ARTICLES / General /
Open-Faced Sandwich /
By Janie Rosman
Dad calls my name from three rooms away; to
me, it sounds like a bellow. The dear man is
hard of hearing—none of his three hearing aids
work, he says—and he doesn’t know the volume of
his own voice.
It’s a wonderful voice—one that soothed me,
comforted me, reprimanded me, advised me, and now
asks me for help.
At 89, he can’t hear his own voice; my ears hear
a pin dropped into feathers.
I walk into the kitchen and see him struggling
with the can opener, frustrated. He looks up at me
helplessly as I gently remove it from his hands and
open the tuna fish.
I leave as he says, “Thank you,” allowing him his
Incidents like these—a lid closed too tightly, an
item on a shelf that’s out of reach except by
stepstool, bags too heavy to carry—happen often to
my octogenarian parents. Now in their beyond-golden
years, they’re blessed to have each other.
What to do? Become a filling in the sandwich
Merriam-Webster describes the sandwich generation
as “a generation of people who are caring for their
aging parents while supporting their own children.”
The Web calls this group of baby boomers “those
who care not only for their own children, but also
act in a caregiver role for their own parent(s).”
Truth be told, I’m not exactly a filling because
being “sandwiched” means being in the middle of
whatever. The term “sandwich generation” refers to
someone caring for both their parents and their
There had to be a logical explanation. Google to
Link upon link appeared. After much
investigation, I learned I’m an open-faced sandwich.
And by this time, I’m really curious because
anything related to food peaks my interest.
Syndicated columnist Carol Abaya, M.A., says
people fall into one of three categories.
Traditional sandwiches describe those who raise
their own families and also care for their parents.
Club sandwiches are people in their 50s and 60s with
aging parents, adult children and grandchildren or
folks in their 30s and 40s with kids, aging parents
and grandparents. Abaya calls us open-faced sandwich
folks “anyone else involved in elder care.”