I’m a happier sandwich
I’m a happier sandwich since I retired. I can support my family with something more important than money. I have time. The Sandwich Generation (ages 45 -64) provides the majority of care to older adults and it can range from 5 -30 hours per week*. Now that I’m retired, I have the time to care for older family members, younger family members and myself. Being a working person made supporting others a constant stressor.
Caregiving Still Women’s Work
It is sad to see that supporting family members continues to be a role largely held by women according to Statistics Canada.* When I look at my female friends and colleagues I see them doing the majority of the caregiving. As their children grow older and more independent, these women are often tasked with caring for an ill partner. Assuming the responsibility for caring for multiple family members can lead to psychological distress and poor health*. It is a “job” that continues day and night and weekends. It is exhausting!
Not Leaving Myself Last
Supporting family is part of my retirement plan but it’s important to make sure it’s not my whole job. Balance is key and using those organizational skills that I developed as a “busy woman” come in handy during retirement. I try to plan regular time with my older family member and time to support the younger one, who’s working full-time. As a retired person I have time and flexibility with that time. Being able to be with someone when they have a medical emergency without worrying about getting time off work or going into work the next day is a huge relief. Importantly, I’m not leaving myself last. I also plan regular time for me and retirement gives me enough hours in the day to do that.
*https://chartwell.com/en/blog/2019/08/who-are-canada’s-family-caregivers-and-how-are-they-doing: I’m a happier sandwich