The Sandwich Generation

Frank Diana
3 min readApr 30, 2024

A recent article describes a societal challenge that represents a major convergent force. I have portrayed this challenge as a shift in our traditional life segments — from four to five. Here is a summary of the article:

As we approach 2030, the world braces for a significant demographic shift. In the United State alone, 10,000 Americans will hit the age of 65 every day. This surge in the elderly population underscores a pressing global concern regarding our readiness to provide adequate elder care, a responsibility often shouldered by the adult children of aging parents. This phenomenon has coined the term “sandwich generation,” referring to individuals who find themselves simultaneously caring for elderly parents and raising their own children.

Lisa Ling, a CBS News contributor, finds herself at the heart of this demographic trend. Ling, along with nearly 80 million other Americans, navigates the intricate balance of tending to both her young children and aging parents. Ling’s husband, Paul, juggles school routines with assisting his 92-year-old mother, Grace, through medical appointments and emergencies, painting a vivid picture of the daily challenges faced by the sandwich generation.

Another caregiver, Lauren Shin, shares her journey of caring for her mother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, while also raising two young children. Shin’s experience highlights the emotional and logistical complexities involved in providing care for a loved one with a degenerative condition. Eventually, Shin’s family made the difficult decision to transition her mother into a memory care facility, a move that came with its own set of challenges but ultimately provided a safer environment for her mother’s needs.

However, accessing such facilities isn’t always straightforward, as Nicole Jorwic from Caring Across Generations warns. Medicaid coverage for long-term care comes with stringent eligibility criteria and long waitlists, leaving many families grappling with the financial burden of elder care. This brings into question the notion of a great wealth transfer, where some $84 trillion is expected to be passed from older generations to their children. That wealth may instead be spent on elder care.

Despite the challenges, there is hope. Shin shares words of encouragement for fellow sandwich caregivers, emphasizing that the journey gets easier as children grow more independent and elderly parents find comfort in supportive environments. Her story serves as a reminder of the resilience and strength within the sandwich generation, as they navigate the delicate balance of caregiving and parenting.

In conclusion, the rising tide of elder care needs among the aging population presents a significant challenge for the sandwich generation. Yet, stories like those of Ling and Shin shed light on the courage and determination required to navigate these uncharted waters. As a society, it is imperative to recognize and support the invaluable contributions of caregivers, ensuring that they receive the resources and assistance needed to provide optimal care for their loved ones.

Originally published at on April 30, 2024.



Frank Diana

TCS Executive focused on the rapid evolution of society and business. Fascinated by the view of the world in the next decade and beyond