Approximately 25 percent of Americans are “sandwiched” between parenting their own children and caring for aging parents. These demands, in addition to meeting their own needs, not only push the limits of their time and money, but may also challenge their marriages, friendships and health.
If you are “sandwiched,” I recommend that you seriously and honestly evaluate the demands you face, devise a realistic plan to meet them, and most importantly, enlist the assistance you need.
An elder law attorney may be your best ally in reaching a balance of these competing demands. Start with the following:
Evaluate with Your Parents the Level of Care They Need and Legal and Financial Arrangements: What assistance do your parents need now and how will they be cared for if their need for care increases? Will they live with you or stay at home? Will they move to an assisted living facility or is nursing home care needed? A review of their assets and long term care insurance is absolutely in order.
You, Your Spouse and Your Parents Should Each Have Advanced Directives: These documents appoint another to act e.g. to make healthcare decisions in the event of incapacity (Healthcare Proxy), make financial and other decisions (Power of Attorney or Trust), and determine how one’s property will pass upon death. (Last Will and Testament or Trust). While the time and expense of preparing these documents is small compared to their benefit, the cost of not having them if they are needed can be very high. Advanced directives can also provide for the care of minor children, anyone else you may be caring for, for disabled individuals of any age, and even for pets.
You and your spouse must also plan for your own family’s needs: Including living expenses, healthcare, retirement and college.
Don’t neglect yourself: you can’t help anyone if you do not care for you. Take care of your health and make time to relax and enjoy yourself.