Caregiving and The Sandwich Generation...
Updated: Oct 10, 2022
I’d like to talk about care giving because I believe there are many people experiencing this these days. I’ve also heard it called, “the sandwich generation”, which is a group of middle-aged adults who care for both their aging parents and their own children.
Who is the sandwich generation?
According to the Pew Research Center, its members are mostly middle-aged; 71% of this group is ages 40 to 59. An additional 19% are younger than 40 and 10% are age 60 or older. Men and women are equally likely to be members of the sandwich generation. Hispanics are more likely than whites or blacks to be in this situation.
It also claims, in today’s society, studies are showing that the burdens and responsibilities of middle-age Americans are increasing. Nearly half (47%) of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child (age 18 or older).
The financial burdens associated with care giving for multiple generations of family members are mounting. Increased pressure is coming primarily from grown children rather than aging parents.
One of the questions the Pew Research Center talks about is whose responsibility is it to provide for an elderly parent in financial need? Overall, Americans are more likely to be providing financial support to grown children than they are to an aging parent. Many friends I know who are dealing with aging parents and helping their children, do their best to help both, even when it’s financially challenging!
In my situation, my aging birthmother, lived 2,000 miles away in Florida, and needed help. Fortunately, our two children were grown. Since my mother hadn’t been in my life, I didn’t really know her and there wasn’t an emotional, loving bond that many people have. Her finances were in order, which was a huge help, knowing she would at least cover my expenses whenever it was my turn to spend time in Florida with her. My other three siblings were in different parts of the country and we took turns being with her.
I knew very little about care-giving, so the best way I knew to handle this new “business” was to use what I had learned in my 24 years of my own business. I knew there was plenty more to learn since being a trustee has legal responsibilities. Just a few of the many documents that need to be in place are the Will, Trust, and Medical Power of Attorney.
What is rarely discussed is the detailed documentation needed of the assets. One brother took pictures of furniture, paintings, lamps, silverware, etc with detailed notes. Another sister-in-law took pictures of what was in the safe deposit box with detailed notes. All of this went into a 3-ring notebook.
Unfortunately, after my mother passed, there were an extra five years because of a business theft lawsuit – more business and legal learning for me! This is where all those detailed notes were shown in court as evidence.
It’s important that you take care of your own health during these times. I’m happy that after we were finished with this case, I was able to find a product that has helped me gain back my energy and stamina. Proper nutrition also plays a big part in health. I’ll glady share this information, as well as my care giving experience, at any time!
“Nine tips to the Sandwich Generation to survive and reduce Caregiver stress” by Money Crashers -
Put everyone to work - you can’t do everything yourself and it’s okay. This is where the stress comes in. Take care of yourself and your health.
Move somewhere walkable - it’s much easier if you are within walking distance of your home to be time efficient.
Assign tasks to your adult siblings - there are lots of tasks: parents’ finances, tax returns, and estate planning can be done long distance. I sent out daily emails to family to let them know what had happened with mother during the day. Some emails were short, others were long.
Consider an In-Law Suite – this is becoming much more common to find when looking at real estate.
Research local support services – many communities offer affordable, or even free, resources such as adult day care services. If your parent is a veteran, they may also be eligible for support services from the VA.
Hire help if you can afford it – there are nannies through care.com
Prioritize – you don’t need to do everything. Get the most important tasks done first and set the rest aside.
Batch your cooking – use slow cookers; make extra and freeze leftovers; cook several dishes simultaneously.
Gratitude changes everything – all too soon, your aging parents will pass, and your children will leave the nest. Eventually, you will be the one depending on someone else. So revel in your independence and your hectic, family-filled life while you have it.
You can’t do it all. Decide what you can do, and delegate or defer the rest. Take care of your health – mind, body and soul.
Become the entrepreneur living inside you.