The COVID-19 global pandemic so far has demanded adapting to new circumstances. With it, the adoption of new habits and increasing flexibility to endure the health crisis, but a particular group of the population is feeling more stretched than others. The Sandwich Generation.
What is the Sandwich Generation? It generally refers to people aged 40 to 59 years old who are grappling with the stressful balancing act of raising children as well as taking care of their aging parents.
Needless to say — this can impact their finances.
Maintaining a quality of life for both generations needing care and attention is a constant struggle of logistics, time, and money.
The Sandwich Generation Becoming More Commonplace
A 2013 Pew Research study on the age group states that nearly half of adults in their 40s and 50s have a parent age 65 or older and are either raising a young child or financially supporting a grown child. Additionally, about one-in-seven middle-aged adults is providing financial support to both an aging parent and a child.
According to The Wall Street Journal, this trend of caring for both parents and children is only increasing. Those caring for both parents and children has more than doubled, up to 26% in 2015 from 12.6% in 1999.
Even prior to the pandemic, the Pew Research study concluded that these Sandwiched individuals often say they are pressed for time and have stretched finances. The added pressures of maintaining safety in a global health crisis have led to additional stressors.
What may be even more surprising? Count 10 million millennials as part of the generation.
With elder care and nursing homes requesting family members to not visit, more older adults are moving in with their Sandwiched children.
Couple that with their own child’s changing school schedules, closed day-cares, and serious toll on social life.
Both generations rely on the Sandwiched parents to constantly supply the compassion and financial bandwidth to ensure their well-being.
Tips to Keep in Mind for the Sandwich Generation
As these groups navigate this trying time, there are certain actions, habits, and tools worth investing in beyond the standard wearing of masks and reducing time spent outside the home.
1. Be Responsible But Don’t Accept Responsibility
While your financial burden may increase and daily life stressors may seem overwhelming, remember to step back and appreciate the realities you are facing. This can help with the stress caused by the loss of control you may be experiencing.
Adultcare Assistance puts it this way -- “Be responsible but don’t accept responsibility.’
Set realistic expectations. Setting unrealistic ones for you and your family members can accomplish during this time could only cause additional stress. Basically, do your best and try not to put too much pressure on yourself.
Offloading little things can help. Using transportation and delivery services can lighten the load and aren’t too much of financial hit if used wisely. Having food delivered through Postmates, GrubHub and other similar services or groceries from Instacart can facilitate good eating in the home when food prep was the one thing you couldn't get to that day.
2. Look into Getting Some Help
Employing caregivers like nursing assistants to operate out of your home for a couple of hours a day could help with elderly parents needing hands-on care and attention. The main concern with nursing homes is the amount of people potentially contaminating spaces in one enclosed space. The staff needed to maintain those facilities is extensive and it can be difficult to monitor each of their use of PPE and hand-washing practices, as well as their life outside the workplace.
Keeping your loved one close at home with a few professional caregivers providing help in certain areas can give the household some stability and lift some of the tasks of your shoulders.
It also can mitigate risk of passing on the COVID virus. The ability to monitor the caregivers' prevention practices is something you’d have a better sense of than if your loved one was in a nursing home.
3. Anyone Need a Teacher Right Now?
One potential benefit of having multiple generations under one roof is that both your children and parents can engage in planned activities.
Kids needing to release energy and parents needing an excuse to move can play together in games inside and outside the home if you have a yard. Adultcare Assistance also recommends incorporating your parent’s knowledge into your child’s at-home education, especially if it pertains to history. “A class on world history may paint a general perspective of war, politics and international politics. But what if an older relative actually fought in Korea or Vietnam? Perhaps he can help teach a lesson and provide his first-hand perspective,” they said.
Perhaps you could even save on some tutoring costs.
If your aging parent is in a nursing facility or someplace else outside your home, find ways to make video chats a regular activity would be a step worth taking. Those regular check-ins over Facetime can make a world of difference even if it seems slightly unnatural.
4. Free Yourself from the Squeeze
Finally, remember to take time to for yourself. If you’re not currently, stop and schedule some solitude because it’s crucial for your mental wellbeing.
Taking an hour or even 30 minutes of your day to do a different activity that is solely for you can make the world of difference. Having a full house without all the added pressures of others needing your time and attention is already stressful and difficult -- give yourself a break.
And your mental health is an important aspect to your financial wellness.
Academy Bank Wants to Help
Let us help take the financial burden part off your shoulders. Whether it’s a new mortgage or new, joint checking account, contact your representative at Academy Bank with any questions you may have about navigating the changes you’re experiencing.