An Associated Press article reported the suicide rate for 45-54 year olds (the sandwich generation) rose by 20 percent, the highest it's ever been since the Centers for Disease Control has been tracking. In contrast the suicide rate for 20-somethings rose only 1 percent.
Here's a quote from the article that sent me reeling:
"Experts said they don’t know why the suicide rates are rising so dramatically in that age group..."
Are ya kiddin me? Let me take a stab it.
Many Baby Boomer's are at the peak of their career with both responsibility and earning potential. This is also the time when they are most likely to be focused on trying to earn as much as they can, and save as much as they can since so many are ill-prepared for retirement.
With the strain of trying to save for retirement come other conflicting demands of baby boomers' time and money. Kids and parents. Boomerang kids living at home, elderly parents who need more time, and maybe money are a drain on the baby boomers' resources.
If you're lucky enough to be able to be a 24-hour caregiver to your aging parents, it's a blessing and also an incredible strain. Caregiving is an unbelievably demanding job-ask any parent. Quadruple the responsibilities of a full-time caregiver with full-time employment and parenting and you've got a disaster waiting to happen.
I see the results of the sandwich generation everyday. When I'm called to meet with a family about helping a senior move, the stories repeat themselves. I see frazzled adult children spread too thin and elderly parents too proud to ask for help or too afraid to be seen as a burden.
The adult daughter is usually the one who takes charge of helping elderly parents move. The daughter is usually the person who wants to be the contact person between me and the family. This is also the person who is balancing other caregiving responsibilities. I spend as much time reassuring and supporting the adult daughter as I do the elderly parents who are making the major life change.
Families are unraveling at the seams as we teeter over the cliff of the health care crisis, and the experts can't figure out why suicide rates are rising so dramatically with this age group?
This study was conducted by looking at death certificates so there isn't any data to back my hypotheses-but you don't have to be a rocket scientist to see the crisis that's emerging.
“The middle-aged are often overlooked. These statistics should serve as a wake-up call...”