The Sandwich Generation

Tips for the “Sandwiched”
Urmas Lupkin Vice President Sales & Marketing
Following up on last week’s article on the Sandwich Generation, here are tips for how to handle if you are the “Sandwiched” one. Get everyone’s finances out in the open: Pertinent information is the key for effective management. It will help streamline decisions as well as communicate limitations on expenses. Understand whose money it is: Regarding ones parents, the “Sandwiched” need to respect who has actually spent a lifetime building their savings. Regarding their children, they still need to instill and foster a sense of independence. Seek out the right professionals and organizations for help: It’s tough enough to handle your own life let alone three (or more) generations. Delegate! Think of yourself as a coach who calls the plays, but lets the experts execute. For your financial affairs, work with your planner for everything from retirement to college planning. A good estate attorney is also invaluable for things like wills, living wills and power of attorney. From accountants to social workers, consider other professionals as well.  If you are still stressed for time, consider a geriatric care manager, who will help oversee many of the details. Look to the Aging Life Care Association for help. There are many other government, nonprofit and faith-based organizations that can help with a wide array of services. Find good care: A good care giver (the single professional who can make the greatest difference in your life) not only spends a great deal of time supplying day-to-day needs, but also provides much needed companionship. Not always easy to find, it pays to ask around for recommendations. Typically, going through a private agency will cost more than hiring a caregiver directly. Make time for yourself: Taking care of yourself is the golden rule of caregiving. It’s important to recharge both your physical and mental batteries. If you’re suffering from burnout, you won’t be able to help your children or parents. Sometimes talking to friends, other family members, or even a family counselor, psychiatrist or doctor is a necessity. You might also consider joining a local support group. Other people facing similar situations have much to offer. Save time updating: Many well-meaning friends and family members can add to your stress and overtaxed schedule with requests for updates. If you can update everyone at once, you can significantly reduce your anxiety. Group e-mails and texts are the ticket. For more information, you might consider Google Drive or Lotsa Helping Hands. Talk to your employer: If you have a job along with your caregiving responsibilities, discuss switching to a more flexible schedule and explore child and senior care benefits. Prioritize: There is one of you and still only 24 hours in a day. Those numbers don’t change. Make a list of all the things you think need to be accomplished, prioritize and cut what you can. Love your loved ones: Realize this situation won’t last forever and that this burden is also, in many ways, a blessing. Being in the moment and trying to enjoy life as it comes can help take the edge off your stress.

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