Members of the sandwich generation face many challenges as they try to juggle caring for parents, children and themselves. However, the challenges that they face may vary slightly based on which parent requires care. As discussed in a Next Avenue article titled “Is There a Difference Between Caring for Moms and Dads?”, there are many statistical differences between caring for mom or dad.
For example, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, women have a 65% chance of developing Alzheimer’s compared to a 35% chance in men. However, once diagnosed with dementia, men are 8% more likely to wander away and 30% more likely to be combative. There are other health problems that can vary based on gender, men are more likely to die from cancer or Parkinson’s while women are more likely to be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and macular degeneration.
There are other differences based on gender. In a Northwestern Mutual survey, fathers were cited as twice as likely to discuss long-term wishes and plans with children. Statistics also suggest that caring for mom may be more expensive, 92% of mom’s have no retirement savings to cover living past age 65. The Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement study suggests that many moms may require financial support from children.
Finally, the Assisted Living Federation of America has found that there is a 7 to 1 ratio of women to men in assisted living facilities compared to 10 to 1 in nursing homes. While statistics will not define your caregiving experience, it is important to understand the differences that could possible arise in caring for both parents and the different types of care that each may require.