What Is The ‘Sandwich Generation’ Of Caregiving And Who Belongs To It?

Being a caregiver is hard. Talking about caregiving is even harder. And, according to Chrissy Metz, it’s a conversation nobody is having.

The This Is Us star opened up about her own experiences caring for her aging mother during a panel discussion about the realities of caregiving. Metz was joined by her co-stars and television parents Mandy Moore and Jon Huertas, series Executive Producer KJ Steinberg, Caring Across Generations’ Executive Director,  Ai-jen Poo, and HFC co-founders Seth and Lauren Rogen to discuss Alzheimer’s and caregiving.

Just one question into the conversation, Metz admitted she was already fighting off tears. The actress revealed how the long-term effects of a stroke impacted her mother. “It’s like you lost half of your mom,” she said. “Every day is something different. Every day you face a new challenge. Boy, has it been a journey.”

So why don’t we talk about care? “It’s very uncomfortable for everybody,” Metz said.

According to Metz, her role in This Is Us has made the conversation easier for her sisters.

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“Every single day is a different conversation with my sisters regarding my mom. You know even things that my sister didn’t want to tell me. She’s like, ‘Remember [on This Is Us] when Rebecca said ‘such and such?’ and I’m like, ‘She’s using the show! This is great,” she said.

“The show that I’m on is helping bridge the gap, this is amazing!”

What Is The ‘Sandwich Generation’?

Metz emphasizes not only the importance of talking about caregiving but of talking to caregivers—more specifically, the sandwich generation.

“Through my character Kate on @nbcthisisus, I learned how incredibly difficult and isolating it is to be a sandwich generation caregiver—someone who raises children at the same time as caring for aging loved ones,” she wrote. Her television experience opened her eyes to the challenges of such a unique caregiving situation and helped her to realize the importance of having conversations with caregivers.

“The series was a major step forward in giving visibility to the family caregiver experiences across the country, capturing the highs and lows, and offering a model for how to have tough but important conversations around adapting for illness and end-of-life care.”

“#ThisIsUsFinalChapter may have come to a close, but the conversation around how we care for our families should not,” she said.

To watch the full panel discussion and learn how to have these conversations yourself, you can visit the HFC website.

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