Members of the sandwich generation must juggle responsibilities on multiple fronts.
The “sandwich generation” is a term used to describe those who care for aging parents while raising their own children.
Although people have cared for family members across generations for thousands of years, those in the sandwich generation still face many unique challenges and pressures.
Societal trends and demographics impact their roles and responsibilities.
While sandwich generation members have typically included those in their 30s and 40s, the trend of having children later has led to greater dependency.
So, if you are in this demographic “club,” then you may have minor children and aging loved ones needing your attention.
With the demographic changes and COVID-19’s impact on long-term care facilities, sandwich generation members carry significant responsibility.
To better protect their loved ones who rely on them, estate planning is essential for these caregivers.
Why is estate planning crucial for the sandwich generation?
Estate planning allows for organization and structure to support the complex care of minor children and senior parents.
Consequently, caregivers are afforded greater peace of mind regarding current issues and future challenges.
What are key strategies for effective estate planning?
Prioritizing and Reprioritizing Responsibilities
As individuals become caregivers, their priorities shift.
New responsibilities must be taken on and addressed.
Caregivers must manage daily tasks effectively, their own and others.
Organization is critical, as well as identifying urgent and non-urgent tasks.
Knowing what is most important can provide greater balance and reduce feeling overwhelmed by the need to accomplish everything.
Recognizing Self-Care as Crucial
Caregivers often neglect caring for themselves.
Although this may appear admirable, it is not sustainable.
Neglecting your own needs and health only makes you less reliable for those who depend on you.
If you run yourself ragged and face burnout, you will be unable to meet the needs of your loved ones adequately.
Members of the sandwich generation must prioritize self-care to continue to be mentally, physically, and emotionally supportive of their minor children and aging parents.
Understanding Legal Rights and Workplace Benefits
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is essential for caregivers to understand.
Unfortunately, many sandwich generation members do not know the rights and protections afforded to them in this legislation.
The act can help them maintain job security while caring for the family.
Utilizing Communication and Support Networks
Although one individual may carry the greater responsibility in caregiving for loved ones, it is essential to ask for help and support from other family members.
If no other family exists or the family you have abandons you, take advantage of support networks and forums with other caregivers.
Being a part of these networks can help manage realistic expectations of being a caregiver in the sandwich generation.
Managing Financial Planning and Resources
Financial resources can feel strained when you work less at a paying job to provide unpaid support to children and parents.
Some avenues may be available to lessen the financial burden.
Perhaps your aging parents can contribute financially to their support.
Seek assistance from other family members or public programs may also be an option for reducing the expenses you must pay yourself.
Discussing Plans with Aging Parents and Family Members
Planning for the care of aging parents requires a conversation about preferences and available options.
You should include other family members and aging parents in discussions about estate planning, incapacity planning, financial planning, and care planning.
The sandwich generation should prioritize estate planning and encourage their aging parents to do their own.
Caregivers often require authority to make decisions or manage finances for aging parents.
If parents do not have these documents in place, the caregivers could be limited in their support.
This can lead to delinquent payments, vulnerability to scams, or the need to petition a court for a guardian or conservatorship.
Both aging parents and caregivers should have powers of attorney and healthcare directives to provide legal authority to make decisions for elderly parents or minor children.
Ultimately, estate planning is preparing for the future.
Estate planning should consider long-term care planning like home renovations, retirement savings, and professional services.
Emergency funds and insurance policies can help you protect your financial security.
Although having an estate plan is fundamental, it must be reviewed every few years or after major life events.
The estate plan needs to change with life changes and reflect new considerations.
In conclusion, estate planning is essential for everyone, but especially for those who have others reliant on them.
Because sandwich generation members have parents and children depending on them, they cannot afford to neglect estate planning.
Working with an experienced estate planning attorney to evaluate your current and anticipated needs will help you better prepare to navigate the sandwich generation’s unique challenges.
This post is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. You should contact an attorney for advice concerning any particular issue or problem. Nothing herein creates an attorney-client relationship between the Law Offices of Kyle E. Krull, P.A., and the reader.