There is a growing group of people in America that has emerged over the past two decades, titled “the Sandwich Generation.” The growth of this generation has resulted from many people choosing to have children later in life while, at the same time, adults are living later into their sunset years. The Sandwich Generation is defined as adults who have a parent 65 or older while also raising a child under 18 or providing financial support to an adult child. 23% U.S. adults are now a part of this generation.

The stresses associated with balancing caretaking and financial support varies for each individual, but mothers in the sandwich generation feel more stress than any other age group, according to a survey by the American Psychological Association. Nearly 40% of mothers in this group report extreme levels of stress. Not only does this take a toll on one’s personal relationships, but also on one’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being as they struggle to make room to take care of themselves. 

While the real answer as to how to reduce stress for individuals in the sandwich generation is systemic–an increase in social support for elderly people, more affordable education for young people, and a more balanced domestic work divide between men and women is needed–there are some ways that people struggling to manage their caretaking roles can reduce their stress and strengthen their well-being in the present moment. 

Create a Daily or Weekly Plan

While a to-do list can feel endless, there is only so much in a day that can be done. Recognizing your limitations is the first step to prioritizing tasks at the start of a day or week. Organize your list based on “Must Do’s” and “Maybes,” being realistic with what goes under the first category. Allowing there to be tasks on the Maybe list can help reduce the guilt and overwhelm that comes with feeling like there are things undone—recognize that there will always be things undone, whether it’s rooms unorganized, messages unanswered, or plans not scheduled. Affirm to yourself that you are one person and, each day, you have done enough. As you get into the habit of focusing on the essentials, you may even find additional pockets of time for yourself. Taking care of yourself, thus, requires finding “calm amidst the chaos.”

Join a Community 

When there may be no clear “solutions” to your stresses, it can help to simply feel seen by others who are experiencing similar things as you. There are many online groups dedicated to providing a space for people in multiple caretaking roles to vent about their frustrations and feelings, and to receive emotional support from others who can relate. Here is a Facebook group where you can start.

Seek Therapy

While therapy can be intimidating for many reasons, one for adults balancing multiple caretaking roles is often the time commitment and financial burden. However, therapy can also be seen as an investment to work with someone to help manage personal and financial obligations, stress, and the difficult emotions that come up when caring for your loved ones.


If you are struggling to balance your caretaking roles, you are not alone. Whether you choose to open up to like-minded individuals, accept what’s undone, start therapy, or reach out to friends and partners for support, it’s important to take space and time for you.


Disclaimer: All blog posts are intended for educational purposes and cannot replace direct consultation with a professional provider. Please feel free to check our provider page for more information on our team of talented clinicians who can help you or a loved one navigate the stressors of dual work and caretaking.