9 Key Considerations for the Sandwich Generation
If you are currently faced with the task of caring for both your aging parents and children of your own, you’re likely part of what’s known as the sandwich generation.
If you are in this position, then you’ll know that it brings with it a great deal of responsibility. This level of responsibility impacts your life across the board, from the physical and emotional, right through to the legal and the financial.
That is why it is crucial to put in place measures that help you take care of your loved ones' well-being, while also taking good care of your own.
Financial well-being, both yours and your family’s, forms a big part of this. Your Entrust Wealth Partners advisor can help you work through these matters. The following 9 points are also important to consider if you are currently caring for both your children and your parents.
9 Considerations for the Sandwich Generation
1. Stay Organized and Plan
Caring for others is multi-faceted and can demand a lot of your time and energy. For this reason, you must be organized and have a plan in place that allows you to be of service to the people who need you.
Having aging parents can mean you need to help them in the here and now, or it can mean you need to plan for the future.
Even if your parents do not yet require care and healthcare, you should also do some long-term care planning to consider what kind of structures you need or will need to put in place, so you and your family are covered appropriately, should you need the help.
2. Hold Regular Family Meetings
Caring for someone does not always sit solely on the shoulders of one person. The responsibilities are often shared out among siblings, for example.
Looking after a parent who has health concerns or is aging can be an emotive process. When the responsibility is shared those emotions can turn into cause issues and tension.
It’s crucial, therefore, that there is clear communication between all parties, including the individual who is being cared for.
To facilitate clear communication, and avoid crossed wires, you should schedule regular family meetings. This way everyone can come together to share their opinions and raise any concerns.
These meetings can also be a good time to discuss delicate topics, make tough decisions, and put everything on the table for discussion, so there is nothing left unsaid.
3. Use the Resources Available to You
Caregiving is a lot to undertake without support, especially when you’re also running or co-running a household and raising children.
To lighten your load, you should take advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) where necessary. You can also dip into local senior resources and join caregiver support groups.
Your EWP advisor can help you with the financial side of things, so you can plan your wealth and finances in a way that helps prepare you for your future, and that of your loved ones.
4. Take Care of Your Health
It can be easy to let your own health and self-care practices slip when caring for others. However, for your caregiving efforts to be sustainable and for you to avoid burnout, you should take steps to look after your health and well-being.
Health and well-being look different for everyone, but prioritizing your sleep, nutrition, and exercise is a good starting point if you want to have enough energy to take care of your loved ones.
5. Plan Financially
When caring for others, you need to bear in mind how your financial situation and goals could be impacted by the financial needs of your parents and children.
Measures you may want to take could include budgeting and saving for college and retirement. Protecting your assets for the future is also important. You’ll probably also want to have conversations about estate planning and work to minimize your tax load by making certain deductions.
Again, your EWP advisor can help you navigate these issues and adapt your plans accordingly.
6. Time Management
Caregiving adds extra workload and time commitments to your schedule. When you already have work and other obligations, this can feel overwhelming.
To ease the burden, you could try to adjust your work schedule or seek out flexible work arrangements. If you’re a business owner, it might even be possible for you to delegate more of your tasks and take a less hands-on role for a period.
7. Emotional Support
Caregiving not only puts demands on your time, but it also brings with it a heavy emotional load. You may find yourself needing to manage the emotions of your parents and your children at the same time. Through this, you’ll also still have your own emotions to manage, and those of your spouse if you have one.
To ensure your emotional needs are met and you have the support you need, it's a good idea to build up a tool kit for emotional support. This could involve joining a support group or looking for a therapist or counselor.
8. Healthcare Management
Healthcare is a central theme for the sandwich generation. This is because aging parents are likely to have health issues either now, or in the future, that require ongoing care and management.
Likely, your growing children will also need regular medical and dental check-ups and treatments.
It might also make sense for you to start contributing toward a health savings account (HSA). Keeping on top of health insurance renewals and making sure your healthcare plans are working for you and your family is also important. This might mean changing your health plan in the short term.
Then there are the logistical elements of healthcare like scheduling appointments and managing medications. If you’re part of the sandwich generation, you’ll likely need to be aware of these demands on your time and plan them into your schedule.
9. Legal Considerations
As your parents grow older and health and financial aspects crop up, so too do legal considerations.
Careful planning must go into elements like wills, testaments, guardianship, and power of attorney. You’ll also need to navigate legal issues relating to your children like education costs as well as inheritance.
These legal issues are likely to intersect with your finances and wealth management so it’s important to have a team of professionals that can work together and who understand the crossover of these issues.
Being part of the sandwich generation brings with it a great deal of responsibility and many challenges.
You can ease the burden by seeking the support you need to guide you through the physical, emotional, legal, and financial aspects that this position entails.
Contact your Entrust Wealth Partners advisor or contact our Entrust Wealth Partners office at (860) 838-3730 to make sure that you’re taking the necessary financial steps while on this journey.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which strategies or investments may be suitable for you, consult the appropriate qualified professional prior to making a decision
This material was prepared by Courtney Henry Consulting.