Sand­wich gen­er­a­tion squeezed

Hamilton News - - COMMUNITY -

The hol­i­day sea­son can be an es­pe­cially chal­leng­ing time for a gen­er­a­tion of New Zealan­ders caught in a costly car­ing trap.

Silently squeezed be­tween look­ing af­ter an elderly fam­ily mem­ber and rais­ing their own chil­dren, they’re find­ing them­selves stretched — fi­nan­cially, emo­tion­ally and time­wise.

They’re the ‘sand­wich gen­er­a­tion’ — a group that’s bear­ing the day-to-day brunt of a so­ci­ety where the over 65s are liv­ing longer while their own chil­dren are ar­riv­ing later.

“We now have a gen­er­a­tion who are ac­tively car­ing for a gen­er­a­tion above them, fully en­gaged in rais­ing a gen­er­a­tion below and do­ing both for a sig­nif­i­cant pe­riod of time,” says Pub­lic Trust’s gen­eral man­ager re­tail Ju­lian Travaglia.

“The re­spon­si­bil­i­ties they face and the tasks they’re un­der­tak­ing from be­ing sand­wiched be­tween two gen­er­a­tions are com­ing at a cost to their own well­be­ing.

“The prob­lem is fur­ther ex­ac­er­bated by the need to keep elderly par­ents in their own home as long as pos­si­ble be­fore seek­ing rest home care. At the same time, hous­ing and ed­u­ca­tion costs mean chil­dren are re­ly­ing on parental sup­port for longer.”

Pub­lic Trust un­der­took mar­ket re­search to de­ter­mine if its Per­sonal As­sist ser­vice was still meet­ing the needs of the mar­ket.

“Our sense was that there is a grow­ing need for even more spe­cialised ser­vices to help ease the bur­den of those peo­ple tend­ing to every­day fi­nan­cial, prop­erty and per­sonal ad­min­is­tra­tion, while also jug­gling a lot of other re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. Our re­search has shown this to largely be the case,” says Pub­lic Trust’s head of mar­ket­ing and part­ner­ships Josh By­ers.

Some in­ter­est­ing find­ings from Pub­lic Trust’s re­search:

■ The sand­wich gen­er­a­tion tend to be 34-54 years old, with 60 per cent fe­male.

Car­ing is costly:

■ The sand­wich gen­er­a­tion are spend­ing on av­er­age $5730 a year sup­port­ing some­one over 65 years of age. In­ter­est­ingly, 17 per cent are spend­ing more than $10,000 a year.

■ Those also car­ing for some­one 18 years of age or older are spend­ing on av­er­age $5186 a year on each in­di­vid­ual.

■ Time poor — the sand­wich gen­er­a­tion have on av­er­age around 700 fewer hours per year for re­lax­ation, per­sonal ac­tiv­i­ties and wel­fare.

■ Emo­tion­ally stretched — 38 per cent of the sand­wich gen­er­a­tion said they felt like they were at an emo­tional break­ing point.

Ser­vices such as Pub­lic Trust’s Per­sonal As­sist ser­vice are de­signed to free up time for those weighed down by fi­nan­cial and prop­erty ad­min­is­tra­tion, leav­ing more op­por­tu­nity for rest, hob­bies and spend­ing qual­ity time with loved ones.

“The need is clearly there for these ser­vices. How­ever, it may still take a bit of a cul­tural shift be­fore they are fully em­braced. It may be sim­i­lar to how peo­ple re­acted to the idea of rest homes or day­care fa­cil­i­ties at first,” says Ju­lian Travaglia. “Many peo­ple prob­a­bly have trou­ble with the idea of a third party tak­ing care of some fi­nan­cial and prop­erty re­spon­si­bil­i­ties that they be­lieve they should do them­selves. But if it means a bet­ter qual­ity of life, then why not use them?”

■ Find out more about the Sand­wich Gen­er­a­tion from the New Zealand Her­ald: https://www.nzher­ald.co.nz/nz/news/ar­ti­cle.cfm?c_id=1&ob­jec­tid=12147360

Photo / Sup­plied

Param­jeet Singh (right) with wife Prab­hjot and daugh­ter Har­leen — says car­ing for his chil­dren and par­ents at the same time is tough, but re­ward­ing: “Hav­ing fam­ily with me — it makes me happy, it mo­ti­vates me.”

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