Do you have aging parents and children to care for? If so, you’re part of the sandwich generation. This group grows daily as the baby boomer generation ages into their elder years. It can be difficult to balance caring for children, parents, and yourself. Here are some tips on how to manage this lifestyle.
Don’t forget about yourself
Self-care and health are important. Without caring for your own health it will be difficult for you to provide care for anyone else. Without setting aside free time and time for things you enjoy, you will quickly become burnt out and your care for parents and children will suffer. Your emotional and mental health can also suffer if you do not have enough time to rest. Remember that you need time for things you love, not only people you love.
Bring parents and children together
Bring your parents and children together as often as possible. If your children do homework after school, try having your parents at your house at this time. Your parents can help with any homework they can while doing puzzles or reading with the children. This not only helps the children learn, but helps your parents keep their mental abilities strong. This also builds the relationship between grandparent and grandchild.
Have your parents move in
Although it may not be your ideal situation to have your elderly parents move in with you, it can make caregiving much easier. By having all of your dependents in one house, there will be less travel involved in your caregiving. This also allows you to care for both your children and parents at the same time. You can cook meals for everyone at the same time, rather than cooking at your parents’ house then returning home to cook for your children. This living situation also allows you to keep an eye on both children and parents without the worry of one needing your help elsewhere.
It is important to talk about finances with your parents in order to ensure they are prepared to pay for any care they may need. Lists of assets, debts, income, and expenses should be made. Their insurance policies, will, power-of-attorney, and any other important documents should be organized. A plan should be made in case one of your parents becomes ill or has an accident.
You should look into expenses with your parents to see where they may be spending unnecessarily in order to cut back and save for emergencies. Assets and debts should also be looked into to see if any debts can be paid or unused assets can be sold to help pay for debts or care.
You should also look into your own finances to see how much contribution you can afford to give to your parents should they require your financial assistance.
There are many steps you can take to ease the burden of the sandwich generation. These are only a few of the possible solutions which may help, and your situation may require different or altered solutions.