There is a price – and not just financial – to being in the middle.
It's almost a cliché for middle-aged Canadians to complain about their adult children repeatedly trying to cash cheques at the Bank of Mom and Dad, but an increasing number of mid-lifers just trying to save enough for their own retirement are getting hit with a double whammy – supporting both their kids and their elderly family members.
The impact this is having on the so-called "sandwich generation" is profound, says Carleton University professor Dr. Linda Duxbury, co-author with Dr. Christopher Higgins of the University of Western Ontario's Ivey School of Business of a study entitled "Balancing Work, Child Care and Eldercare: A View from the Trenches."
The view from the trenches is not reassuring. Working people caring for children or elderly relatives or both report higher degrees of stress than those who don't have to worry about anything other than which bottle of wine to open for dinner.
Sandwichers are the walking wounded; whether they're mid- to upper-level professionals or lower-income workers, supporting both kids and parents has become a stressful burden.
And the problem is not going away soon. Canada is getting top heavy when it comes to aging as the boomer bulge works its way along. Exacerbating the problem is that young people are waiting longer to get married – and having fewer children when they do – leading to fewer working Canadians supporting an ever-growing community of retirees living longer and longer.
Not surprisingly, the responsibility of caring for both children and aging relatives is one that crosses ethnic as well as social and economic boundaries. Anyone familiar with the urban landscape has probably noticed the ubiquitous money transfer shops that dot every large city.
It is through these and other wire-transfer services that immigrants and temporary foreign workers "remit" money to family members back home, an astounding $24 billion in 2012 according to a World Bank study. Most of it is channelled into India, China and the Philippines, but African, South American and European countries are also on the list.
Copyright 2017 ZoomerMedia Limited