The sandwich generation is the classification given to the middle adult who is balancing the demands of caring for aging parents and caring for their children, all while managing a career of their own. The middle adult can be in their 30’s all the way up to their 60’s if they are a main caretaker for grandchildren or have adult children still living at home.
Many people are finding themselves joining the sandwich generation as it is becoming more common to have children later in life while the average lifespan is getting longer at the same time. Sandwich Generation parents can feel like the weight of the world is resting on them from the added emotional and financial stress.
Common Stress Factors
- Financial impact: in addition to increased expenses for more dependents, there are numerous ways personal finances will be impacted: taking time off work to care for everyone, reducing working hours to fit in added daily activities, paying for a senior living facility at the same time as college, or outsourcing some of the things there’s no longer the time to do yourself
- Relationship strain: the simultaneous pull between being a spouse, a parent, and a child without being able to be fully present in those moments can be overwhelming
- Personal sacrifice: the time commitment can feel like a third job without enough time in the day, so the caretaker will often end up sacrificing something personal to make it all work – career, relationships, sleep, and relaxation
- Mental health: the significant personal sacrifices can often lead to caregiver burnout, isolation, and depression
5 Tips to Lighten the Load
- Set expectations and boundaries early: start talking with your family members now about preferences and financially viable options for future living situations; it might take a few discussions before family is comfortable with certain conversations and agreement is made
- Financial preparation: gain a solid understanding of available financial support. Is there long-term care insurance? Does the life insurance policy allow for distributions to pay for long-term care? If planning to use Medicaid to pay for nursing home care, what are the requirements to finance with personal assets first (and does that require a primary home to be sold)?
- Prioritize self-care: only when you care for yourself can you effectively care for others, so make sure to schedule time for work, hobbies, friends, and do what is necessary to keep physical and mental health in check
- Ask for help: teach young children to be more independent, recruit other family members or willing neighbors, and hire help where it makes sense (professional cleaning, grocery delivery, transportation to doctor appointments, picking up prescriptions, and other errands)
- Organizational preparation: avoid the mess and confusion and make it easier for family members to help by having regular updates and important information all in one place to easily share; Addio gives your family a single place to organize documents, contacts, and any other important details to be prepared for the unexpected
Being part of the sandwich generation can be stressful even when things are going well. But in the event something unexpected happens to you or your parents, it could become extremely difficult. Let Addio help you feel more comfortable that you’ve got all your (and your parents’) important life details saved in one place - easy to find when they’re needed.