Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)

Department

Kinesiology

Faculty/School

Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Paula Fletcher

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor

Abstract

Sandwich generation caregivers simultaneously provide care to their aging parents/in-laws and at least one child under 18 years living in the home (Sinha, 2013). In 2012, 2.23 million Canadians were considered sandwiched caregivers. This group is expected to grow as individuals are delaying marriage, resulting in delayed childrearing (Robinson, Barbee, Martin, Singer, Yegidis, 2003). Further, the government has been advocating for caregiving to move from formal to informal caregiving. Although this would help the government immensely, this creates challenges for middle-aged adults occupying multiple roles. The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of sandwich generation women and the influence caregiving had on their health behaviours. This study used phenomenology as its theoretical orientation. One- on-one semi-structured interviews were the main form of data collection for nine sandwich generation women. The following themes emerged: (1) The role of the caregiver; (2) Caregiving: It is a balancing act; (3) Stormy seas: It is not always sunshine and rainbows; and (4) Silver linings amidst the turmoil. By reflecting on their past and current experiences, the sandwich generation women described the perceived challenges and benefits associated with their complex caregiving roles. Further, the mothers’ health (e.g. physical activity, nutrition, sleep and mental health) was compromised due to time constraints placed on their lives as a result of caregiving. This study provides sandwich generation caregivers with insights into the challenges and/or silver linings they may experience while caregiving. Additionally, this research provides important implications for government legislation and healthcare providers.

Convocation Year

2015

Convocation Season

Spring

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