The Sandwich generation (B1)
Today people often look forward to their middle age as a time when they will be able to take things easier. After their children are grown, they expect to enjoy the life they have worked hard to create. However, the reality is often very different. In middle age, many people discover that they have two ongoing responsibilities: one is to look after their aging parents, and the other is to help their young adult children with the pressures of life. Around the world, there are millions of people who are “sandwiched” in between the older and the younger generations.
There are two important reasons for the rise of the sandwich generation. First, people are living longer than they used to. In the early nineteenth century, the average life expectancy for adults in the United States, for example, was about 40, whereas today people live to an average age of 75. The second reason is that these days, young adults often live with their parents for a longer time than they did in the past.
The financial and emotional pressures on the sandwich generation can be overwhelming. However, this time in life also has its rewards. In order to survive this difficult period in their lives, the members of the sandwich generation must remember that they also need to pay attention to their own needs and look after the quality of their own lives. They can’t be totally selfless.