'Sandwich generation' a hard act to swallow

21:17, Jul 16 2014
Winnie Duggan with son David
MEAT IN THE SANDWICH: Winnie Duggan with son David, 17, and a photo of her parents, Alex and Joyce Ross, both in their 80s. ntsG

Changing trends are creating a "sandwich generation" - and it's an unpalatable one for many parents.

An ageing population coupled with women having children later in life is creating a "double caring" burden, in which a growing number of people are caring for their late-born children - and their elderly parents at the same time.

Our Futures, published yesterday, says family dynamics are changing because women are waiting longer to have children, and their parents are living longer.

Winnie Duggan, of Ngaio, is typical of the sandwich generation. She has a son still living at home, and is also in charge of looking after her parents, in their 80s, and her mother-in-law, 92.

The three elderly people need some sort of help with cleaning, finances or transport at least every second day, she says.

"You've got school sports, and teenagers' activities in the weekend, and trying to fit in both lots of parents - let alone your own life."

Duggan was 36 when daughter Sarah was born and 38 when she had son David, now 17. Sarah, 19, is at university.

A counsellor and celebrant, Duggan had to cut her work hours a year ago to make herself more available.

"I'm the main one on-call if someone has to go to the hospital."

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