You may be in the sandwich generation if you find yourself caught between taking care of your aging parents and your children at the same time. Understandably, it causes significant financial strain and burden when you have to take care of everyone. More than 1/3 of parents who have kids between the ages of 8 and 14 years old reported having to take care of their aging parents, as well, with 68% of these people saying that their aging parents reside with them.
Like a literal sandwich menu, the sandwich generation comes in a variety of flavors. Which “sandwich” category do you fall into?
• Traditional Sandwich: Having to take care of both aging parents while supporting your own children and spouse.
• Club Sandwich: Having to take care of aging parents, children AND grandchildren.
• Double-stuffed sandwich: Having to take care of your aging parents AND adult children who came home post-college to live with you due to lack of work or money.
Living a sandwiched life means that you have to figure out a way to keep your life and finances steady while taking care of your families on both ends. It’s not an easy task, but here are some tips to help make life easier:
Keep the lines of communication open. Be open with your family and parents about your split role in taking care of everyone. Let them know the help you may need now—or may be seeking in the future—so no one is taken by surprise. Having an open dialogue with every member of the family will be good for your own sanity in the long run.
Be open about finances. Have a conversation with your parents about their finances so everyone can be on the same page in terms of long-term health care. Who is going to take care of the health bills? Estate planning? Medications? Talk to your parents so you know how much money they have put aside for these important items, so you know what will be needed on your end to uphold their long-term healthcare needs.
Get a financial adviser. Find a Certified Financial Planner who can deal with all aspects of financial planning, from paying for your kids’ college to saving for your own retirement. It’s enough of a struggle to take care of your own finances, so imagine also having to plan for your kids and your aging parents! Sometimes, it’s just best to hire a professional.
Get a caretaker. You will need help! You can’t do everything alone while raising your kids. Whether your parents live with you or not, finding a reliable caretaker will relieve you of duties when you need to focus on your children, or even yourself (yes, you need to be taken care of, too). You can either get a referral from a friend, or find an agency that can place a caretaker in your parents’ home on your behalf.
Make time for yourself. If you give to others all the time without giving anything back to yourself, you will find yourself depleted—emotionally and physically. This will not be good for your family who needs you, so in order to help them, you need to help yourself, too. Make sure you carve out time for yourself and your needs, and get plenty of sleep and exercise.
Senior housing, assisted living and long-term in-home care are important services that many people rely on later in life. Without proper planning, however, it may be very difficult to afford these services when you need them. Whether you need to protect yourself or an aging loved one, the ESTATE PLANNING LAW GROUP OF GEORGIA, James M. Miskell P.C., can help.
In an initial consultation, our lawyers can assess your situation and help you start taking steps to prepare. Reach us via the form below and a member of our estate planning team will be in touch shortly!