Many cultures live in multi-generation homes. In some Asian and Latin American countries, for instance, it’s not unusual to have grandparents, parents and young children all under one roof. There are many benefits to this, from help with childcare to moral support, to the positive influence that older generation can have on younger ones, and vice versa.
But for women, all this multi-generational living may be causing more harm than good. Women in Japan, where inter-generational living is common, are suffering from heart disease at a rate far higher than women who live with a spouse and child, or who live alone.
Researchers have blamed much of this on the stress incurred by women who not only work outside the home, but do the majority of childcare, elder care and domestic duties once they get home.
The study (done by researchers at the Osaka University in Japan) saw that men did not the same increase in heart disease as women. While Japanese men also work outside the home, they are not as likely to participate in the hours of home care that women are. The results of the study – of over 90,00 family members for well over a decade, showed these women who are often the caught in the middle (the aptly named “sandwich generation”) were two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease than women not living under these circumstances.
Are you a caregiver to several generations? Have you found yourself diagnosed with a heart condition or do you find yourself more stressed than women who are not in your position? How can you go about getting better support?
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