As a parent, you probably think about how to raise happy, well-adjusted children. Many books, articles, and journals describe ways to fulfill your child’s every need and want…but what about your parents?
How much time do you spend thinking about the happiness of your aging parents and how much information have you seen about caring for aging parents?
Are you Part of the Sandwich Generation?
Are you a parent caring for your child while also caring for your own parent?
Merriam Webster defines "Sandwich Generation" as a generation of people who are caring for their aging parents while supporting their own children.
Just how common is it for adults to be “sandwiched” between aging their parents and their kids?
Chances are many people you know are or will be caring for an aging parent at some point in their lives. By 2030, there will be more than 72 million people over the age of 65 in the United States. In 2012, 47% of adults aged 40 to 50s have a parent over 65 and they are either raising a young child or providing financial support to an adult child. One-in-seven middle-aged adults are financially supporting an aging parent and a child.
Are you also providing another type of support? You're probably not alone.
If you are caring for a parent, you most likely feel a tremendous duty to take care of and help make decisions about your aging parents’ health, finances, day-to-day functioning, and overall well-being. You are taking on a huge responsibility that you probably never imagined you would have.
According to the Pew research center, “Adults who are part of the sandwich generation-that is, those who have a living parent age 65 or older and are either raising a child under age 18 or supporting a grown child- are pulled in many directions. Not only do many provide care and financial support, but nearly four-in-ten (38%) say both their grown children and their parents rely on them for emotional support.”
Tips for Caring for your Aging Parents
You are not alone in feeling challenged by what to do with an aging parent. The following tips can help:
Do your research. Don’t wait until you are inundated with forms, brochures, doctors’ visits and decisions
that can’t wait to be made. Begin by reading about your aging parents’ medical conditions and life stage situation. Ask questions that you may normally shy away from. Most importantly, get resources. Find out about doctors, care managers, nursing and assisted living facilities, social workers, all who can help your parent when needed.
Start a Conversation with your Parent
Many people experience difficulty talking about sensitive topics such as health, aging, death, etc.
However, a scenario I hear about often is “My mother fell. She’s in the hospital and I don’t know how to help her.” If this situation were to happen to you or anyone else you know, here are some important questions to ask:
• Does your parent have an Advanced Care Directive?
• Does he or she have a will?