One of my favorite topics that I’ve blogged about is the sandwich generation. I am blessed to have my mother and mother-in-law in my life as well as my children and grandchildren. That’s four generations right there. I constantly vacillate between being a daughter/daughter-in-law to my mom/mom-in-law and a mom/mom-in-law to my own children. And so it goes.
Today we have a guest poster, Fay Wein, from Senior Planning Services, who comes with loads of knowledge on the topic of sandwich generations, caregiving and elderly parents. I welcome you to read Fay’s article below and feel free to comment below the post.
Sandwich Generation Vexations
Introduction: There is almost nothing as stressful as caring for elderly parents while at the same time raising your own children. Being pulled in all different direction daily can get anyone frazzled. At the same time, the altruism and strong multi-generational relationships fostered cannot be understated. This topic is multi-faceted and we’d like to touch on some of the most common issues.
What is the sandwich generation? This is the generation stuck between the old generation and the new one. You’re like the monkey in the middle doing all the catching and dodging. To get a good laugh on this phenomenon called “The Sandwich Generation”, click here.
Why all the rage about the sandwich generation all of a sudden? 44% of 45-55 year-olds have at least one living parent and one child under age 21, according to an AARP study. More than 65 million Americans provide an average of 20 hours per week of care for a chronically ill, disabled or elderly loved one during any given year. For more stats, click here.
What are the benefits of the sandwich generation? July has been established as the Sandwich Generation Awareness Month to honor the heroes who truly go above and beyond the call of duty to both nurture the future generation and honor the past. One survey found that 23% of multi-generational care providers would consider leaving their job altogether and a further 31% would reduce their hours. Despite the hardships endured, many of the respondents affirmed that the experience was highly rewarding for their children as well as for themselves.
What are the primary vexations the sandwich generation has to deal with?
- Proving care for an elderly parent. Caring for an elderly parent, the ultimate form of giving back, is a familiar phenomenon in today’s America. Caregiver stress is all too common. Caregivers need to give themselves the care they require and ask for help in order to cope. Many find that the day is not long enough for their endless obligations.
- Being there for your child. One sandwich generation mom related to me about the time she was caring for her dad who had broken his hip when the phone rang and it was her teenagers’ principal on the line. He wanted her to come and pick up her son who was being suspended from school! Juggling everything is no easy matter.
- Financial support. Almost 50% of Americans 55 and older say they would to provide financial support for their elderly parents and adult children, according to the Retirement Re-Set study by SunAmerica Financial Group and Age Wave, a research group that tracks the cultural and financial impact of the graying of America.
- Medicaid planning. When faced with the decision of placing a loved one into an assisted living or nursing home facility, Medicaid planning is called for. Without proper knowledge and planning, the rules and regulations of Institutional Medicaid and Global Options can literally be a maze and the eligibility process is all but simple. Many times a Medicaid planning and consulting company may be needed to guide one through this procedure and plan the “spend down”. This so called “spend-down” is managing your asset so you can help bring your resources below the Medicaid threshold. For more info, click here.
Conclusion: This phenomenon, “The Sandwich Generation”, seems like it’s the new trend and is here to stay, according to studies. Being aware of the upside and downside of this unique situation can help an individual better prepare for it and receive the proper guidance needed.
Fay D. Wein is a content and communications specialist at Senior Planning Services, an industry leader in guiding seniors and their families through the Medicaid maze, servicing NY, NJ, CT and PA. She loves cooking, blogging and spending time with her family.