Tag Archives: sandwich generation

Should Your Widowed Parent Live Alone?

Individuals in the “Sandwich Generation”, those adults that are still in the process of raising their own families while also taking care of their aging parents are also being faced with the dilemma of whether an aging widowed parent should continue to live independently. The idea of an aging set of parents living alone can be a reason for concern but if you add to the mix that now your one parent may be faced with living alone following the death of a spouse, the stakes may be raised.

There are certain steps that can be taken to make the home friendlier for a parent that is now living alone. Just as you’d child-proof a home for children, you will also need to adult-proof a home for your aging parents. Making certain that items in cupboards are within easy reach, offering your parent a home medical alert device and making sure the bathroom is safe from trip and fall hazards are among the items you can do to make the home more senior friendly.

Consider too that if your aging relative was accustomed to being with his or her spouse for decades, the idea of not having that partner can throw off the balance of the remaining spouse’s life. Being faced with taking care of bills, household tasks and other daily items such as cooking or cleaning may be items with which they aren’t accustomed. This can lead to distress.

If you, or they, find that maintaining the family home is too much of a chore, it may be time to look at downsizing. This could be a delicate conversation to have as having already lost a spouse will lead to a high level of emotional stress and if you add to that, the idea of losing the family home, it could potentially lead to downward spiral in health.

To help your family and your remaining parent make a decision on yet another life-altering move, here are some items to consider:

  • Ask friends, family and senior health professionals for advice on moves to a senior living facility. Ask what the experience was like and ask if they’d be willing to speak with your entire family regarding the move.
  • Ask your remaining parent what they’d truly like to do and ask them to honestly gauge their capabilities as it relates to living alone. Don’t plant fears in their mind but ask them to honestly decide whether they can maintain the family home, keep up with their medications, and household chores, etc.
  • If downsizing is going to be an option, plan to spend quite a bit of time sorting through a lifetime of memories and making hard decisions on what to keep and what to donate or sell.
  • Take a thorough look at finances to see what is financially viable when it comes to either remaining in the family home or making a move to a retirement community or purchasing a smaller home.
  • Visit several communities before making any final decisions and make certain your parent is involved in the decision making from start to finish.
  • If he or she decides to remain in the home, check into in-home healthcare services in the event none of your family members live close enough to help out with day-to-day tasks if necessary.
  • Involve the family physician to gauge his feelings on whether your parent is healthy – both mentally and physically – enough to live alone.

Even though you and your family members may feel better about your remaining parent moving out of the family home, you need to look at the situation from their point of view and work as a team. While health, safety and welfare need to be top of mind, don’t rule out home medical alert devices and the services of in-home caregivers as a way to allow your parent to continue to age in place.

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.

Sandwich Generation: Staying Healthy

The Sandwich Generation is the generation of people caught between caring for their aging parents as well as their own children. Thousands of families across the country are affected by this situation. It can be very stressful and hard on the individuals both mentally and physically. These stresses can cause those affected to gain weight and carry on an unhealthy lifestyle.

With the responsibility of caring for two different generations many people find it hard to find time to care for their own health. The combination of having less time and more stress and responsibility causes many people to put their own health and fitness on the back burner. This can result in weight gain and other health problems. These health issues can be avoided with proper time management and being able to take time for yourself.

One of the main things to remember is to some time to care for yourself.  You might feel overwhelmed in this generation squeeze but you must be able to step back and give yourself some ‘you’ time. We all need time for ourselves to do some things we love and get away from the everyday stresses of life. So give yourself a couple of hours a day to go to the gym or go for a walk or bike ride through your neighborhood. This will both relieve a lot of stress and also this exercise will give you more energy throughout the day.

It’s also really important to eat the right foods. Healthier eating will help to manage your weight and give you more energy. I know it can be difficult to find time in your busy day to cook a healthy meal with your busy schedule but there are a few things you can do to ensure you’re eating a healthy diet. One thing you can do is prepare meals ahead of time. During a Saturday or Sunday you can plan your meals for the week. Cook these meals ahead of time so you can just reheat and serve. This saves time and relieves one more stress you have. Also it’s a good idea to have fresh fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator for easy healthy snacking. Fruits and vegetables are easy to grab and go and you won’t have the temptation to stop at the local drive through.

It is possible to care for your parents and children and also give yourself the attention you deserve. Don’t let the generation squeeze effect your health and quality of life. Use these tips to help work through the stress and responsibility of living in the Sandwich Generation.

The Importance of Sleep

In order to maintain your health and operate at your optimum capacity it is important to get enough sleep each and every night, however, this task is a lot easier said than done. Being a caregiver saddles you with added responsibilities and stressors especially if you are in the sandwich generation. Providing financial and emotional care for both your parents and children is enough to keep anyone up at night.

Medical experts say that you should get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night, but statistics reveal many people are getting less than 5 to 6 hours. Not getting enough sleep can affect both your demeanor and your health, leading to weight gain and a constant feeling of slugishness.

