Britt Kennerly, FLORIDA TODAY6:10 p.m. EDT October 8, 2014

They’re in their 40s or 50s — or even their 20s or 30s — and they’re stretched to the snapping point.

They’re juggling work, children of their own and possibly providing aid to parents in their 60s or 70s with physical as well as financial woes.

They’re found across Brevard, the state’s county with the ninth-oldest population. And that’s why in mid-October, One Senior Place in Viera will begin a free, three-part series called “The Sandwich Generation.”

Pew Research Center defines members of the “sandwich generation” as people who have a living parent 65 or older and are either raising a child younger than 18 or supporting a grown child.

And they’re often riddled with guilt and stress stemming from obligations, said Kathi Ridner, One Senior Place director.

“The sandwich generation is desperate to keep everything operating normally, often at the expense of their own health and well-being,” she said. “We want them to know that various kinds of help are available and that they are not alone.”

In 2013, a Pew survey found about 47 percent of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financial supporting a child 18 or older. One in seven middle-aged adults provided financial support for both an aging parent and a child.

For a sense of how many “sandwich” families are out there in Brevard, consider that One Senior Place alone offers an average of about 150 consultations a month.

About 40 percent of the time, Ridner said, staff is meeting with adult children who help aging parents and often, their own children, too.

The meetings, either by phone or in person, “review what the circumstances are and how we can point a family in the right direction,” Ridner said. “Appropriate resources. What does Medicare pay for? Questions like that.”

The sandwich generation phenomenon, while nothing new, comes with a set of challenges, said Cindy Flachmeier, president and CEO of Aging Matters in Brevard.

“Society has changed, and the challenges include families living away from home,” she said.

“It’s not necessarily that we moved, our parents often live away from us — they might have lived in Pittsburgh and moved to Florida. We’re such a mobile society … even our homes are different. It used to be that you could have a very large house with the grandparents in a wing of the house or on another floor. But down here, you have a three- or four-bedroom house, and you still have kids at home. It creates a lot of issues in a changing society.”

And there’s no age limit to how young a person can be when squeezed into that sandwich.

“I met with a young lady who goes to school with my daughter. She’s 20 or 21, and her dad is 57, with early-onset dementia, and her parents are divorced,” Ridner said.

“So she’s now thrust into this role; has to figure out what to do to help her father while going to college.”

Contact Kennerly at 321-242-3692 or bkennerly@floridatoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @bybrittkennerly or at Facebook.com/bybrittkennerly.

‘The Sandwich Generation’ series

One Senior Place will offer a three-part series on the demands of adults helping aging parents while raising children.

• 5:30 to 7 p.m. Oct. 16: Stuck in the Middle. Robbin Adams, director of care services, and Kathi Ridner, director of One Senior Place, will discuss how to overcome challenges facing adults who are helping aging parents while still raising their own children, and juggling work and family responsibilities: stress, financial burdens, time management, guilt and self preservation.

• 5:30 to 7 p.m. Nov. 13: The Missing Ingredient. Discussion centers on Social Security income, investments, equity in home, VA benefits, long-term care insurance benefits, retirement accounts, life insurance as a living benefit, and more.

• 5:30 to 7 p.m. Dec. 11: Who Will Change My Lightbulbs? Discussion centers on maintaining one’s independence while aging in place.

Refreshments will be served. RSVP’s requested at 321-751-6771. One Senior Place is at 8085 Spyglass Hill Road, Viera.

View original article here: http://www.floridatoday.com/story/news/local/2014/10/08/sandwich-generation-can-get-advice-help-upcoming-series/16938441/