When Chantal, 52, finally reached home that night, after a stressful ten hour work day, and an exhausting stop-over in a crowded supermarket to buy groceries, she nearly burst into tears. She had received 11 missed calls from her Mum, Annick, while she was at the office that day, but, rushing from one duty to the other, she hadn’t yet been able to answer any of them. As always when she wasn’t able to attend her Mum’s calls, Chantal felt a familiar wave of emotions- combination of fear, guilt and despair- overwhelming her:“What if her Mum was injured? What if there was a thief in her house, and she was calling for help?” And Chantal hadn’t taken any of the calls, owing to her heavy workload. But how could she? She could have been fired, and she just couldn’t let it happen: she needed this job to support her two children studying abroad, and she had to care for her Mum, of course. She just couldn’t afford to answer personal calls all day long.
Annick was living alone in their family house in Curepipe, a long 45-minute drive away from Chantal’s own apartment. So far, Annick had strongly claimed her independence, and refused to leave their family house for an elderly care home. Chantal had always tried to support her Mum, and reply to all her calls, even during working hours. However, over the past few weeks, her Mum had started calling more often, asking the same questions, or commenting on the same old news. Annick also had difficulty remembering names of family friends, had payed her CEB bill twice, and 2 weeks ago, had forgotten to switch off her stove, nearly setting her house on fire. Chantal could sense that the situation was getting worse everyday, and that soon she wouldn’t be able to cope with it anymore. She would have to take a difficult decision, and she was dreading it like hell.
The Sandwich Generation
Chantal forms part of what we call the Sandwich Generation, i.e. 45–60 years old adults (and statistically more female adults) “caught in the middle” of caring for their own children and their living parent simultaneously. The Sandwich Generation usually adopts responsibilities and services like transportation, meal planning, health care, personal care, financing and general housekeeping for both their kids and living parent.
Many studies around the world show that this fast-growing group of individuals like Chantal experience an increasing level of stress, due to the physical, mental and financial pressure of having to care for both ends of the family, combined with other professionally related concerns. This stress often manifests itself in harmful ways such as burnout, sleep issues, guilt, depression, and anxiety that cause a personal toll on their well-being.
Why it is Difficult
The already difficult situation of the Sandwich Generation in Mauritius has also been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, in various ways:
Supporting the Sandwich Generation
We may all have come across people like Chantal. They are those strong men and women around us that always seem to handle any difficulty with courage and resilience. In a party, you might recognise them as the ones that are busy serving drinks, or doing the dishes... always caring for others. They don’t complain about their situation, they just cope with it. They might not have time to exercise, or get a new haircut, but they are always trying their best for their family.
From the US, to France and Germany, many countries around the world are now highlighting the critical role of the Sandwich Generation and its contribution to the well-being of the society at large, and are setting up holistic support systems to lessen their burden. Such systems are unfortunately lacking in Mauritius. And a pertinent question we might ask ourselves is: where might our Sandwich Generation get help or just a moment of respite to breathe?
Well, here is the good news: now FAMILIA is here to help!
FAMILIA is a network of over 100+ care professionals, all united under a common mission- to set new standards of care in Mauritius and serve those who require care, to do it in loving community, and to do it with all our heart.
We have designed a comprehensive set of care solutions at home for our Mauritian elders so that they can continue staying in their beloved home safely, while remaining independent. This also provides respite and peace of mind for our Sandwich Generation people like Chantal, in their responsibilities towards their parents.
There are many types of support that we can provide to our Sandwich Generation people. Maybe it’s through a personal assistant to help get groceries, pick up medicines, escort your elder to the clinic- so you don’t need to take a day off work to do so-, or even spend some time simply watching a movie or sharing stories with your parent. Or maybe you’d prefer a nursing procedure done at home so you can skip the trip to the clinic. Or maybe you’re looking for a 24/7 post-surgery care team for your parent including psychologists and physiotherapists.
Whatever the need of your family is, FAMILIA is here to tailor a care plan for you, offering flexibility in services, quality of care delivered by trained professionals selected for their devotion to elders, and peace of mind with our customer support hotline, and technology to monitor and report on the delivery of care. And we find you a match in 48 hours!
If you are from the Sandwich Generation and you are interested in getting support in caring for your loved one(s), we are here for you: call us on +230 5297 0977 or request a free and “no-commitment” quote by clicking one of the links below:
The Familia Team
Changing our mindset about ageing. FAMILIA innovates on successful ageing, by providing holistic care plans and a digital platform for all home care services under one roof. We also empower caregivers with training, technology, and support to enable elders to live better.