Center for Sustainable Entrepreneurship (CenSE) - Odisee
Center for Sustainable Entrepreneurship (CenSE) - Odisee

Broodje MIXXL – Combination strategies for the Sandwich generation

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CenSE researchers: Eline Mechels, Miet Timmers & Tim Gielens
Project fase: this project has ended
Partners: Funded by ESF (The European Social Fund) and in collaboration with: career guidance center Kompass-Emino, Gezinsbond, Verso vzw, Samana vzw, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences- Small Business Center, Dobre Kadry, Fundacion Accion contre el hambre.

Private-work balance, a case for 20 and 30 something? Yes, BUT.
This is also increasingly an issue for people aged 45-65. This has to do with several things:
  • Raising the retirement age will mean that people in their forties and fifties will retire on average ten years later than the generation before them.
  • We want the elderly to live at home longer and longer, even if they become in need of help. They are committed to 'community care', which means that informal care will continue to play an important role.
  • Young adults continue to live at home for longer and count on "hotel mama".
  • A large part of this group is also a young grandparent and would like to take a meaningful place in the life of their grandchildren, and support their adult children in caring for these grandchildren.
It is not surprising that this generation often feels over-questioned by the combination of all this.
We call the 'sandwich generation' adults who take care of an older and a younger generation at the same time in their lives, and who often combine this care with a job.
  • They are usually between 45 and 65 years old.
  • The 'sandwich position' is clearly not gender neutral: it is much more often women than men who take care of their aging relatives. In addition, women are still taking more care of their own (grand) children.
  • It is clear that this group will only increase in the coming years, in Flanders and in the rest of Europe.

Purpose of this project
  • We want to assist women and men between 45 and 65 years of age who combine a job with a double care task in finding a good combination strategy.
  • We hope that they can combine their job with care and a family for longer and with more motivation and commitment.

We want to develop various instruments for this in collaboration with our Flemish and international partners:
  • a coaching and training program for the Sandwich generation
  • a training and awareness program for employers, managers and HR professionals
  • recommendations for organizations to improve policy and practice in this area
To achieve these objectives, digital stories will also be created about members of the sandwich generation, which can be used for example in the aforementioned training programs. You can view an example of such a digital story here. This story was made by students of Family Sciences in the context of the course Project Education II.
For Social.Net, the project staff wrote the article 'Sandwich generation: caring men break through role patterns'. The article was published on February 7, 2019.
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