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Do you belong to the Sandwich Generation?

As baby boomers and their predecessors age at a time when economic hardships are common for families and health insurance and care is costly, an increasing number of middle-aged adults are becoming part of the Sandwich Generation. The Sandwich Generation are those individuals who care for both ailing or elderly parents and children in their own home. As part of this generation, there are some considerations you must take that other individuals don't always face.

First, by making the decision to care for your parent in your home, you might face medical issues that would normally be handled by professionals on a daily basis. Such issues could range from seemingly small matters such as constant dry skin to more difficult issues of incontinence or feeding issues. Whatever issues your parent is dealing with, as a primary caregiver, you must understand the problem and how it should be treated. Working closely with your parent's medical providers can help you do so.

As a member of the Sandwich Generation, you'll also likely deal with helping your parent with issues outside of health care. From managing a bank account to planning travel, you might have to perform tasks for or make decisions on behalf of your parent. It's critical to everyone's happiness, however, that you don't overstep. Sometimes, parents who need in-home assistance are still mentally able to make such decisions on their own and simply need some help carrying out those decisions.

Finally, you should always be aware of your own limitations and those of your family and parent. Is it actually still safe for your parent to reside in your home, or does he or she require care that you simple can't provide? Working with a professional to create care-planning documents when your parent is still cognizant of such things can help you make decisions on his or her behalf later in life.

Source: National Caregivers Library, "The Sandwich Generation," accessed Jan. 29, 2016

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