The Sandwich Generation
If you are coping with looking after children and ageing parents you are not alone. In the UK around 2.5m people are known as the “sandwich generation”, responsible for looking after 2 generations. It’s a stressful place to be, juggling work life whilst caring for children and parents. As people delay having children coupled with increases to life expectancy more people are finding their time and energy stretched in this way. So what can be done to help?
Plan your finances in advance
It’s important to consider your financial situation as early as possible and plan ahead. Look at your own finances and those of your parents and try to come up with a realistic long term plan. Do you or your parents have assets like a house which could be sold or used to release equity by downsizing for instance? The difficulty of getting onto the property ladder means a quarter of 20 to 34 year olds, still live at home which could scupper your plans. This only adds to the financial pressures placed on families as they juggle the expense of supporting all their loved ones.
Encourage children to help out
Teaching children financial independence is key. Kids can be a constant drain on finances at a time when pressure to meet parental care needs becomes more urgent. If they are going to university they can take part time jobs and become financially self-sufficient. It teaches them good money management skills for later life so don’t be made to feel guilty.
Talk to your siblings
Unless you are an only child your siblings may be able to help. It may be they have no children so their situation is different. Make sure everyone feels involved and be honest with how you are feeling. Can they help out more to care for your parents or spend time researching the options?
Care at home
Talk to parents about their situation and discuss the options available. Perhaps they could move closer, move into alternative accommodation or simply receive care at home. Encouraging parents to accept a little help around the house to keep their independence is a positive first step. A carer can help with chores, prepare some meals or escort them shopping making a real difference. Anything which keeps them active is encouraged and will benefit their long-term health.
CareBIG has trusted carers who can help your loved ones remain independent at home. Read more here.