The Members of the Sandwich Generation at a LakeSandwich Generation has become a more common term as the aging population grows and more people find themselves taking care of their parents and children at the same time. This week, Clare Ansberry has a sobering piece in the Wall Street Journal looking at the current state of the Sandwich Generation. For those in the generation, there can be many challenging decisions to make on a daily basis. The needs of your children are often balanced against the needs of your parents. For some of the luckier folks, their parents may have set up a trust to help with some of the financial burdens that come with aging. But many people are stuck between their kids and their parents and need help on a daily basis to cope with all their responsibilities.

The Sobering Statistics

Some of the statistics from Ms. Ansberry:

  • The Sandwich Generation has grown from 12.6% in 1999 to 26% in 2015;
  • 9 million people currently caring for both their children and older adults;
  • Most of the people are in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s;
  • 2/3 of them have jobs;
  • The average member of the Sandwich Generation works 36 hours per week and cares for an adult another 22 hours per week;
  • Around 25% of dementia caregivers also care for children under 18; and
  • 1/3 of the caregivers live in the same home as their parent.

What’s Causing The Growth in the Sandwich Generation

There are a variety of factors that contribute to the growth in the sandwich generation. Ms. Ansberry points out:

  • Longevity is increasing;
  • Women are having children later in life;
  • Cases of dementia are increasing;
  • Families are smaller; and
  • Two-career couples are more common.

Tips for the Sandwich Generation

If you are faced with the daunting task of caring for your children and your parents at the same time, Ms. Ansberry offers some tips for you to consider.

  • Set boundaries – be clear about what you can and can’t do;
  • Prioritize – consider what is really essential and prioritize those items first;
  • Enlist help – there are plenty of people out there, both family members and others, who are able to help. Don’t be afraid to ask;
  • Communicate – use whatever tools are available to you to communicate with others;
  • Plan – there can be a variety of programs and services that can help you care for children and adults, so research them and make use of them when you can;
  • Talk to your employer – explore all of your options, including Family Medical Leave Act benefits;
  • Seek balance – this goes for anyone, not just members of the Sandwich Generation. Finding some type of balance in all of the chaos will help you make it through the seemingly never-ending demands on your time.

As you make sure to take care of everyone else, don’t forget to make time to take care of yourself. Going through the various demands of caring for everyone is exhausting. Especially if you run your own business, it may seem like everywhere you turn, someone needs you. One area you can work to take something off your mental to-do list is to ensure your own planning is in order. Do you have a Healthcare Power of Attorney in case you get sick and someone else needs to step in to help you?

Some Resources

Here are a few resources from the article as well that may be good for you to look at:

Next Steps

If you’re in the Sandwich Generation, hopefully you can see the importance of planning and implementing a full estate plan. If you’d like to explore your options further, call my office to set up a Legal Strategy Session and we can discuss the best option for your situation – (877) AMAYERS.

Andrew Ayers
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I work with business and estate planning clients to craft legal solutions to protect their legacies.
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