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Care for the Sandwich Generation

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Anyone experiencing the struggle of simultaneously caring for children and aging parents is part of the “sandwich generation.” These “sandwich” family caregivers tend to be in their thirties and forties and are required to balance duties to provide for both children and parents.

You are not alone. You are most likely experiencing significant anxiety and stress as you juggle activities for your children, career and increased financial expectations, family dynamics, and daily caregiver duties. Though this is a challenging time, there are steps to help you provide the best outcomes.

Start with a simple first step by reprioritizing “daily.”  When there are an overwhelming number of tasks to accomplish in a day, prioritize between urgent and non-urgent categories to triage what needs addressing first.  Make time for self-care to avoid caregiver burnout. Focusing on basics like nutritious meals, adequate sleep, and exercise will serve you and your loved ones well. Talking things through with family members can better manage everyone’s expectations.

Make an honest evaluation of available resources before determining a course of action. Are your parents able to pay for their care on their own, even within your own home? Do they carry long-term care insurance or insurance policies with living benefits? Do you have other family members willing to contribute?  Is public assistance viable? Are there steps that can be taken in order to qualify for assistance?

Talk things through with your parents, siblings, and spouse. Consult an attorney experienced in Medicaid planning to ensure all relevant legal documents are at hand if a sudden financial or medical decision presents itself.

While your parents are a huge responsibility, it is crucial not to overlook your financial planning needs. Consider purchasing a life insurance policy to protect your family’s future in the event a tragedy befalls you. Start an emergency fund to help cover incidental costs–unexpected medical bills, and long-term hospital stays. Unexpected costs can derail the best made plans, so get prepared with some emergency cash on hand.

If your sandwich generation status continues, re-evaluate your finances periodically. Goals will change, and updating your estate plan (and possibly your parents’ plan) may help you stay on track to meet your nuclear family’s long-term goals.

Money management and estate planning are critical elements to creating a mutually beneficial living experience as part of the sandwich generation.  Call 570-784-4654 to schedule a consultation with a Certified Medicaid Planner at the Law Offices of Luschas, Naparsteck, & Crane, LLP to ensure your estate planning documents are up to date and accurate.

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