Threat Of Burnout For Today’s Baby Boomers

We live in a fast paced, ever changing world.

In January of this year, I turned 50! I was officially middle aged, if I live to reach 100. But I didn’t have time to dwell on this milestone. Within a week of my birthday, my mother was hospitalized after having emergency surgery. For the next three months, I was at the hospital, everyday, brushing her hair, helping her bathe, encouraging her to eat. Most of the time, I just sat silently with her. It made her feel secure and loved. It was a battle both emotionally and physically for both of us but finally she was well enough to go home. She still had a long road of recovery to go but I was so thankful that I could take a breath and get back to taking care of myself, my husband and my kids. I wanted things to go back to normal.

Baby boomers have more challenges entering midlife than previous generations. See why they are called the "sandwich" generation.

 

But what is normal? If I had turned 50 in 1976, normal would mean that I was a stay at home mom, married, with two children. I would be preparing them to go off to college. Once they left home, they would more than likely, not ever come back to live with me. I would be an empty-nester, planning my husband’s retirement and looking forward to going south every winter. I’m not saying the following like I think it’s a positive but my parents probably would have passed on as well.

But for me, having turned 50 in 2015, my family life looks very different. My children, having left home for school, have now returned. My “children” are now adults. And my family is not unusual. According to Employment Canada, 42.3% of adult children, are currently living with their parents. Job prospects and the economy have made it very difficult for these grown ups to make it in the world alone without considerable help from their parents.

The Threat of burnout for today's baby boomers. The stress of being in the sandwich generation.

As well, thankfully, my mother was able to return to her own home. There were many times I didn’t think that would happen and I was preparing for the next step, becoming a three generation household. Until 2001, Statistics Canada didn’t even include this demographic in their census. It had become a new, blossoming definition of family, worthy of inclusion. If my mother would have come to live with us, I would have joined the 2.2 million Canadian individuals “sandwiched” between taking care of ageing parents and raising children.

So what does this all mean? It means that baby boomers are stressed, financially burdened and losing their sense of self under the weight of their many responsibilities.

Now that’s what I call a midlife crisis!

If this sounds like your family life, there are things you can do to make sure you don’t suffer a burnout.

  • Make a plan now for the future, both financially and emotionally
  • Make time to pursue interests outside of the family
  • Ask other family members or friends for help and/or reach out to community services

Take care of yourself. Remember, it’s the meat in the sandwich that keeps it all together.


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15 thoughts on “Threat Of Burnout For Today’s Baby Boomers

  1. Elena, this is a great blog! And, I rarely find myself saying that. It’s clean design, easy to read, the headline grab me and the topics are readable and relevant. Bravo. I read several posts, liked them all and wanted to read more. I liked you on FB, so maybe I can keep up better there, and there’s always The Women of Midlife group. I’ll try to look for you in share threads.

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    1. Thank you so much Leisa. I am in that group but only join in to the share threads when I have the proper time to fully reciprocate. Unfortunately, that is not today. I will look for you too.

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    1. Sorry! I just found you in spam. I agree. An open discussion between parents and adult children needs to take place so no one is surprised by what was expected from each other. Thank you for stopping by.

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  2. We have been lucky by today’s standards- our children have found their way on their own- somehow. But retirement looks so different today- it happens later (if at all) and it costs more if you do ‘retire’. I guess nothing is ever the way we planned for it.

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  3. That burnout is real. I’m sorry to hear about you Mom and glad she’s recovered. The term sandwich generation feels more like a vice sometimes. We can add to the equation, the number of us who are actually raising our grandchildren! Does that mean we are the most capable generation? I’m beginning to think so.
    Great piece Elena!!

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    1. Yes, most capable! I will accept the responsibility as long as we are not the generation that is blamed if anything goes awry. We are all doing the best we can with our own circumstances and still standing. Unfortunately, I wrote this piece at the beginning of May, my mom is back in the hospital. I’m staying positive and hoping to have her go back home again soon. Thank you for reading and commenting Jennifer. Always a pleasure to know you have been here.

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  4. Elena,
    Maybe we’re going back to how it used to be, when the extended family lived together. The nuclear family: just mom, dad, kids, living under one roof, that is actually a relatively new thing. I’m not advocating either way, but these things change. I guess we have to adapt and make the best of it. I do know it’s hard for a lot of women, trying to take care of several generations and themselves!

    Anita

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    1. Too true Anita! I hope we do adapt backwards actually. I remember my parents speaking of multi-generational families living under one roof. The difference I feel is that the whole family worked as one unit. The money, chores and responsibilities were shared amongst ALL members. Maybe, I just take on the lead too much and others are happy to allow it. I do know other women friends that do that too. Maybe we need to embrace it, step back and allow everyone to find their place in this new family unit so that we can all have time to enjoy each other again. Thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate you making me say Hmmm.

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    2. Too true Anita! I hope we do adapt backwards actually. I remember my parents speaking of multi-generational families living under one roof. The difference I feel is that the whole family worked as one unit. The money, chores and responsibilities were shared amongst ALL members. Maybe, I just take on the lead too much and others are happy to allow it. I do know other women friends that do that too. Maybe we need to embrace it, step back and allow everyone to find their place in this new family unit so that we can all have time to enjoy each other again. Thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate you making me say Hmmm.

      Like

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