One third of womenaged 50-69 in Ireland today are in the ‘sandwich generation’ with the majority providing care to both elderly parents and dependent children, according to a new report from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) led by Trinity College Dublin. The report provides insight into the important contribution of this group of women to supporting two generations – their living parents and younger dependent children – and finds that this has an impact on their physical and mental health.
The report has found that the sandwich generation are providing a range of financial and non-financial support to elderly parents, dependent and non-dependent children and grandchildren. In fact, 58% of sandwich generation women give help to their parents and 83% give help to their children. One third look after grandchildren. Almost half of this group are providing this range of care and support while also in employment.
- Half of all sandwich generation women provide substantial time support to their parents. One-third provide support towards basic and personal care such as dressing, eating and bathing (activities of daily living) for an average of 21 hours per week and more than half give household help with chores, transportation and shopping (instrumental activities of daily living).
- One-third of the sandwich generation women provide practical household help including shopping and household chores to their non-resident adult children for an average of 12 hours per month.
- One-third of sandwich generation women look after their grandchildren for an average of 34 hours per month.
- Nine per cent of sandwich generation women provide financial support to their parents, with the average amount being €2,000 in the last two years. Two-thirds provide financial support to their children, at an average of €3,000 in the last two years. More than three-quarters of women (79%) who were financially supporting their parents were also financially supporting their children. Additionally 71% also gave other non-financial care to their parents, one-third to their children and one-quarter looked after grandchildren.
The research suggests that the impact of providing intergenerational support on women’s health varies by the type of support given. Providing financial support to children is associated with improved self-rated health among the sandwich generation women, but providing financial support to parents is associated with increased depression among this group. Providing practical household support for children is also associated with increased depression.
For media queries please contact: Yolanda Kennedy, Press Officer for the Faculty of Health Sciences, Trinity College Dublin at [email protected] or tel: +353 8963551