Balancing Work, Childcare, & Eldercare, A New Study on Canada’s Current Sandwich Generation

27 Mar

I am a boomer. Albeit a late-end boomer, but a boomer still.  Advances in birth control gave us the ability to delay marriage and children. And we established greater than ever participation (62% as per the 2006 Canada Census) of women in the workforce.  We’re living longer than ever and so are our parents. The result is an increasing number of Canadians simultaneously caring for young children and elderly relatives while holding down full-time jobs.

We are the sandwich generation. Ours is a world of trying to balance paid work, parenting, and caring for chronically ill parents. We’re almost always tired. We’re prone to being cranky. If able to hold down a job too, we’re prone to making mistakes and more likely than our colleagues to turn down promotions. Those who can swing it financially are leaving their jobs, draining the workforce of highly educated, experienced professionals. But we are stretched already.  And when we start hitting our 80s, someone is going to have to take care of us.

A new national study on work-life balance of employed caregivers released today sounds the alarm that Canadian companies need to address the needs of sandwiched employees. Balancing Work, Childcare and EldercareA View from the Trenches is co-written by Carlton University professor Linda Duxbury and Western University’s Christopher Higgens.  As a sandwiched boomer myself, the executive summary said much of what I already know.  But I’ve been in the trenches for several years already.  I hope Canada’s best employers will put this report on the reading list of their HR departments. I know many of them are already offering flexible work arrangements. But I hope there’s more they can do. After all, sandwiched generations didn’t start with the boomers and they won’t end with the boomers either.

The clock is ticking. Boomers are retiring. The children of boomers are already well established in the work force.  And they will be the next sandwich generation.

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6 Responses to “Balancing Work, Childcare, & Eldercare, A New Study on Canada’s Current Sandwich Generation”

  1. Kay Bransford March 28, 2013 at 4:14 am #

    I’m haunted by a stat from the Alzheimer’s Association that cites one in eight have dementia by the age of 65. At 85, it’s one in two. I wonder if living longer should be counted as progress?

    • judila416 March 28, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

      Hi Kay: I hear you! I wondered the same thing every time I would visit my uncle in the nursing home. Living longer is not necessarily a good thing. Certainly not for the one in two who will have dementia by 85.

  2. Jane March 28, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    Interesting article. I’m in the US, and as always, Canada leads the way. Best, Jane

    • judila416 March 28, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

      Hi Jane: Thank you for taking the time to read my post and visit my blog. I wouldn’t be so quick to say Canada leads the way. Perhaps over the US, but that’s all. Several countries in Europe, Sweden and Germany come to mind, have been much more proactive about addressing issues relating to aging and care giving. My government has done very little to address the issue of sandwiched workers. According to a report by the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, the Canadian system of financial supports for caregivers is composed of three non-refundable tax-credits, the Compassionate Care Benefit as well as the Canada Pension Plan dropout provision. These supports do very little for low-income Canadians and absolutely nothing for the unemployed. I look forward to reading yours as well. If you are interested in knowing more about the sandwich generation in the US, check out the Jan, 2013 Pew Social Trends report which is loaded some really great information.


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