There’s a new generation that’s not like the others. The “sandwich generation” is always shifting, and we will all eventually be part of it.
The sandwich generation is the generation that’s raising teenagers or college students, but they’re still also dealing with elderly parents. They’re stuck in the middle of the sandwich of life. It’s not an easy position to be in because it’s a recipe for pure stress from every direction in the timeline.
Whether it’s a blessing or a curse, we worry about the same things for our kids and parents:
- Doctor’s appointments & transportation
- Food & shelter
- Laundry service
- Spending cash needs
- Hygiene reminders
I do not recommend that you tell your parent(s) that you perceive them as children. Instead, you can bring up becoming a power of attorney (POA) for them. In the event of an emergency, a POA opens every door, in both medical and legal settings. All the powers contained in a health care proxy are also enshrined in a POA, in addition to the privilege of being able to sign legal documents — something that is a life saver in cases of dementia.
One piece of advice I share with clients is to encourage their kids to make a connection with a money mentor. A trusted person, like an account manager at a bank, can help you improve your child’s confidence in things like banking. The same benefits would arise out of setting your parents on a similar path. The biggest difference is the sheer amount of information available to a retiree, not the least of which is a confusing array of financial products vying for their money.
No matter what the reaction is to your offer of help, the most important thing is to keep open lines of communication with your parents. If you can get them to use Facebook, you can keep tabs on them there. (I bet everyone can think of one Facebook friend that they know too much about.)
Role reversal is no fun for anyone involved, but if you think about it, it’s not a bad option considering what the alternatives are. If you’re looking for a money mentor or money coach for your kids or seniors, contact us.