The Sandwich Generation, named for the population of Americans caring for both their school-aged children and an aging parent/relative, has been uniquely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is largely due to an enhanced demand on the typical type of care the generation provides as a result of the coronavirus’ impact on schooling, healthcare, and changes to everyday work and life. According to New York Life’s recent survey and whitepaper, about three-in-ten U.S. adults (29 percent) have a child under age 18 at home. And, according to a 2018 analysis of the American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 12 percent of these parents also providing unpaid care for an adult relative as well. That same survey found many of these caregivers provide more than two and a half hours of unpaid care a day, on average.
According to Caregiving and COVID-19: How the pandemic is expanding the sandwich generation, when it comes to those caring for both an aging relative and children, it’s largely women and Millennials who are shouldering the burden. Previous generations of this segment also skewed female, but this data shows that the present-day Sandwich Generation skews more female (64 percent) and younger (38 percent Millennial, ages 25-39) than before, which was previously 53 percent women, and 25 percent Millennial, according to AARP1. Within this group, their financial situations vary, with nearly half (46 percent) having $50,000 or more invested (e.g. stock market and mutual funds, IRAs, 401(k) accounts), and 1-in-4 (23 percent) without any financial investments at all.
How COVID-19 has Impacted the Sandwich Generation
The Coronavirus is stretching both time and money thin for the Sandwich Generation, sometimes at the expense of their financial, physical and emotional well-being.
The Sandwich Generation has spent thousands of dollars in total care for their dependents over time —and the Coronavirus pandemic is intensifying this budget crunch. On average, 7-in-10 (69 percent ) say they’re paying for this care out of their own daily budgets, with 27 percent working more hours to obtain the extra funds, 27 percent drawing from their emergency savings, 20 percent sharing costs with a sibling, and 18 percent ultimately delaying paying bills.
On average, the cost of caring for an aging relative is around $1,000/month.