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WorkLife Wisdom: The Sandwich Generation

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What is the sandwich generation?
People are living longer. And in many cases, they rely on family members to help take care of them and make important decisions as they age. Simultaneously, adults are raising children and may have older children living at home longer. Some older children may return home after graduating from college as a transition period before fully going out on their own. These adult children may need financial and emotional support. These adults, who are simultaneously caring for their children and their parents, are the “sandwich generation.”

Being caught in between these responsibilities can be stressful and overwhelming. It isn’t easy dealing with an aging parent while supporting grown child(ren). You may feel rushed, exhausted and overwhelmed. Supporting multiple family members physically and emotionally can also have an impact on your family’s financial well-being.

Here are a few tips on how to manage being caught in the middle:

Know what to expect: Speak with your parents often to get a good understanding of how they are doing financially and physically. The more you can avoid any unexpected surprise the better you can prepare and help in advance.

Hold a family meeting: During this time, discuss the different caregiving tasks that need to be accomplished during the day or week. Set a task list for family members and set mutual expectations for accomplishing these tasks. Discuss finances and expenses during this meeting and communicate changes and concerns about any financial burden that might arise in the future.

Understand your family’s financial needs: Speak with your spouse and others in your family to get an idea about what to expect financially over the next three to five years. Organize any and all paperwork: Take time to sit down with your aging loved one(s) to decide what to do should an emergency occur. This might include authorization to sign checks and pay bills. Decide who can make financial and medical decisions and confirm if a living will exists.

Discuss the worst case scenario: Talk with your aging loved one about the financial impact of elder care. Making a plan in advance is a great way to prepare for any needed changes in living arrangements, should a higher level of care be needed. Cost for care can be expensive ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 per year.

Take time for yourself: Although it is important to support your loved ones and children, you also need to set time aside to take care of yourself. Eat a well-balanced diet and find time in your schedule to exercise at least three times a week.

Ask for help: Know when to ask for help from your family. Make sure that everyone in your family takes part in some of the caregiving roles you may have.

Contact Us:
Your program provides access to tools and other resources online, or, call us directly to speak to a professional counselor who is available everyday and at any time to provide confidential assistance at no cost to you. Visit MagellanHealth.com/member.

Resources:
The National Alliance for Caregiving 
HelpGuide

Information cited from:
www.aarp.org
http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/01/30/the-sandwich-generation/