FINANCIAL SUPPORT is only one way that the sandwich generation cares for their aging parents or adult children. Emotional support is also part of the care package. If you are a member of the Sandwich Generation, do you provide emotional as well as financial support?
The Sandwich Generation is populated by middle-aged Americans who balance their responsibilities to at least one parent aged 65 or older—and to a child, either a youngster or an adult child. The rising number of adult children who need financial support is the main reason these sandwiched adults are feeling the squeeze, as we discussed yesterday.
But there’s more than money in the equation.
In fact, more middle-aged Americans provide emotional support than financial support, according to a just-released Pew report. Adult children appear to need emotional support more than older parents do. Almost seven of ten (68%) middle-agers with older parents provide emotional support to them, while 76% of all adults with children 18 and older provide emotional support to their sons and daughters.
The majority of the sandwich generation (55%) gives emotional support to both aging parents and grown children. Only 12% say they do not give emotional support to aging parents or adult children.
Both men and women provide emotional support to aging parents and adult children, but the emotional work falls more to women than men. More sandwich mothers than sandwich fathers provide emotional support to their adult children. And, sandwich daughters are more likely than sandwich sons to give emotional support to their aging parents.
Do we have a moral obligation to provide emotional care to aging parents and adult children? We know from yesterday that the vast majority of Americans believe that we have a duty to provide financial support. The facts cited today imply that emotional care might be considered even more of a moral obligation.
Maybe it’s not only an obligation. Could it also be a gift? Almost half of all sandwich parents today report closer ties to their adult children than they had with their own parents at a similar age, Pew reports. Sandwich mothers are more likely to say so, compared to sandwich fathers—but both mothers and fathers show a trend toward closer ties with their adult children.
Do you provide emotional support to an aging parent?
Do you provide emotional care for your adult children?
Have you experienced closer emotional ties between the generations?
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Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an experiment in civil dialogue about American values.