A Tribute to the Sandwich Generation
Are you one of the estimated 11 million unpaid family caregivers in the U.S. simultaneously attending to the needs of children and an aging loved one?1 The aptly named ‘Sandwich Generation’ is vast and growing. With life expectancy on the rise, parents are living longer, and many will face health issues that require assistance from friends or family members. And data shows that more affluent adults, with household incomes of $100,000 or more, are more likely to be in the Sandwich Generation.
In honor of National Caregiver’s Day this Friday, February 21st, we’d like to pay tribute to those of you in the Sandwich Generation by providing information about the challenges and tips that can help you take care of yourself.
Who is the typical caregiver?
Sixty-one percent of Sandwich Generation caregivers are female, generally a 41-year-old daughter (52% of whom are also employed) caring for her 70-year-old mother for 3.2 years.1 The issues they potentially face include:
Financial ramifications. Caregivers often spend $7,400 per year out-of-pocket providing care, and closer to $12,700 if they live more than an hour from the care recipient. Some of the items caregivers often pay for include3:
- Household expenses, such as mortgage payments and home safety devices
- Medical needs, including healthcare co-payments
- Personal expenses, such as clothing and toiletries
- Caregiver training, travel and legal expenses
- Paid help to supplement gaps in care
Need for support. An overwhelming 85% of Sandwich Generation caregivers say they would like support1, including help with:
- Managing personal needs and emotional stress: 44%
- Keeping the care recipient safe at home: 43%
- Managing end-of-life decisions: 19%
- Managing the care recipient’s challenging behaviors: 15%
Emotional and physical stress. Many caregivers report feeling drained due to the demands placed on them, with one-third experiencing a high level of stress and 44% indicating they’d like information about how to manage their stress.1
Tips for self-care. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Taking care of yourself will make you a better caregiver, improve the quality of your life, and help you avoid chronic diseases such as diabetes and depression. Even when you’re pressed for time, there are ways you can weave self-care into your day.4
- Squeeze in exercise whenever you can. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and park in the farthest spot – because thirty minutes of exercise per day can improve your mood, your concentration and your health.
- Watch your diet. Avoid sugary and fatty foods, instead choosing fruits and vegetables and foods high in fiber to satisfy your hunger.
- Try to get some rest. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting seven hours of sleep per night.5
- Practice mindfulness and meditation. In only a few minutes a day you can relax your mind and body to help counteract the negative effects of stress.
Serving double duty is one of the most significant and potentially rewarding challenges women face, with complex issues that require dynamic planning.6 Luma Wealth understands these challenges, and your Luma Wealth advisor is happy to talk to you about any Sandwich Generation concerns you may have.
Interested in learning more about wealth planning? Please join us for our upcoming Solutions for Women conversation and luncheon.
1November 2019 National Report, Burning the Candle at Both Ends: Sandwich Generation Caregiving in the U.S., National Alliance for Caregiving, © 2019, https://www.caregiving.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/NAC-CAG_SandwichCaregiving_Report_Digital-Nov-26-2019.pdf
2What is the Sandwich Generation, aplaceformom.com, October 5, 2015.
3Surprising Out-of-Pocket Costs for Caregivers, AARP, Family Caregiving Financial and Legal, October 1, 2019, aarp.org.
4Coping With Stress When You’re in the Sandwich Generation, U.S. News and World Report, August 10, 2018. www.health.usnews.com
5How Much Sleep Do I Need, Sleep and sleep disorders, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/about_sleep/how_much_sleep.html
6Women of Wealth, Caught in the Middle: How Does the Sandwich Generation Woman Not Get Squeezed?, Sharon Allen, CFP® and Dennis Stearns, CFP®, Family Wealth Advisors Council, ©2014.
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