According to the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit think-tank in Washington, D.C., nearly half of adults (47%) between 40 and 60 are caught in what has been called the “sandwich generation”. The sandwich generation are those middle-aged adults who are caught between taking care of their parents and taking care of their children. Charles Passy at Marketwatch.com offers some great advice to help this challenged demographic group.
The Pew Research Center believes that this growing culture has been driven by two significant reasons. The population in general is aging, this leads to “more and more adults finding themselves in a position where they have to provide at least some level of care or support to an (elderly) parent” Kim Parker says, the Pew’s director of social trends research. Also kids are growing up in a world where it’s much more difficult to maintain financial independence. Parker, “Think of all those millennial who have boomeranged back into their parent’s homes”.
With these two factors the sandwich generation can find balancing both their time and financial resources fiducially. Passy has from his own experience put together a list of 6 lessons to find balance and aid in the stress during this life stage:
1) Get everyone’s finances out in the open
Find out how much your parents have saved, made, and their typical bill schedule. This makes the process of financial planning and eventual transition much easier.
2) Understand whose money it its
Make sure both your parents and children understand whose money is covering expenses. For the parents let them retain responsibility and control over financial decisions. And with kids, if they have boomeranged, ensure that they understand that they are responsible for a portion of the household expense.
3) Seek out the right professionals and organizations for help
For your parents, it is recommending starting with both Certified Financial Planner and an Estate Attorney. Both of these professionals will help with balancing the burden of their often detailed legal and financial decision making and documentation. There are much more professionals available to assist your parents medically such as geriatric care managers. They can oversee the details of their daily care routine, find one here at the Aging Life Care Association. http://www.aginglifecare.org/
4) Find good care
The most important professional for you and your parents though is their caregiver. Typically caregivers take care of day-to-day needs, but they also provide companionship.
5) Make time for yourself
Most caregiving experts insist, that there’s no reason to feel guilty when taking a break. If anything it is important to recharge your mental and physical self so you are able to continue being there for your loved one.
6) And love your loved ones
Passy finishes by reminding the “Sandwich Generation” that your daily burden (kids & parents) is a daily reminder of how blessed you are. Your parents will not be around forever and your children are growing and beginning their own life.