club-sandwich generation

club-sandwich generation
People who provide care for their parents, children, and grandchildren.
Example Citation:
Dan English, Kootenai County clerk, spoke from experience when he said, ''There is a real need for such a support group. Lots of people in our age range can use that kind of help. We talk a lot about the sandwich generation, but there are a lot of us in what I call the triple-decker or club-sandwich generation." These are folks dealing not only with aging parents, but also helping to raise their grandchildren, the fourth generation of their family.
— Larry Belmont, "Grandparents raising grandkids may need help," The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), September 14, 2002
Earliest Citation:
Studies have revealed that women, especially daughters and daughters-in-law, make up 85% of people who are taking care of an elderly relative. American women average 17 years caring for children and can expect to devote 18 years to taking care of an elderly parent. Furthermore, nearly 40% of such women do so while maintaining a full-time job.
The "sandwich generation" of middle-aged family members who have responsibility for children and aging parents is changing. Due to increased longevity, middle-aged children today are the first to be living in an age where a four- or five-generation family is becoming commonplace. More frequently, adult children in their 50s and 60s who are hoping to retire and enjoy long-anticipated freedom find themselves caught in what Radding describes as a "club sandwich generation," with responsibility for very old parents of their own.
— Robyn Loewenthal, "Seniors: prepare to care," Los Angeles Times, May 9, 1991
As the example citation suggests, today's phrase is based on the sandwich generation — people caring for both their parents and their children. The American Association of Retired Persons estimates that 11% of grandparents who are over 50 are helping to raise their grandchildren. Since many of those grandparents also have children and elderly parents to care for, their metaphorical sandwich has an extra layer of bread, making it a club sandwich. You can also call it the triple-decker generation (1998).
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