Tips for Managing Your Parents, Kids and Sanity in the Sandwich Generation

Middle-aged adults “sandwiched” between aging parents and kids are often referred to as the “sandwich generation”. Adults who are part of the sandwich generation have a living parent age 65 or older and are raising a child under age 18 or supporting a grown child. They’re pulled in many directions, providing financial and emotional support to their parents and children.

Why is the sandwich generation a new concept? With advanced health care and nutrition, our life expectancies are changing. Many people now live well into their 80s and 90s.Women are waiting until they are older and more settled before having children. These factors mean that many adults are now saddled with taking care of two generations in addition to themselves.

If you are responsible for aging parents as well as your own children, read the tips below to help you take control and restore order.

  • Consider alternatives to having your parents move in with you. If possible, hire caregivers to help shift some of the responsibility
  • Seek help from others. Don’t be afraid to ask other family members/siblings to chip in.  Communicate with siblings and other family members to let them know what is going on with your parents
  • Make a list of things you need assistance with and communicate that information so others know how to help
  • Talk to your employer about your caregiving responsibilities. Your employer may provide more flexibility if they know what is going on
  • Put your retirement first. Your kids can borrow for college, but you can’t borrow for retirement
  • Don’t dip into your retirement savings. Taking money out of retirement accounts could come with a stiff 10% IRS penalty if you are under 59 ½
  • Consider a bill-paying service to ensure bills are paid automatically and on time so payments are never missed

Having an aging parent while still raising or supporting one’s own child presents a different set of challenges and new family dynamics not faced by other adults. Anders can help you develop and implement a plan to help ease your family’s burdens. Learn more about our Elder Care Services, or contact an Anders advisor.