The ‘Sandwich Generation’ – Under Pressure and Missing Out
Do you look after aging parents and the needs of your children too? According to a new survey by the Association of British Dispensing Opticians, one in four people aged 40-60 spend more time looking after the health of others than their own. 17 per cent admit that their own health suffers due to the demands of looking after others.
What effect is this having on people in this bracket? The research found that a fifth (20 per cent) feel pressured by their growing responsibilities. Almost three quarters (72 per cent) place their child’s health above their own and around a quarter (24 per cent) prioritises their parents’ health over their own.
The ‘Sandwich Generation’ – originally coined by social worker Dorothy Miller in 1981 – describes those who are “sandwiched” between looking after young children and aging parents, as their primary caregiver. This is a growing group as families are having children later and seniors are living longer.
People in this 40-60 age group are reaching the age where they need reading glasses, and are at increasing risk of sight-threatening eye disease. At the same time, many 40-60 year olds feel themselves to be too young for both glasses and eye disease.
ABDO commissioned media agency, the Relations Group, to interview 2,000 members of the ‘Sandwich Generation’, asking them about how they look after their own health, that of their parents and their children.
The research found that looking after their eyes was a key area that was sacrificed due to lack of time, with 7 per cent having not been to the optician for a staggering nine years or more.
As many as 1 in 6 (16 per cent) say they don’t have enough time to spend on their own health, while a quarter (24 per cent) are most likely to go to the optician for their child and 2 per cent for their parents, over themselves.
ABDO has produced an infographic that highlights the main survey results and how those interviewed look after their own health, and their eye health in particular.
ABDO Board member and Dispensing Optician Jo Holmes says, “Regular eye tests are readily available to everyone in the UK near their home. Many optical practices are open at weekends and have late night opening. A sight test is a vital health check and can detect early signs of eye disease before permanent damage occurs. Don’t just look after others: look after your own eyes too.”