According to the Pew Research Center just over 1 of every 8 Americans aged 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent, in addition to about 1 in 7 providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child.
The need to understand aging dynamics and how to develop healthy multi-generational family relationships increases dramatically as more parents live well into their 80s and 90s and families are dispersed across the country.
The point is everyone is going to be involved somehow, some way, in elder care. Coupled with raising your own children, the idea of taking on the many tasks involved in elder care can feel daunting and grow to become depressing if not managed within a healthy mindset and structure.
That’s where The Sandwich Game comes to life! I speak from experience (raising my 2 and 4 year old little boys while caring for my 74 year old live-in father whose suffered multiple strokes and recently was diagnosed with prostate cancer) when I say “I need some lightness, some levity, some laughs” on a daily basis…we all do!
I love my father. I love my kids. I love myself. I want us all to be happy. Trying to juggle their needs while maintaining my own life balance is definitely a challenge. So how do we find that ideal balance between all of these competing needs?
My inspiration for The Sandwich Game came through my own introspection into how to elevate this daily challenge. What activities, events and plans could I map out every day (my Day-Plan) to keep us all engaged and happy?
The Sandwich Game is a mobile application and gameplay experience where Sandwichers share how they engage and elevate each day with their kids and parents; a place to compete (ie who shares the best day of activities) while feeling rewarded and learning from other players the great ways they’re engaging with their kids and parents within their own city!
Every day players are encouraged to share what their Sandwich looks like, ie what their day plan of activities looks like. We will offer a visually stimulating input and viewing experience where players are literally (and digitally) building a sandwich to create the best, most exciting and delicious sandwich of the day!
Bread– The comforting, loving thing you did today?
Meat– The physical, body, growthful thing you did today?
Veggies– The healthy, helpful food thing you did today?
Cheese– The silly, fun thing you did today?
Spread– The brainy, learning thing you did today?
USER EXPERIENCE / WORKFLOW:
Jane has a bunch of great activities planned for the kids the next day that she thinks her father will equally enjoy given his limited mobility and personal range of interest. She opens up the Sandwich Game mobile app and starts building her virtual sandwich!
The user interface lets her select the day she is scheduling and then prompts her to add digital 'layers' or ingredients to her sandwich (ie graphical representation of items that makeup a yummy sandwich). Each layer also includes a place for adding a description for what the ingredient represents in terms of a daily activity.
Lynn can check out other players sandwiches and store ingredients in her own 'Food Pantry' for later usage. Lynn's pantry also includes ingredients from her own past sandwiches.
When creating a sandwich Lynn can therefore either a) add items from her own Food Pantry b) scan/search the community Food Pantry for ingredients or c) create a new sandwich by selecting/describing ingredients, such as below:
For the 'Bread' she selects a Bagel to represent morning since when the kids wake up (at the crack of dawn) they'll put on their rain-boots to go and wake Pops up in his back studio. Always a winning moment...
For the 'Meat' she picks Bacon because after she goes on a long walk with Pops he'll have earned something delicious like bacon, but maybe just a little because it's not that good for him :)
For the Veggies she adds Onions to represent the doctor appointment Pops has scheduled. He's getting a new medicine which will probably make him want to cry (haha Onions) given the million pills he takes already. Lynn's 4-year old comes to Doctor visits which is making him comfortable with aging and Doctor office visits.
For the Cheese....Cream Cheese obviously which to her will be the paint project she's going to do with the kids in the afternoon. Her kids will put paint on their hands and make handprints on a long sheet of paper outside, while her father and her sip wine and enjoy a cheese plate and good conversation. Fun for all!
For the Spread she adds a drizzle of sweet tomato sauce as she's printed out a bunch of articles for her father to read in the evening about his latest topic of interest...how Nutmeg can be used to improve prostate health. Oh pops :)
Note: while the above suggests a sandwich you'd actually want to eat, we should expect all sorts of yummy and yucky sandwich creations and visuals!