Help for ‘Sandwich Carers’ in Edinburgh

Sandwiched between caring for elderly parents and their own children, so-called sandwich carers are on the increase

Grandmother holding a newborn baby, to illustrate the sandwich generation

Sandwich carers, or even The Sandwich Generation is a name given to adults, often in their 40s or 50s, who need to provide care for their own children and also their elderly parents. The name comes from them being ‘sandwiched’ between caring for their young family and older relatives. This is sometimes a result of parents living longer, and having children later in life.

In the UK there are somewhere in the region of 2.4 million people who combine childcare with caring for older or disabled relatives (according to the Carers UK report about the sandwich generation in 2012).

Caring for two generations of your family can be tiring and stressful. In fact it is not uncommon for ‘sandwich carers’ to report symptoms of mental ill-health such as stress and ‘burn-out’. This is because as well as the physical and emotional effort of caring, carers often experience a lack of time to rest and recharge their batteries, or have a social life. This in turn creates a perfect storm of circumstances which can impact all areas of the carer’s life.

Many people in the sandwich generation admit to finding it difficult to cope, both emotionally and financially. As well as impacting their ability to earn, the pressure of caring for children and parents can also take it’s toll on family life. In fact, almost two-thirds of sandwich carers say that their relationships with their partner and friends has suffered.

There is help available for the Sandwich Generation

If you are currently finding it difficult to provide care and support to your children and parents, it might help to know that there is help available.

Viva Independent Living are a company dedicated to helping elderly people in Edinburgh continue to live independently. Our service is based around providing a companion who will spend time with your elderly parent on a regular basis. Just knowing there is someone who will be with your elderly parent for a couple of hours each week can free up some of your valuable time, and hopefully help bring some balance back to your life.

A Viva elderly companion will help your parent with small day-to-day tasks which might be becoming a bit challenging for them on their own. Things like going to the shops, travelling to appointments, or keeping an active interest in hobbies or clubs. As well as this, we aim to be a ‘ray of sunshine’ to the person we visit, brightening up their week and giving them something to talk about – and look forward to.

Or we can simply provide some company. Often just spending a couple of hours chatting over a cup of tea, or going for a walk can provide enough stimulation and variety to greatly improve an elderly person’s week.

This means that you can get back to spending quality time with your parents and family, instead of having to constantly deal with minor tasks or worries.

Why not give us a call to talk about some of the ways in which we can help. There’s no obligation, and we don’t tie you in to a contract, leaving you free to stop using our service if you ever need to.


For further information about some of the options available to carers in Edinburgh, you can visit the websites of Age UK and Carers UK.