Dorion-Gray: The ranks of ‘sandwich generation’ likely to grow
At a time when your career is reaching a peak and you are looking ahead to your own retirement, you may find yourself in the position of having to help your children with college expenses or the financial challenges of young adulthood while at the same time looking after the needs of your aging parents. Squeezed in the middle, you’re in the “sandwich generation” – a group loosely defined as people in their 40s to 60s who are “sandwiched” between caring for children and aging parents.
The fact is women are the ones who most often step into the caregiving role based on a 2012 study by The National Clearinghouse for Long Term Care Information. As more women have children later in life and more parents live longer lives, the ranks of the sandwich generation are likely to grow in the years ahead. If you find yourself sandwiched between caregiving demands, here are some strategies to navigate this life phase.
First, set priorities. The day-to-day demands of caring for both an aging parent and children can put a tremendous strain – both emotional and financial – on the primary caregiver. This is especially true when adult siblings or family members don’t agree on the best course of action for elder care, don’t pitch in to do their share, or don’t contribute enough financially to the cost of that care. The first thing to do is get yourself in the proper mindset. This life phase could last one or two years, or it could last many more. In any case, try to treat this stage as a marathon and pace yourself.
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