The "sandwich generation" with a special needs twist. Are you a member of the club [if I was REALLY clever I'd have a picture of a club sandwich here]?
My friend "J" is has two teen/young adult children on the autism spectrum at home, along with her elderly mother who has dementia. "J" told me that she has run into women she knows from autism support groups at support groups for children of parents with Alzheimer's and dementia. Clearly, "J" is not alone. How she and others do it, I don't know. To try and find out, I searched on the internet for information on and tips for caring for special needs children while also caring for aging parents.
I found plenty of information about the impact of caring for both children and aging parents while working, including research by Portland State University researchers Margaret B. Neal and Leslie B. Hammer.
And there are a number of scary and depressing articles on the plight of aging parents of children with disabilities, who are worried about how their children will fare once they are gone.
AND some articles on the impact of multiple roles on the well-being of midlife women . Overall, it seems that the more roles a woman has, the greater her overall stress caused by such role strain. On the plus side, strong social support can mitigate some of that stress.
But information specifically on the stresses a being a"sandwich" parent who is caring for children with disabilities - I didn't find, well, anything. That isn't to say it isn't out there. Help, anyone?
I would like to hear from those of you who are experiencing this phenomenon. How does it impact you and your family? Have you found any resources to help? Have you discovered any "plusses" to this situation? I'd also appreciate any web links on information on this topic. Hopefully we can start a resource list on this blog, maybe called A Different Sandwich Generation?