When Duty Calls: Navigating the Sandwich Generation with Ease
The average age of parents raising children in the US continues to rise. This leaves many middle-aged Americans in a category commonly referred to as the “sandwich” generation. This generation is often still raising kids at home when they become responsible to care for their own aging parents. When you are faced with the responsibility of caring for two generations at once, the stress and financial strain can become overwhelming. The following tips can help make this challenging life stage manageable and more enjoyable.
Assess the Financial Situation
Taking time to thoroughly understand the financial picture for your own household is imperative as you step into a role of responsibility for your aging parent. Prepare for the inevitable and avoid surprises by working with a professional to consider how your role in the care of your parent will affect the plans you are making for your family’s financial future. Consult with your trusted advisors for support and guidance.
Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying that, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Planning for your family’s future means preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. As you move through helping your aging parent with important Estate Planning decisions, take time to be sure your own wishes are legally binding as well. Be sure to include the following in your own Estate Plan:
- Durable Power of Attorney – Appoints a person to make financial and legal decisions for you.
- Designation of Health Care Surrogate– Designates a person to make medical decisions for you.
- Living Will – Expresses your wishes for end of life decisions.
- Will or Revocable Trust– Carries out your wishes in the event of your death with regard to the disposition of your assets.
- Kids Protection Plan – Designates a legal guardian for your minor children in the event of your incapacitation or death.
Pay Attention to Red Flags
Even if your aging parent is still quite capable, work together to carefully assess their financial situation. Also, be on the lookout for signs that anything is falling through the cracks. Some examples of common red flags are:
- Frequent calls from creditors
- Forgetfulness when it comes to bills and deadlines
- Unopened mail
Utilize professional legal and financial support when necessary and communicate clearly so everyone knows who is responsible for what.
Practice Good Self Care
Stress is one of the most common consequences of caring for two generations at once. Balancing the responsibilities of raising children and caring for aging parents with relaxation and play is vital. Remember that adequate rest and good nutrition will provide you with the extra energy you’ll need when times get tough. Most importantly, remember that you don’t have to do it alone! Kira Doyle Law is here to help, and we are ready to assist you when duty calls. With our assistance, you’ll gain the confidence of knowing you’re making the most empowered, informed, and educated legal and financial decisions for yourself and the ones you love.
If you are already or will soon become a member of the “sandwich” generation and would like assistance with assessing your financial situation and with planning ahead, please contact an experienced Estate Planning Attorney at Kira Doyle Law in St. Petersburg, Florida, at (727) 537-6818.