A Growing U.S. Concern
As the U.S. population continues to age, the “sandwich generation” is caught in the middle, supporting both their parents and their children, whether financially, physically, or emotionally. This generation is the middle-aged generation supporting the baby boomer generation—now the largest generation ever.
By 2035, one in three heads of households will be someone age 65 and older. The American population will have one in five people age 65 or older, increasing 30 million people over the next thirty years. As our population ages, the cost of affordable care and accessible services will continue to grow, and many will find taking care of their parents the only reasonable option. However, the cost of care impacts those taking care of their aging parents as their incomes are at stake with reducing work hours or eventually discontinuing work altogether.
“The “sandwich generation” — a group of Americans who are caring for children under 18 and older relatives at the same time. Twelve percent of parents are part of the sandwich generation, according to data from the Pew Research Center. Sandwich generation parents who are between 18 and 44 are spending about three hours per day on caretaking, compared with similar parents over 45, who do closer to two hours per day. This difference is likely because the younger parents also have young children.” –‘It’s Pretty Brutal’: The Sandwich Generation Pays a Price, The New York Times, Feb.18, 2020.
While seniors plan to stay in their own homes, only half think they’ll be able to stay until the end of their lives and will need to rely on their adult children. Common concerns of aging seniors include:
- Personal care
- Household chores
- Money management
- Getting around/transportation
- Staying active and maintaining friendships
Taking care of Boomer Parents takes planning.
While you never know what your parent’s needs may be as they age, the first step is thinking about what help they may need in the future. Do they have health issues now? Will there be a progression of their illness over time requiring special care or modification of their home? Health problems can make it hard for someone to care for themselves as they age.
Your parents can get almost any type of care at home-but at a cost. Check into home health care in their area and include health care costs (including long-term care) in your financial planning. Health care is one of the highest expenses your family will have, especially as your parent’s health issues arise. Your aging parent may need to downsize to a smaller home, live in an assisted living facility, or a long-term care facility. You and your parents may choose to live near or with family members until you can no longer care for them.
If you plan to help your parents as they age and require care, it’s important to discuss your intention with your family and financial professional and start planning to make it possible.