What is the Sandwich Generation?
The circle of life can be a funny thing (and no we are not referring to “The Lion King”). You move out of your parents’ house, get married, have kids, and then your parents move back in. For adults in their 30s to 50s, this cycle has been dubbed “The Sandwich Generation”. The term is used to describe adults who are raising children and simultaneously caring for elderly parents. The kids are a piece of “bread,” the parents are the other, and the caregivers are “sandwiched” in the middle.
Caring for two generations of family members can be a wonderfully fulfilling, yet exhausting job that stretches your resources and finances to the limit. Many times the caregivers of the family can get so busy caring for others they forget to care for themselves. If you are currently a part of “The Sandwich Generation”, here are a few tips for keeping your sanity and navigating the waters of caring for two generations of people.
How to Provide for the Care of Your Children and Your Parents
- Hold a family meeting with your siblings: just because your parents are under your care, doesn’t mean other siblings are not willing to help out. Sit everyone in your family down (including your parents) and start an open and honest discussion about their future. Make detailed plans about who will help to make decisions, who can pitch in finically, or who can come over and contribute in other ways. Being on the same page is the easiest way to start the process of caring for an elderly parent.
- Hold a family meeting with just the kids and grandparents: Once you begin caring for an elderly parent, do not forget to include the children in this process. Your family dynamic will change once an elderly parent moves into the house (for both good and bad) and keeping your kids in the loop is always an important step. If you have older children, they can even help out with the care and make life easier for everyone in the house.
- Prioritize privacy: When multiple family members are living under a single roof, privacy–for everyone in the house–takes on greater importance. Schedule alone time or even designate certain areas in the home (like the bathrooms) for the adults and others for the children.
- Make plans with the entire family: Having three generations of family living together will have its difficulties, but do not forget to relish in the joys as well. Make the effort to enjoy the beauty of the situation with family dinners and outing. Your children will grow to cherish those memories.
- Revise your estate plan: Once your parents move in, you might have to change your old estate plan. You may have named your parents as guardians of the children, or you may have listed them as your power of attorney. If your parents can no longer fill those rolls, be sure to update your documents and find replacements.
If you do not have an estate plan or need to revise an old one, now is the time to take action. Life can happen at any time, and leaving your family unprotected for the future is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Contact our team of expert attorneys at (800) 403-6078 for a FREE consultation today! We look forward to working with you.
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