If you are a part of the so-called “sandwich generation” of caregivers, understanding how to prepare yourself for the responsibilities you will face is important and our elder law attorneys can help with your planning. Statistics show that life expectancy in the United States has increased from 47 years to 76 years. Because we are living longer, there is now a larger population of seniors who ultimately need caregivers. We can help those caregivers get ready.
What is the Sandwich Generation?
There is a generation of middle-aged adults who are caught between raising their children while also caring for their aging parents. Most of these caregivers are female and are often referred to as the sandwich generation. This trend is basically the result of two factors. First, couples are more frequently starting their families later in life – usually in their mid-30s. Second, as we mentioned earlier, people are living longer because of advancements in healthcare and technology. So the delayed parenting and increased life expectancy have resulted in the sandwich generation. How do you prepare?
How does sandwich generation planning work?
Sandwich generation planning is a big topic of discussion within elder law and estate planning circles. Because people in the sandwich generation are caring for their children while they simultaneously provide support to their aging parents, they face a lot of challenges. People are living longer and longer lives, and seniors are often going to need significant help with their activities of daily living. In fact, seven out of every 10 seniors will need living assistance of some kind eventually.
Challenges for the sandwich generation supporting seniors
When you are providing support for your parents while you are raising your own children, you can be stretched physically and emotionally. If you are working while you are handling these responsibilities, the situation is even more intense. Of course, there is also the financial component. If you are planning ahead financially for college expenses as your children head toward high school graduation, or if you are already absorbing these expenses, it can be challenging to prepare for your own retirement.
At the same time, you may be helping your parents manage their finances as health care expenses start to accumulate. Sandwich generation planning can make things easier if you were to be confronted with this type of dynamic. If you are informed, you can plan ahead effectively.
Living Assistance for Seniors
For many seniors, the increase in the average life expectancy means that at least some portion of their final years of life may require some level of assisted living. As seniors age, they often find that they can no longer do all of those daily tasks that were once considered routine. In addition, many suffer from various medical conditions that require a higher level of ongoing medical care than they can receive in their homes, and you may not be able to provide the level of care that your parents need in your home.
As a result of these changes in their lives, millions of senior citizens require some type of long-term care in nursing homes or other care facilities. Nursing homes and assisted living communities are very expensive, and Medicare does not pay for long-term care. That’s the bad news, but the good news is that Medicaid may pay for living assistance for seniors. In fact, the Medicaid program pays for most of the nursing home care that seniors are receiving.
Since Medicaid is a need-based program, you have to plan ahead carefully to qualify at the right time. People often give assets to loved ones before they apply for Medicaid, but eligibility can be delayed if gifts are given within five years of applying. If you are helping your parents, you should educate yourself about the Medicaid program rules and regulations. Medicaid eligibility can provide peace of mind if you are a member of the sandwich generation who is juggling financial priorities.
Estate planning and other concerns
There are other concerns that can be addressed by an elder law attorney, including things like estate or retirement planning, the creation of wills and advance directives, and more. As people get older, their thoughts often turn to those end-of-life concerns that will directly impact not only their well-being but that of their loved ones as well. An elder law attorney can often help to ensure that these older clients receive the guidance and assistance they need to complete their planning efforts.
If you have questions regarding living trusts or any other estate planning matters, please contact the experienced attorneys at The Potter Law Firm for a consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us at (704) 944-3245 (Charlotte, NC or Huntersville, NC) or for individuals in Kentucky at (606) 324-5516 (Ashland, KY) or at (859) 372-6655 (Florence, KY).