The Sandwich Generation: Rochester woman works two jobs on top of caring for her mother after stroke

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(ABC 6 News) – Individuals “sandwiched” between aging parents and adult children are referred to as the sandwich generation often because they are put in the position to care for both their children and parent at the same time.

One woman in Rochester is working two jobs on top of taking care of her mother after having a stroke while raising her children, all while in a country she is not from.

In 2005, Tatiana Kaptzan and her son moved to Rochester from Isreal to work at Mayo Clinic. It has been 17 years and she has worked in different roles from fellow to researcher to administration.

Eight years ago, Tatiana started working overnight shifts for Home Instead, an in-home senior care service in Rochester. Tatiana said she wanted something else to do in addition to working at Mayo. She said this job helps her as a caregiver for her mother Lydmila Kaptzan.

“I knew that I needed the skills to take care of them and this is how I was raised with migrant parents and I knew I needed to do the same and hopefully my kids will take care of me when I get a bit older. So this is a kind of tradition,” Tatiana said.

She said in Israel it is very common that grandparents, parents and children all live together. Mostly because it is very expensive to live in Israel but it has also become a part of their culture to not have your parents live in a nursing home when they get older.

“In a certain time it’s going to be a point where I need to take care of them and the option of them going to a nursing home is not an option,” Tatiana said.

About seven years ago, Tatiana’s father passed away. Lydmila came to Rochester and moved in with Tatiana and her children and shortly after that Lydmila had a stroke, but she has recovered well.

“I’ve gained so much knowledge at Home Instead and so much skills that basically my mom had a stroke five years ago,” Tatiana said.

The stroke paralyzed Lydmila’s whole left side as it was severe, but Tatiana has helped her completely recover just by providing in-home care.

“And this is all that we did, we did it at home,” Tatiana said.

Lydmila does not speak English, only Hebrew and Russian. Tatiana translates for her.

“My mom is saying with the help of my daughter and the whole family basically, I have everything a person could ever dream of,” Tatiana said.

Lydmila said you can never expect such a hard change, from a person like herself who was completely independent to becoming completely dependent.

Tatiana said she doesn’t take all of the credit for her mother’s recovery. She said it was with the help of the whole family.