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A close up of several overlapping hands holding each other, representing young, mid-life and older generations.

Looking after the sandwich generation

Published: 13 November 2022

The sandwich generation are those who support both older and younger generations. As our population ages, it is increasingly common for adults in mid-life to be supporting older children and grandchildren, while also providing informal care for older family and friends.

The research, led by Athina Vlachantoni, Professor of Gerontology and Social Policy, Professor Maria Evandrou, Director of the Centre for Research on Ageing and Professor Jane Falkingham, Director of the Centre for Population Change and Connecting Generations, has found that the sandwich generation faces emotional and financial pressures, and diminishing social interactions.

Our early findings indicate that around one third of those in mid-life are ‘at risk’ of having to provide care to multiple generations of their families, and about half have to provide some care to both grandchildren and elderly parents at the same time. Figuring out ways to support individuals who care for multiple generations needs to be a policy priority. For example, facilitating ways for mid-life people to respond to family support demands while maintaining paid employment, will be critical in fostering future intergenerational support.

Athina Vlachantoni - Professor of Gerontology and Social Policy

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