Tag Archives: Parent

How to Put Together a Family Caregiver Agreement

When a loved one is no longer able to completely care for themselves it’s important they have people around them helping out to make their lives easier. More than 65 million caregivers provide more than $375 billion in uncompensated care to friends and family members.  This number is staggering but reflects the love and commitment families for one another!

When your loved one is having a difficult time you may feel that it’s time to step in but you don’t have to do it all alone.  Preparing a family caregiver agreement is a great first step to take so that no one has to take on the burden of caregiving all by themselves. Each family member should play a part  in achieving a great caregiver experience .

The first thing you need to do is define your needs and the needs of the one you’re caring for. What kind of difficulties are they having? What kinds of medication are they taking? When do they need to go to see a physician? These are a few questions you should ask when preparing a caregiver agreement. You must also take into consideration the needs of those participating in the caregiving. What kind of hours does everyone work? What family obligations do they have? Do they themselves have any medical problems that need to be taken into consideration? Write down all these needs and sort them according to each individual. Continue reading

How to Accept that Caregiving has Changed Your Life

New caregivers often take on their duties with open hearts and the best intentions, rarely stopping to consider that the role they have acquired could last for years or the drastic changes their lives will undergo. With so much to occupy their minds, it often takes months before caregivers finally stop and ask themselves, “How do I accept the fact that I have to leave behind the life I was accustomed to in order to serve as the primary caregiver to my parents?”

When becoming a caregiver, many individuals simply put their lives on hold with the assumption that life as they knew it will resume soon enough. It quickly becomes apparent that this is not the case. Once realizing that the life they put on “hold” is really their new reality, there is some mental adjustment to undergo.

Regardless of what age caregivers are when they begin the journey, their life course is bound to change. If you are part of the sandwich generation and your kids are at home with you and your parents, it takes some readjusting to figure out how to spread out your time and share it evenly among all your loved ones. If your children left the nest before you became a caregiver, it is quickly apparent you will need to readjust your retirement plans. Continue reading

Managing the Added Costs of being in the Sandwich Generation

Life is all about stages. Closing the door to one stage opens up an entirely new set of opportunities. Entering the stage of parenthood comes with the knowledge that eventually your children will leave the nest, opening up a whole host of opportunities for you to undertake in your spare time, you remember all that free time pre-parenthood? Time to travel, discover new hobbies and relax. As your children continue making their way toward adulthood and that next stage is finally within grasp, members of the sandwich generation quickly see a new stage sidelining the one they thought they were headed for, one with very little free time.

Enter your parents, who are now living longer than ever before, and are in need of financial, emotional and physical help, much like the children you have spent the last 18 years raising. This new stage you are entering is hardly carefree and comes equipped with emotional baggage and added stressors.  Members of the Sandwich Generation are responsible for providing care at both ends of the spectrum of their family. Adult children care for their aging parents and relatives, while at the same time meeting the needs of their children and in some cases, grandchildren.

Many elderly are finding that their financial plans for retirement which accounted for 10-15 years were much too short as they live well into their 90s and exhaust their funds. The burden then lies on their adult children who also have to take into account their own retirement finances and their children’s financial needs. Aging increases the likelihood of developing certain types of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, Cancer, Diabetes or Cardiac/heart disease problems that many elderly did not allot treatment funds for. These scenarios are morphing from unique to usual.

If you are finding that your parents need assistance, the first thing sandwich generation members should do is sit down and have a frank discussion with their parents about their finances, as uncomfortable as this may be. You need to discover their sources of income and expenses as well as their assets and liabilities. Once you know where they stand, you will be better able to help them and yourself.

  1. Let your parents know that unnecessary expenses (like extravagant gifts for the grandchildren) are unwarranted. Your parents may need to cut back on the money they spend and evaluate their spending habits to determine where they can save a little money.
  2. Look over their insurance coverage and deductibles for property, long-term care and prescription drugs to make sure they have the correct coverage and are not paying too much for it.
  3. Your parents may benefit from re-evaluating their unnecessary whole life insurance policies with built-up cash value. Look into a 1035 tax-free exchange to an immediate fixed annuity for extra cash flow.
  4. It may also be time to tap the value of their home. Downsizing or selling their house can exclude up to $500,000 in capital gains from taxes for married couples filing jointly and $250,000 for singles. By selling their home and moving in with others, or selling the home to family members so they can remain in the home, they will free up a lot of extra cash.

If you are part of the sandwich generation, you have a lot on your plate. Finding the funds to support your aging parents is no easy task, and you should not be saddled with all the extra costs. While the new stage of life you have entered may not be exactly what you were anticipating, it is important to keep your funds intact so that you can survive the next stage of life, which may finally include relaxation.

How to Stop Caregiving from Ruining your Relationships

There is little question that today’s sandwich generation aptly fits the definition. With all the pressure caving in around them from their duties caring for their parents on one end and their children on the other, it is little wonder baby boomers feel they have no time to maintain outside relationships. Yet, nurturing relationships outside of caregiving duties are crucial to a baby boomer’s well being, regardless of how little extra time there is in the day.

Adult children live in a much more hectic world than the one that existed even a generation ago. People are living a lot longer today, thanks to medical advances, but the health of these individuals is not always as advanced. Many elders today are stroke survivors, suffering from dementia or diabetes, or have a myriad of other health concerns. While many still maintain a good quality of life, they need help to do so – and that’s where baby boomers come in. Continue reading

Coping with Criticism

Since the sole responsibility of caregiving for a parent typically rests on the shoulders of one adult sibling, the burden he or she experiences is often overwhelming. While the caregiver’s siblings may not be a part of the day-to-day monotony that is caregiving, it doesn’t stop them from offering up their advice and criticisms regarding how their parent is being cared for. Similarly, the loved one you are caring for may have a few derogatory things to say in regards to how they perceive you as a caregiver.

When criticisms come from loved ones they hold the power to hurt since the people we love the most can hurt us the most. Continue reading