Family Relationships

Join other women in the sandwich generation - share ideas and solutions as you learn to nourish family relationships without starving yourself.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I recently returned from a three week trip to China and had the chance to talk to some women about their Sandwich Generation concerns. I was particularly aware of the strong movement away from an agrarian society toward rapid urban growth. Our local "boomer" guides were proud of incorporating Western values into their lifestyle - with more demanding work schedules, higher cost of living and increased stress levels.

There, grandparents are well respected and taken care of - many living in the home of one of their sons and his family. And they play an intregal role in the family structure, often caring for their young grandchildren whose parents are working very long hours.

Yet these elders also nurture themselves - in the early morning hours at any local park, you can find any number of activities very well attended: tai chi, ballroom dancing, exercises, drumming, mahjong, walking, Chinese checkers.

I wonder, should we be adopting some of the ways that the Chinese treat the aging process? Is there a lesson in all this for us?

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Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

I think there is a lesson to be learned. Even my 89 year old mother-in-law wants to feel productive, needed. She loves to babysit my 6 year old daughter, although it's a pretty passive form of babysitting where they sit and watch tv or read books. Still, she likes the fact that they are together and that she is helping me.

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Pete said...

Every generation gets its turn in the sandwich. It is true, however, that the sandwich hits Boomers later in life than previous generations. This is because our parents are living longer than our grandparents did, and we are having our own children later in life than our parents did.

The result is that where our parents might have been in the sandwich in their 40's, we hit it in our 50's.

I'll also echo the comment from "nourishing relationships." It's not for nothing that the airlines always tell you that in the event of an emergency you should put on your own oxygen mask before attempting to help others. Both the caregiver and the care recipient depend on the caregiver's store of energy.

12:42 PM  

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