What is a Sandwich Family?

Post written by Kay.

My definition of a Sandwich Family is: a family that bears primary responsibility for at least three generations simultaneously. That responsibility could be daily living and care, financial, health and wellness, legal, or a combination of all of those.

In my family, this means my husband, our school-age children, and I live next door to my mother. So my husband and I are the “filling” in our particular sandwich.

But your sandwich could look very different from ours. Perhaps the older generation in your family lives far away or in a retirement community, and you have financial and healthcare power of attorney responsibilities for them, while your children are in college. Maybe you have always been the daily companion for a beloved aunt who lives across town but you don’t have any legal responsibility for her, you are divorced and your children are still quite young. It could be that you are retired and share your home with your adult children and your grandchildren. Or maybe, like a friend of mine, you are currently rearranging your life so you can move your spouse and family halfway across the world to take care of your aging father.

In short, being a Sandwich Family is complicated, stressful, difficult, and hard to understand if you don’t live in it (and often hard to understand even when you do live in it), but it can also be rewarding, at times lovely, meaningful, and filled with acts of devotion and love. Basically, Sandwich Families are just like any other daily family, but with an extra generation layered on top.

What does your Sandwich Family look like? Leave a comment below!

Post photo: pixzolo on unsplash

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