The Sandwich Generation: Caught between Growing Children and Aging Parents

The Sandwich Generation: Caught between Growing Children and Aging Parents

The Sandwich Generation: Caught between Growing Children and Aging Parents

The Sandwich Generation: Caught between Growing Children and Aging Parents

Synopsis

H. Michael Zal, D. O., F. A. C. N., is a Board-Certified Psychiatrist who has maintained a private practice in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, for over twenty years. A graduate of the University of Pennysylvania and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Zal completed a three-year National Institute of Mental Health Fellowship in Psychiatry through the Philadelphia Mental Health Clinic.

Excerpt

Caught in the middle. The Sandwich Generation. These might well be the phrases to best define midlife. The middle-aged man and woman are enmeshed in their own inner struggles. They have just lost the illusion that they can do everything in life and will live forever. They are coping with the biological and physical changes of aging. They may not always like their new selves. They have worked hard all of their lives. The family dog has died. They are looking forward to some time for themselves. Much to their dismay, however, they find themselves tightly sandwiched between the needs and problems of their adolescent and young adult children, as they push toward independence, and their aging parents as they slowly slide into a more dependent role. The middle aged are further stressed by trying to be available to their spouses and meet the demands of their jobs. As they grapple with the realities of midlife, they often wonder about the meaning of life.

"... For those with normal life expectancies the middle years constitute the longest span of our lives. Childhood and adolescence are but a preparation and old age a postscript. In a certain sense the middle years are life itself, or what living is all about."(1) Over 50 million Americans, one-fourth the population, are considered middle-aged. "They earn most of the money, pay . . .

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