Picture this…A husband and wife who are at the peak of their careers have recently moved the husband’s aging mother into their busy home. The financial implications of this are vast, from the costs associated with in-home care for his mother to things like groceries—not to mention the physical toll. In conjunction, their 13-year-old son is involved in a number of sports and activities outside of school, and they’re consistently putting money away for his college fund.
While the scenario above may vary between families, the sandwich generation is becoming more of a commonality than it was in the past. But who exactly are they? This is the group of people who are simultaneously caring for both their own children and their aging parents. This is due in large part to an increasing trend in couples waiting longer to start their families. At the same time, better healthcare options and developments in technology have helped increase life spans. Combined, these factors have created a growing need for more caregivers.
Helpful Caregiver Resources
When the term “sandwich generation” was first coined, very few caregiver resources were available to provide support for those in this situation. From financial tips to Medicare insurance planning, here are some helpful elder care resources to make the sandwich generation’s life that much smoother.
- Technology solutions: An AARP study found that tech-savvy caregivers use online calendars to create schedules, digital spreadsheets to track activities, online Rx tools for refill and delivery, and more to make their lives a little easier.
If you’re caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, look into trackers like PocketFinder® or GPS SmartSole®. And if you have a smartphone, consider downloading apps like CareZone™ or Unfrazzle to help keep the whole family on the right track when it comes to care.
- Online communities: The web is a valuable place to interact with others who are in a similar situation as you. It’s a medium that provides you with support you might not have realized existed or that you needed.
Blogs, forums, and social media sites create welcoming environments for caregivers to share their questions, contribute stories, and gain advice from others. Try one of these:
- National resources: National departments provide information specifically for caregivers on their websites. Explore the following government resources:
- Administration for Community Living: Here, you’ll find a number of helpful resources that extend a caregiver’s knowledge about common afflictions, diseases, and ailments that might seriously impact the one you’re caring for.
- U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs: A site specifically for U.S. veterans, you’ll find caregiver resources, tools, and testimonials from those who’ve cared for World War II veterans and more.
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Federal resources, caregiving content for specific situations (like those needed for long-distance caregiving), and long-term planning are just a few examples of information you’ll receive here.
- Popular organizations: The person being cared for might suffer a particular type of illness. So, the more specific you can get with the support you receive, the better. Organizations like the Alzheimer’s Association and the American Heart Association feature tips for elder care support. Many also offer local listings for caregiver support groups, which can provide wellness wisdom and a trusted circle for caregivers to discuss their situation.
- An inside look at Medicare options. If you’re not sure where to start when researching Medicare coverage options tailored to your care receiver’s needs, there are solutions. Explore the EasyMedicareSolutions™ tool to receive an unbiased look at Medicare plan recommendations that suit caregiving recipient’s healthcare needs. It even provides insight into total potential yearly costs.
Taking advantage of caregiver resources like these can alleviate some of the pressure felt by the sandwich generation, making it easier to strike the sought-after balance between their professional lives, family needs, and parental support.