An Open-Faced Sandwich

I’ve heard people talk about the Sandwich Generation. You know, that time when you’re still actively parenting your children and then find yourself caring for your parents as well. This is supposed to describe what it feels like to have caregiving responsibilities for those older and younger than you.

I think it’s rarely just a typical sandwich like a good old fashioned PB&J. This sandwich thing seems to be an open-faced sandwich, a double decker, or an all-out dagwood.

This post is a bit forced, as I want to set the stage, set up the program, and then let my ideas simmer. My plan at the moment? For this to be a place to ponder many things. A motif of the moment is my personal version of the sandwich generation – especially now as my Mother is entering a battle with cancer. It is giving new meaning to supporting and caring for my family. In addition, I am a life-long caregiver to our son, who has disabilities. Life will always be – at the very least – an open-faced sandwich. I’m hoping for some spicy side dishes and exquisite deserts to go with it.

As I meander down this path, your company and thoughts are very welcome.


About Joan

I am first, and foremost, the mother of two amazing young men. One of them has Down syndrome, Autism, Celiac Disease, and uses few words. I focus my work on providing support, training, and creating tools that will create quality lives, quality health, and connected community for him and his peers. It's true. We can all have a quality life, with quality health, and connected communities in which we thrive. Let's go on this walk together! You can learn more about me and my work at
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3 Responses to An Open-Faced Sandwich

  1. Mary Cerreto, PhD says:

    Like you, I belong the the sandwich generation, with a godchild with disabilities and with aging parents. It’s not a good old fashioned PB&J; in fact, the sandwich changes daily depending on the health and needs of both sides and with what society thinks are appropriate supports at the time. I think it is important that while we always consider the needs of both slices of bread, we always remember that the inside of that sandwich (us!) also have needs like our jobs, our marriage, our own sanity, and, most important for me, the emotions that I deal with daily acknowledging the needs of my parents! Good place to exchange supports and ways to handle each day of this period of our lives. Mary

  2. j says:

    Thanks Mary – I’m very happy you will travel with me. You are absolutely right! I am thinking the inside of the sandwich (where’s the beef?!), is like an entree’. Most people, at some point, lose the slices of bread on the top and bottom to become that entree’. There are situations – including the disability angle – in which there will always be, at the very least, one slice of bread: an open-faced sandwich.

  3. Donna Duffey says:

    Joan, thanks for putting this forum out there, for those of us travelling this same road. We definitely are a unique group, having to manage our responsibilities with our family members with disabilities, and with aging parents. Currently, we are sadly watching my husband’s mother deteriorate in her old age and living with major health issues. We are a large family, with many doing their share (and some the Lion’s share, as is often the case) and it is still overwhelming. Yet, as Mary said, as the entree to that sandwich, we also have a responsiblity to manage our own lives. We all know that if we don’t somehow find the time to manage that, the whole sandwich can fall apart.
    Thanks again Joan. I look forward to many exchanges, thoughts and ideas.

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