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Middle-agers as caregivers

September 14, 2000

Middle-agers as caregivers



Finally. It's time to make time for me - for us - again.

The last child is nearing the end of college, and the sigh expelled is one of relief and anticipation.

Relief at having survived sending the children through college. Anticipation at having an empty house, time to travel, no college bills to pay.

Unfortunately, seismic shifts in the family dynamic have resulted in a new landscape for many Americans entering or entrenched in middle age. Passports and playtime are being exchanged for caregiving of parents, grandchildren or children returning home as a result of divorce.

Relaxation is out; a whole new phase of parenting is in. With seniors living longer lives, it will become more common for middle-agers to still be caring for parents as they near retirement age.

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Welcome to "The Sandwich Generation." Sorry, no side orders of free time are available.

Luckily, hope is in abundance. Experts say caring for the generations on either side hold hidden joys. Challenges exist and are formidable, but with proper planning and perspective, continued care of the family can yield a rich middle-age experience.

- Kevin Clapp, Staff Writer

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