The challenges of the sandwich generation
Do you fit into the sandwich generation, wedged between two generations of family members?
Children are living at home past their 20’s or may even be a “boomerang kid” and our parents are living longer, this can often mean we are stretched between the two making us the “first modern” sandwich generation.
Life is already busy with the endless commitments of work, family and lifestyle pursuits.
We all feel like we are pushed to the limit of what we can fit into the day/week and although exhausted we are keeping our head bobbing and above water.
Throw in a parent or child who experiences ill-health or other major life event and the balls in the air can come tumbling down.
Plans of early retirement, extended travel and cocktails by the pool can seem like a life only to be dreamed of as finances are now drained to other less exotic avenues.
Baby boomers have fostered better relationships with both their children and parents and the financial costs of today’s society has hit all age levels of the community. The thought of owing one’s own home for many is no longer a reality, many aged care facilities have waiting lists miles long coupled with often high entry and maintenance fees.
There is no remorse or regret as it is after all, still a choice you make to care for your family but perhaps it is not quite the life you had envisaged once you reached the milestone of mature adult
Discussion points for adult children still in the nest:
- Financial contribution to the household – what can they afford – what do you expect?
- Chores – especially if you are still working these should be shared
- Values – respect of each other’s spaces and schedules to enable a stress-free environment
- Communication – must be honest and open on expectations and grievances – no 5-year-old sulking
Aged parent care:
- Ensure all wills and paperwork is completed when they are in good health
- Research assistance in their area before they need it and have the details handy
- Encourage outside interests to keep them living life
- Where possible engage other family members to contribute to some of the load
- Gradually help them declutter so moving is less stressful when the time comes
Every little bit helps when blending generations and being the sandwich generation that holds it all together. Lastly take care of yourself, as without you the house of cards will most definitely come tumbling down.