Panel Hits on Issues facing the ‘Sandwich Generation’
Caring for family poses universal challenge
If you fall into the group of people who are caring for an aging parent while still supporting a child, you may not realize it, but you’re part of the Sandwich Generation.
This group is broadening as both the aging population grows and people have children later in life. At Tech, a panel discussion this month will address this topic and discuss the idea of “Managing Your Role as Caregiver.”
“We’ve heard a lot of interest voiced in this topic,” said Sandy Simpson, director of initiative advancement in Strategic Consulting and principal empowerment officer for the women’s Employee Resource Group, where the idea for the event began. As Simpson’s group explored the issue, they realized it’s a universal challenge for everyone, not just women, and not just for those with elderly parents, but all who unexpectedly end up in the role of caregiver.
The panel will be made up of three professionals who either research or implement ways for people to age in place: Tracy Mitzner, senior research scientist in the School of Psychology and associate director of the Human Factors and Aging Laboratory; Beth Cayce, founder and owner of CaraVista Home Care; and Jennifer Ellis, regional medical director for AseraCare Hospice. Mary Lynn Realff, associate professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering, will facilitate.
Panelists will discuss how to start some of the difficult conversations that come with aging, how to keep yourself healthy while caring for others, and the logistics of keeping everything going at once.
“Sometimes we don’t pay attention until these things are happening to us,” said Simpson, who advised that even those who don’t currently find themselves in this situation should attend to begin planning for the future.
She felt unprepared herself as her parents began to age and have more medical issues; she wants others to go into this phase of life with better information.
“There are so many resources out there for people, but they just don’t know,” she said. “Hopefully this event will start to connect people with some of those.”
Simpson hopes this event will be the beginning of a more long-term conversation on campus about this topic. Those planning to attend the panel should register online.