Life is fuller, in every sense of the word, when you’re caring for dependents. People who are simultaneously caring for senior-aged parents and either raising children or financially supporting adult children are known as the Sandwich Generation. According to a 2013 study from the PEW Research Center, nearly half of all middle-aged adults fall into this category. In addition to a fuller house and longer to-do list, these individuals tend to face more financial and emotional challenges.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to tackling the hurdles that accompany caring for children and elderly parents—such as managing appointments, bills, and even at-home medical care—there are tools and support for Sandwich Generationers in Colorado. A strategic approach and the right resources go a long way; here is a cheat-sheet to get you started.
Use State Resources
The Colorado Department of Human Services has agencies and programs specifically for helping the elder population and their advocates, caretakers, and family members. The State Unit on Aging website and your respective local Agency on Aging can help get you started. It should be your first stop for finding information on meal-delivery services; benefits for veterans, the disabled, and other qualified individuals; resources for caregivers; legal advocates or a long-term care ombudsman; and in-home services for people who need help with daily activities like household chores.
The Colorado Department of Education also has a quick guide for seniors and caretakers that provides a jumping-off point for those looking to choose the right care facility. The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing has many programs for parents and caretakers as well.
Prepare Yourself Legally and Financially
In addition to having medical and durable power-of-attorney documents properly notarized and filed, you should also make sure that a full Will and Testament is recorded with an attorney.
You also want to prepare for the financial hardship of caring for elderly loved ones. The average cost of assisted living in Colorado in 2018 was $4,133 a month, according to Paying for Senior Care. Though taking on the financial burden of caring for someone in- or out-of-home can seem daunting, make sure you’re doing your due diligence to find the right level of care and cost for your family; plus, there are special tax breaks for certain Sandwich Generationers for which you could qualify as well.
Find Support For You and Your Family
Being part of the Sandwich Generation is difficult. Equally important to making sure your aging parent and children have the care they need is making sure you’re supported, too. Take a few minutes to recenter yourself—whether it’s meditating, enjoying a good meal, or talking to friends—it can help you through a tough day. You might also consider support groups or asking for help from family or friends.