The sandwich generation refers to those facing the dual pressures of looking after their young children and elderly parents. This trend is expected to grow as people delay having children.
According to figures published by the US Pew Research Centre in 2013, almost half of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent aged 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child. The study found one in 10 US adults in their 40s and 50s with a parent aged 65 or older are providing primary carer for a parent.
How best to provide and pay for care for the elderly has become an important issue for governments worldwide. Many countries are grappling with how to shift care out of hospitals and into the home.
In January 2014, an FT reporter wrote that the Royal Bank of Scotland offered eldercare or an elderly care service as one of the company's employee benefits. For example, this allowed one staff member to book someone through the service to accompany his mother to hospital and back. KPMG, the professional services group, also noticed that many of its employees were balancing their day jobs with taking care of relatives, so it began offering eldercare services in 2013.
In October 2013, an FT writer reported that in China, many filial rental services have sprung up on the Chinese equivalent of eBay called Taobao since a new law came into force in that year, which makes it a legal requirement to visit or phone elderly relatives. For example, a woman called Yang Ying advertises her services on Taobao as a type of surrogate grown child. She has had enquiries from people who want her to visit parents in hospital in a different town, or look after an elderly mother when they travel for business.