The Sandwich Generation: Caring for Children and Aging Parents
By: 
Benjamin L. Harris, CPA, CGMA

The Sandwich Generation: Caring for Children and Aging ParentsIf you’re a member of the Sandwich Generation, you know the stresses of caring both for children and an aging parent. While the rewards can be many, most of them are long-term, which means daily life is usually filled with long lists of responsibilities.

This role most often falls to women, but not always. Odds are, you know someone balancing—as best they can—the needs of family members of different generations.

Rule #1 for caregivers: take care of yourself. If you are a caregiver (or love one), remember that these very important people need to make time for exercise, decent meals, sleep, and time away from the job of caretaking.

Fortunately, caregivers are not alone. Numerous resources offer assistance in caring for aging or disabled parents. Many are free or low-cost. Check out HHS’s eldercare locator. The National Council on Aging operates a benefits checklist service, and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging has extensive information on caregiving help, plus an online locator to find an office in your area.

If your loved one needs more care than can be provided at home, check out Nursing Home Compare to find and compare nursing homes certified by Medicare and Medicaid. This website contains information about the quality of resident care and staffing details for more than 15,000 nursing homes around the country.

Finally, know when to ask for and accept help. You might find that teenagers develop a special bond by assisting in the care of a grandparent. If you have a friend who says, “How can I help?” be prepared to mention errands or tasks that would lighten your load. When work is broken down into simple steps, it is easier for people to help—and for you to breathe more easily.