At a recent San Francisco Bay Area End-of-Life Network lunch meeting, a friend casually mentioned being the middle-slice bread(winner) in a club sandwich generation. Seriously worried about the cost of keeping her 94-year-old demented mother in a care facility, she is also helping her son and daughter-in-law with their preschool children while both parents work. Club sandwich generation? Horrors.
The term seems to have been around for at least three or four years, but I managed to miss it earlier. I am not entirely thrilled about it now. How many generations will we eventually sandwich in? Does it not make sense for a few of us on the top to layer off?
So OK, I’m not quite 94 and not quite demented. At least, as well as I can remember. But I do have my advance directive done with all the DNRs and dementia provisions and Leave It Be messages possible, and hopefully before I get to the point of Medicaid-funded nursing home, because every penny saved has been spent, I’ll be toast.
Deakin University researchers questioned 113 people about their views on the over-65s for a report commissioned by the Victorian aged care organisation Benetas. The university’s Associate Professor David Mellor says young people and baby boomers perceived older people as unproductive.
“While older people are seen as friendly and pleasant, ultimately, they’re seen to be unproductive,” he said. “Now, that ties in with baby boomers talking about older people as having no ambition, or as being fragile and being a burden on society.”
OK, “friendly and pleasant,” I’m good with that. But fragile. Come on, professor, I’m still doing my par course workouts.
Professor Mellor says the research revealed a number of reasons why older people are not treated with respect. “Things like the smaller family size, broken families, the pressure of time that affects people who are working, and the rise of technology,” he said. “All of those kind of factors were seen to be barriers to younger people giving respect or expressing respect to older people.”
However. That ‘ABC’ refers to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, not the American. And can any study commissioned by a Victorian aged care organisation be fully trusted? Let’s have a little respect here, please.