From “Baby Boomer” to “Sandwich Generation”

The Baby Boomer Generation

Baby Boomer GenerationI am proud to be a part of the “Baby Boomer” Generation, whose moniker is changing to the “Sandwich Generation.”

The happenings of our Baby Boomer generation were a mix of exciting and melancholy times. The number of historical events which took place in the last 60 years is unprecedented.

Take a look at the timelines from the Baby Boomer Era below  (from




The conditions of the economy, the state of the world, technology, and social trends all impact the overall behaviors of any generation.  Yet, how many other generations can boast of all the technological advances that changed our lives more than in any other generation before us? Individual freedoms increased exponentially across society by age, gender, race, ethnicity.

So now, why the name change to the “Sandwich Generation,” you say?

Because baby boomers’ days of play, concerts, fights for freedoms (international and personal), party times, yuppie-hood, and even parenting have now turned into days of caring for their elderly parents and grandparents who most often are plagued with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other medical and economic conditions that are negatively impacting their quality of life at a time when baby boomers are entering their own retirement years.

Meanwhile, our  “Generation X”  and “Generation Y” children, aka “Millennials,” are still living at home with us or have added their families to our living arrangements.  If not, we are helping them financially with their struggles to live on their own as we all slowly emerge from the recent years of economic crisis.  And this is why the Baby Boomer Generation is now being called the Sandwich Generation.

Yes, we baby boomers are caring for the elderly and the younger generations in our families.   I tell you, we have our tasks set out before us.  And the big question is how will we manage a quality of life where we are productive, can enjoy ourselves in our autumn years, care for those family members who need it, and keep our relationships strong across all generations?

More to my point about how difficult juggling this phase of our lives may be, please take a look at the 2010 lifestyle comparisons between us, the Baby Boomers (1946-1964), our children Generation X (1965-1976/1981), and our children/grandchildren Generation Y (1977/1982-1995/2001) that was published online by  the Echo Boom (

Level of trust toward authority

  • Boomers are confident of self, not authority.
  • Gen Xers have a low level of trust toward authority.
  • Millennials have a high level of trust in authority. Yet they are less trustworthy of individual people. Perhaps it’s from being born into an age of terrorism or maybe it’s their overprotective parents or the danger-obsessed media.

What do they view as the ultimate reward?

  • Boomers want a prestigious title and the corner office.
  • Gen Xers want the freedom not to have to do something.
  • Millennials prefer meaningful work.

How were their parents with them?

  • Boomers had parents who were controlling.
  • Gen Xer parents were distant.
  • Millennials? Their parents were intruding. Or, as my Millennial-age intern tells me, they have “helicopter parents”—they’re always hovering.

What are their views toward having children?

  • Boomers are controlled, their children were planned.
  • Gen Xer’s are doubtful about the possibility of becoming parents.
  • Millennials are definite about parenthood. In fact, they view marriage and parenthood as more important than careers and success.

And overall family life?

  • Boomers were indulged as children.
  • Gen Xers were alienated as children.
  • Millennials were protected as children.

Views toward education?

  • Boomers want freedom of expression.
  • Gen Xers are pragmatic.
  • Millennials need the structure of accountability.

Political orientation

  • Thankfully, boomers want to attack oppression. Without those views, we might not have had civil rights or protested Vietnam.
  • Gen Xers are apathetic and more worried about the individual.
  • And the Millennials, the Facebookers and Tweeters? It should be no surprise that they crave community.

Last but not least, the views on the big question...

  • Boomers want to know, “What does it mean?”
  • Gen Xers need to know, “Does it work?”
  • Millennials are curious to know, “How do we build it?”

I encourage your comments since we’re all on this planet and in this life and times together.  

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)

One thought on “From “Baby Boomer” to “Sandwich Generation”

  1. I was looking for articles on Gen X alienation from their now elderly Baby boomer parents and discover this article. It is easy to see from the summary dismissal of 44 million offspring now over the age of 30 as just a list of stereotypes might alienate a group from their parents. Caring for the boomers in the contracting economy they leave behind along with the ecological problems all living humans have contributed to including the very large baby boomer generation themselves is the largest singular issue for later groups. Despite creating such havoc for their offspring to deal with, the boomers continue down the path of righteous entitlement and treat everyone born after 1964 as perpetual teenagers living at home. This is not a practical way to make it through the next 20 years, or look after the best interests of the Millennials if that’s possible.


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