The sandwich generation describes many people who are caring for children while also caring for their aging parents. They are literally “sandwiched” in between two generations of family members who are dependent upon them for financial and physical care. It can be financially and physically exhausting to be responsible for loved ones with so many similar yet so very different needs.
Consider Options for Assisted Living and Home Care
Many adult children assume it will be less expensive for them to take their parents into their own homes but other options may actually be less expensive in the end. Assisted living facilities can be a good option for parents who are not healthy enough to be in their own homes without any help, but who are able to be on their own for most of the day.
In-home Nursing Care
For families who decide to bring their parents into their home, in-home nursing care may be necessary. Adult children may need to go to work during the day and likely have their own children to care for so they may not be able to provide care for their parents. In-home nursing care may be the answer. Nursing can come into your home and provide care including daily personal care and administering medication. In-home nursing care is sometimes covered by Medicaid or private long term insurance. Understanding which insurance policies will cover in-home care is an important piece of information to have before signing up for insurance.
Pros and Cons of Caring for Your Parents
Caring for parents at home only works if the parents do not need medical care beyond what the adult children are qualified to provide in their home. The greatest disadvantage to caring for parents in home is the loss of privacy and the added stress on the entire family. If a parent needs a lot of care, the constant disruption to the family’s day-to-day activities can take a toll on the entire family. On the other hand, if parents are relatively self-sufficient, it can be a wonderful experience for grandchildren to spend time with the grandparents and experience inter-generational relationships.
Along with the advantage of grandparents getting more time with family rather than living in an assisted living facility, some say it is more convenient because no one has to travel or spend time away from their household chores or children to visit their parents because their parents are living right under their roof. They can get household chores done or work from home and always be just steps away from a parent who needs care.
Assessing a parent’s medical needs and the level of day-to-day care is essential before you decide whether to have a parent live with your family rather than an assisted living facility. Along with the personal concerns you should also consider the financial burden your family will assume. Some long term insurance will reimburse you for providing care for your own parents, but some will not.
As hard as it is for adult children to assume the responsibilities of caring for aging parents, it is equally difficult for aging parents. It is important for children to remember that parents who need their children to provide assistance are losing control of their own lives. They are in a position where they must rely on their own children for whom they have spent their entire lives providing financial, emotional and physical care. It can be stressful and even depressing for parents who are too proud to accept the help they need from their children. It is important that children be sensitive to how difficult the move can be for parents.