Individual Wellbeing and Career Experiences
New Horizons in Management series
Edited by Ronald J. Burke, Kathryn M. Page and Cary Cooper
Chapter 8: Squeezed in the middle: balancing paid employment, childcare and eldercare
I go to an old folks home at suppertime four to five times a week to feed an invalid mother as well as working part-time and taking care of a home, a husband and a son who still lives at home. My own time is very limited. My health and my marriage are both suffering – but what can I do? Just when you reach equilibrium, something new comes along. As the sole daughter of a progressively demented mother – her husband is dead – I have no one to share the responsibility with and there is no structure to support my need to support her. This is the number one source of my stress. Stressful things at work are easier to deal with – they are frustrating but they don’t hurt. Dealing with eldercare is much more personal – it hurts the heart! These quotes were provided by employees responding to our 2012 National Study on Balancing Work and Caregiving in Canada (Duxbury and Higgins, 2013a, 2013b, 2013c) and speak directly to the issues experienced by employees who are part of what both the popular and academic press refer to as the ‘sandwich generation’. The most widely used definition of this term was provided by Chisholm in 1999: ‘The sandwich generation refers to individuals who, by dint of circumstances, find themselves in the position of being caregivers for their young children and/or adult children as well as one or both of aging parents’ (p. 187).
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