The Sandwich Generation
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The Sandwich Generation

Caring for Oneself and Others at Home and at Work

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Lisa M. Calvano

Rising life expectancy has led to the growth of the ‘Sandwich Generation’ – men and women who are caregivers to their children of varying ages as well as for one or both parents whilst still managing their own household and work responsibilities. This book considers both the strains and benefits of this position.
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Chapter 12: What to expect when the unexpected happens: becoming a caregiver

Lisa M. Calvano


Studying the lived experiences of employed caregivers can help scholars and practitioners understand the complexities of balancing caregiving and work. In this chapter, I use autoethnography to weave together scholarly and personal perspectives on becoming a caregiver. I will draw on three sources of information: the academic and popular literature on eldercare; a journal I kept during a parent’s illness and eventual recovery; and the notes I took while managing my parent’s medical care. Reviewing this material, three themes stand out: the practical challenges of coordinating day-to-day care; the emotional challenges of watching a parent age; and the professional challenges of juggling home and work responsibilities.

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