Being “sandwiched” between caring for aging parents and young children creates stress, frustration, and, often, economic hardship and concern. As people live longer, more and more people across the generations, from millennials to baby boomers, are increasing their caregiving roles and joining what’s been termed the “sandwich generation.”
Those in the sandwich generation worry about the costs of caring for their parents while also those associated with raising children. Some careful estate planning, though, may help these caregivers avoid the stress of weighing the costs of daycare and college against long-term care and medical expenses.
A 2019 report from the National Alliance for Caregiving and Caring Across Generations estimated that 11 million caregivers (roughly 28 percent of all caregivers nationwide) provide unpaid care to an adult while also caring for children in their own homes. The report found that, compared to prior reports, these caregivers are younger, with an average age of 41. Many sandwich generation caregivers reported that they juggled working outside the home with caring for their loved ones and, not surprisingly, a third said they have a high level of emotional stress. Sandwich generation caregivers provide everything from medical care to common daily tasks, like transportation, shopping, and meal preparation.
There are steps current and future sandwich generation caregivers and their parents can take to help alleviate the financial and emotional strain. Here are a few of the options available and preparations to make.
- Long-term Care Insurance: Long-term care insurance can lessen the caregiving costs, but timing is important. There are other considerations in deciding if long-term care insurance is appropriate, which we addressed in this previous post.
- Helping with Finances: Gifting your parents money, buying their home, or paying for their medical expenses are generous and potentially helpful financial strategies, but be aware of tax and other laws (like Medicaid considerations) before making these financial contributions.
- Trust: There are various ways to set up trusts to financially assist your parents. This includes ensuring they are cared for should you happen to pass first.
- Communicate: Talk to your partner, parents, siblings, or other family members about realistic expectations and ways everyone can help with both tasks and finances.
It’s never too early or too late to estate plan for your parents and yourself. We have vast experience in helping families balance multi-generational needs through estate planning. We hope you’ll call us at 856.782.8450 so we can help you sort through the options and find the plan that works for you and your family.