If you’re feeling pressure on two generational sides—caring for aging parents and taking care of children—you’re a member of the Sandwich Generation.
The term “sandwich generation” was added to Meriam Webster’s dictionary in 2006. However, twelve years later, the number of people it describes seems to be on the rise. Sandwich Generation members are raising their children and are responsible for their parents or taking responsibility for their grandchildren and grandparents. Whichever sandwich you’re in, it’s not an easy place to be. Even if your parents or grandparents are financially fine, your time for yourself, your career and your kids is squeezed.
The Press-Enterprise’s article, “3 tips for anyone in the sandwich generation,” offers the following tips to make the “sandwiching” easier on you and your family:
1. Talk About Money Issues. Discuss finances with your children and parents. Perhaps you could go with them to meet with their estate planning attorney. He or she can make sure your parents have all the proper estate planning documents, such as a will, trust, living wills and powers of attorney.
This legal professional will create a plan to lessen or avoid estate taxes and work to ensure that your life's savings and assets are protected from your beneficiaries' creditors after your death, and that your legacy is assured.
Estate planning attorneys are accustomed to working with families and navigating the issues between adult children and their aging parents. There is little chance that yours is a unique situation. It does not mean it is easy, but a skilled attorney will be able to help you and your family deal with whatever situation you face, with dignity and compassion.
2. Get (More) Help. You may get support or assistance to help your parents, your kids, or even yourself. Odds are good that your parents will be reluctant to accept help, so start the process yourself. This could involve hiring a housekeeper for yourself to free up some of your time for things that are more important.
This will give you more time, and your parents won’t feel you are using your finances to assist them. If you have friends and relatives that offer help, take them up on it. Don’t try to do everything yourself.
If your children are old enough, you can also get them involved. Children are surprisingly capable, and sometimes grandparents are more comfortable having grandchildren help with minor chores around the house, where their children’s own actions may seem intrusive.
3. Get Rid of the Guilt. Even a dedicated husband and wife team can’t cover everything. Do the best you can and remember that you do have to set some time and energy aside for yourself.
Reference: (Riverside CA) Press-Enterprise (June 28, 2018) “3 tips for anyone in the sandwich generation”