The ‘Sandwich Generation’ refers to adults who fall between the ages of 30 to 55 who find themselves caring for both aging parents and their own children at the same time. This relatively new phenomenon can be attributed to both life expectancies are rising and people waiting longer to settle down and have children. Here are some things to think about if you find yourself in this situation.
It’s a good idea to sit down with your parents and come up with a plan together. If you have siblings, everyone needs to be involved in order to avoid issues down the line. Come with a planned agenda so that you can cover everything that needs to be talked about. Conversations like this have the potential to become emotional or contentious, so it's a good idea to have a way to stay on track. You should designate who will be the Medical Power of Attorney ahead of time so you're prepared if the situation does arise. It may even be helpful to have a third party to help facilitate conversations. The more everyone is on the same page, the smoother the transition will be.
Let your adult or almost adult children know what expectations they can have for the next stage of their life. For example, if you agreed to pay half of their college tuition, stick to that and only that. Many people find themselves using their retirement accounts as way to help support their children long term financially and this is a mistake. As difficult as it may be, you can't put your own future livelihood at risk. Not having enough money for retirement or your own long term care can have devastating results for everyone involved.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
This is probably the most important item on this entire list. If everyone in your life is depending on you, it can be stressful. The constant pressure to be there for everyone at all times can affect your finances, career, health, and social life. Take the time to do something that you enjoy at least once a week, whether it's going to a movie, taking a walk, or even getting a much needed nap. Eat well, exercise, and ensure you are getting as much sleep as you can to keep yourself healthy. Finally, it may even help to find someone to talk to and come up with methods to handle stress.