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SANDWICH DEPRESSION: You are more prone to depression if taking care of three generations

31 Jan 2016

I am sure you havent read about sandwich generation. It is depression resulting when taking care of two generations; one older than you i.e. your parents and your child while managing your own career and life takes a toll on you.


I saw a dark side of being a sandwich generation last week when a client named Shwetank came to me.

Shwetank came to me with a complaint that he was feeling very irritated and frustrated all the time since a week but he is unable to understand why he feels this way. On talking more with Shwetank, I realised and so did he as to what was causing so much stress. Shwetank was married and had a 6yr old daughter.Shwetank  travelled for work 5 days in a week. One evening he got a call while he was at work that his mother has taken ill and his father was very anxious. Shwetank wanted to but could not go right away to her mother…his work and exams of his 6yr old daughter stopped him. Misery was compounded with the distance. Shwetank felt a pang of guilt and tried coordinating with doctors and relatives who could offer help to his mother.


What happened to Shwetank’s mental state while his mother was unwell?

  • Extreme guilt that he could not be there for his family.
  • Guilt that he had to make a choice between his child and mother.
  • he was anxious.
  • he was worked up and agitated.
  • Sleeplessness
  • Irritability and anger on his wife & child.


I am sure a lot of you have gone through what I am talking about. Constant pulls of managing one self, while taking care of elderly that need care and love and of kids who need energy and vitalism can drain the couple at the center. We  call this sandwich depression. 

Shwetank felt depressed, exhausted and frustrated. The symptoms may get severe if the problem last for a longer time or occur with higher frequency.The problems get worsened in times like today when monetary expenses get involved too.

It’s not that only men go through “sandwich Depression”, is the same for women. Women have more caregiving aspects where their task is more in actually taking care of kids and the parent-in laws in case of India thereby increasing the fatigue and exhaustion and little time left for self.


Who are at risk of "Sandwich Depression"

Couples/Individuals with ailing/older Parents with health issues.

Couples/Individuals who have young kids

Couples/Individuals who are solely responsible for taking care of their elderly and their young ones

Couples/Individuals with no siblings or where Siblings either live in far off lands or refuse to participate in caregiving

Couples/Individuals with scattered families

Couples/Individuals with Financial Constraints

Couples/Indiviudals with existing emotional issues


How to manage being in “sandwich generation”?


  • If possible keep your parents closer to your residence if they are staying separate, to ensure you can reach out to them, in times of need easily.
  • Make them gadget savy, so that they can reach out for help.
  • Have a realistic expectation from yourself and be aware that you cannot reach out in all directions.
  • Keep emergency numbers of doctors and neighbour handy.
  • Make your parents undergo regular health check ups.
  • Let your child be managed by family or friends in emergency situations.
  • Let your child be as independent as possible.
  • Make wise expenses and save as much you can.
  • Plan your child educational and your personal expenses.
  • Try to stay calm is such situation and vent out to your friends or close ones.

If you have identified with the content of this article and you feel you might be suffering from Sandwich Depression then help is right here at ePsyClinic

JUST CLICK THE GREEN BUTTON ON LEFT AND TYPE HI TO insantly consult with a Depression EXPERT PSYCHOLOGIST or to know more about process of therapy at ePsyClinic 


Tags: #sandwich #depression