A mother who has a daughter with congenital heart disease and a developmental delay, with which, in her case

, this overload of simultaneous care for parents and children doubles

."

The theme also invokes to talk about

men in the upbringing and care of older adults

.

"Surveys continue to show that

twice as many care tasks fall on women

. This has to do not so much with the fact that it has been redistributed but with the fact that they have also been outsourced to women (domestic staff, nannies, nurseries). Also with how men in the popular sectors see care in other tasks, such as housing construction or physical protection in dangerous areas," he points out.

Andrea Giroldi is 51 and almost screamed

"It's my story!"

when

Clarín

proposed to be one of the testimonies of this note about a quite anonymous generation.

"We are a

hinge generation

. Women who must succeed:

be good mothers and daughters

(NdR: he says it because of that limiting mandate)

.

We

are raised with a previous mentality but immersed in a young world.

Since school they bullied me for being ' the poor scholar'. I graduated as a lawyer, I worked in the Judiciary, I traveled a lot and at the age of 39 I wanted to be a mother. I saw myself facing upbringing alone. And I am also alone in the care of my mother, "says Andrea.

Camila's absent father (11) lives in the interior and Andrea

divides the day into a thousand hours

.

Between the girl and her 92-year-old mother, that she is in a home but that she takes to her house during the week and visits almost every Sunday.

But there is someone else.

"I have another mother and the treatment is with both. I was born to a mother girl (who is 67 today) and I was adopted. My 92-year-old mother has little mobility and I only have one of my brothers.

But since I am a woman, almost everything falls about me

."

It was easier in elementary school, when her daughter attended a bilingual school for most of the day.

"When she finished, I transferred her to a simple shift school, because she is federated in artistic gymnastics and competes.

I live an internal struggle between what should be and what makes her happy. 

I have the maternal mandates of a 92-year-old woman, living with mothers from my daughter's school who are 30 years old".

between two links

Social worker Dorothy Miller first published

an article on the "sandwich generation"

in 1981 .

From that moment on, he spoke of all kinds, but he focused on women to invent a term that literally referred to women between the ages of 30 and 40 who were caught (like ham and cheese on bread) between caring for their children and their elderly parents. 


María Julieta Oddone is a principal investigator at CONICET and director of the Aging and Society Program at FLACSO.

She is the author of

papers

on aging in Argentina, she provides an in-depth update on this

sandwich

-link phenomenon .

"The aging that occurred in the world in general and in Argentina in particular led to an increase in life expectancy and a marked decrease in births. This implies that

several generations coexist in population structures

. There are people who are living longer and longer but there are fewer and fewer descendants. Many people do not have children or only have one. The family composition decreases. Children without siblings, without cousins ​​​​or without collateral relatives, are more and more prevalent, "he details

Clarín

.

Last year 

the birth rate fell to the lowest level in history

: fewer and fewer Argentines are born.

It is 1.5%, well below the generational replacement rate.

This shows that the sandwich generation will be so in demand in their care duo that in society the paradigm has already changed that

whoever cares for an older adult is young

.

"We see in Argentina how

more and more old people take care of other old people

. 80-year-old people taking care of siblings, spouses and even children. Even children. It is not only the generation of young caregivers. How do you have fewer children or not? "If you have them, the

vertical generational solidarity of care

ends

. It becomes horizontal: it begins to be given between the same generations. The self-care of the elderly is marked", points out the researcher.

For this reason, according to Oddone, just as the sandwich generation faces this change that has not yet occurred in the equality of the tasks of raising and caring for people, "social policies must be thought of in terms of

how resources will change

between caring for the different generations.

ACE

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Source: clarin

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