When it comes time to go to bed many caregivers use the time they should be sleeping to finish up chores, complete work assignments or watch TV.  Having so many stressors on your plate, it is also easy to bring your stress-related problems into the bedroom. Bringing your stress with you to bed will only further affect your ability to get the rest you require. Before laying down for bed each night, caregivers have to let their stressors go in order to allow themselves to fully relax. The following are just a few helpful tips to help you drift off a little easier, without enlisting the help of sheep. Continue reading

Sandwich Generation Month

In the Caregiving world July is called Sandwich Generation Month. Every July we like to commemorate and celebrate the dedication, patience, and caring of those adults who are part of the Sandwich Generation. For these strong individuals every single day comes with new challenges. So we would like to celebrate and raise awareness for all they do for the ones they love.

The Sandwich generation is the generation that has the task of caring for their aging parents along with supporting their own children. This time can be very stressful for those who are part of it. Every day presents new challenges for the Sandwich Generation and these people work very hard to ensure the safety and care of their loved ones.

This Month we would like to take the opportunity to raise awareness and provide help for those who are part of the Sandwich Generation. You can find links on our blog along with tips posted on our Twitter and Facebook page throughout the month. If you are a member of the Sandwich Generation just know that you aren’t alone. Don’t let your responsibilities consume you. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help as Life Fone and other people around the world would love to give you tips and resources to make you lives easier and less stressful.

Financial Planning for the Sandwich Generation

Over ten million baby boomers are currently strapped with the costs of raising children or supporting an adult child while also providing financial support to an aging parent, according to a Pew Research Center Report. With the addedexpenditures and financial strains, many baby boomers are financially drained and unable to save for retirement.

By administering just a few advance planning procedures, however, baby boomers can better equip themselves to manage added expenses without the risk of siphoning away their life savings. Continue reading

Financial Planning for the Sandwich Generation

Over ten million baby boomers are currently strapped with the costs of raising children or supporting an adult child while also providing financial support to an aging parent, according to a Pew Research Center Report. With the addedexpenditures and financial strains, many baby boomers are financially drained and unable to save for retirement.

By administering just a few advance planning procedures, however, baby boomers can better equip themselves to manage added expenses without the risk of siphoning away their life savings. Continue reading

I have too many responsibilities!

With age comes great responsibility!  And of course, this sandwich generation has a great deal of responsibility!  Many may still be working fulltime or part-time, trying to finish a thirty year mortgage while also helping their children finish school and taking care of loved ones!  Will the responsibilities ever stop?

The Society for Human Resource Management claims that one out of every five full time employees provides care for an older relative and nearly three-quarters of these employees have children under the age of 18 as well. That doesn’t mean you have any official licensure or professional medical training. More likely, you’re a family member without any special training, gifts or abilities.  How does that compound the stress of everyday life?   For most it adds one more dynamic to an already overwhelming and chaotic life. Trying to maintain a solid family life, paying the bills, worrying about the increase in your mortgage rate and paying for college text books can add extreme tensions and stress.

In the 8th Annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends by MetLife, some very astounding numbers were uncovered!

Those who say they live paycheck to paycheck:

42% of employees with children but no elder caregiving responsibilities

64% for those who are also caregivers.

Those who fear they can’t afford to buy a home:

37% of employees with children but no elder caregiving responsibilities

74% for those who are also caregivers

Those who worry about affording college for their children:

55% of employees with children but no elder caregiving responsibilities

72% for those who are also caregivers.

Surprised?  If you’re in the sandwich generation, these numbers only confirm what they already know.  Finding a way to take control is key and sometimes an impossible task.

Ask for help.  Find quality time with friends.  Women, in particular, need quality time with friends to unwind and relax. Take a moment of quiet time each day to express the love and thanks for what you do have in life; you will never be able to make that time up.  And remember, Breathe!

I’m officially in the sandwich generation!

As you get to a certain age, the things you worry about drastically change. Think about a ten year old; what are they worrying about?  This may be a generalization but at ten, top worries are probably the three F’s; friends, food and fun. Fast forward to the age range of fifteen to twenty, new interests arise. Thoughts center around the opposite sex, Facebook, cell phones and computers, and of course, what they are going to do on the weekend.

Speed forward at alarming rates and suddenly you’re fifty! Your friends and family throw you an over-the-hill party which makes it all the more real! Thoughts have turned toward retirement, and you worry about how your kids are doing in school or in their career, about grand kids and how you’re going to regain the money you lost in your portfolio due to a draining economy. Health becomes even more of a concern than ever before. You hear people saying, “I can’t hit the golf ball as far as I could when I was younger” or, “I can’t take steps like I used to”.  You realize that your body just isn’t as young as it used to be yet your responsibilities  don’t seem to recognize any limitations!  You may have children or grandchildren on one hand and parents who need to be monitored or cared for full-time on the other.  Double duty when you were hoping for things to slow down. What happened to “empty-nest”?

Overall, the health of the sandwich generation is affected by these worries and concerns. Worry and stress can create all kinds of long-term problems. You may experience:

  • Pain of any kind
  • Heart disease
  • Digestive problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Skin conditions, such as eczema

Keep an eye out for these problems. It’s not embarrassing if these symptoms arise; you have a lot on your plate.  Take good care of yourself!  A simple step that may help you reduce stress in the home of a loved one primarily able live alone is to provide a 24 hour emergency monitoring system. This helps provide peace of mind when you aren’t around. Being prepared can be one of the most beneficial, rewarding and stress saving ideas you may ever have. Remember, becoming sick not only take a toll on your mind and body but your loved ones as well.