Majority of BC’s “Sandwich Generation” Indicate Challenges Juggling Care for Kids & Parents

Burnaby, BC – A new province-wide poll conducted by Insights West reveals 9 in 10 British Columbians who form part of the “sandwich generation” report they are experiencing a range of challenges in providing care. The “sandwich generation” is defined as someone juggling both the needs of their children and aging parents at the same time.

More than half of respondents say they have difficulty in finding time to visit their aging parents due to work/busy schedules (64%). Majorities also report challenges in keeping informed about the health status of a parent (60%) and affording the costs associated with caring (56%).

Almost half of British Columbians who don’t identify as part of the “sandwich generation” (48%) indicate they know someone in their personal network who is part of that cohort. According to Statistics Canada, an average of 3 in 10 Canadians are both raising children and responsible for the care of their elderly parents.

“The poll results certainly confirm what most of us have been hearing at backyard BBQs and community functions for a while now,” says Daniel Fontaine, CEO for the BC Care Providers Association. “As our population rapidly ages, a significant number of British Columbians currently deal with or are facing the prospect of becoming part of the ‘sandwich generation’ at some point soon.”

British Columbians who don’t form part of the “sandwich generation” but know someone who is, were asked how their friends and acquaintances were managing the situation. A majority (65%) said they were coping “not too well” or “not well at all”. More than half (56%) of respondents who are not part of the “sandwich generation” also report they are “not too confident” or “not confident at all” that adequate seniors care will be there when they need it.


“Notwithstanding the fact we have an excellent seniors care system in British Columbia, there is clearly the need for us to make targeted investments and implement new innovations,” says Fontaine. “When we invest in providing adequate care for our seniors, there is often a direct benefit to their families as well,” says Fontaine.

The BC Care Providers Association is set to release a major report next week which incorporates a series of recommendations stemming from the publication of two major White Papers last spring.


Results are based on an online study conducted by Insights West from January 9 to January 12, 2017, among 1,205 adult British Columbians, including 441 who are currently providing care for both a child (under 19 years of age) and an elderly parent. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 2.8 percentage points for the entire sample.

View the data tabulations and the factum.

About BCCPA:

The BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) is a non-profit society which has been serving private and non-profit community care providers for over 35 years. We have over 260 facility and commercial members across British Columbia. In addition to creating over 18,000 direct and indirect jobs in the continuing care sector, BCCPA members care for more than 16,000 seniors each day in residential care and assisted living, and over 11,000 each year through home support.”

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

For more information, please contact:

Mike Klassen
Communications and Stakeholder Relations, BCCPA
604 377-5499

Mario Canseco
Vice President,
Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Barney Moss