“Have you ever wondered if you are part of the sandwich generation?”
The “sandwich generation” is a generation of people, who are usually in their 30s and 40s. They are caring for their aging parents, while supporting their own children. If this sounds like you, then this means you've got a lot to worry about. Even if you are not taking financial responsibility for your parents, you are dedicating time and energy, usually willingly. However, that means there's less of both for you, your family and your career.
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.Don't Feel Guilty. It's impossible to get to everything. Be sure to take it one day at a time and to take care of yourself.