We often hear the term “sandwich generation” but really don’t understand the magnitude of it until we’re experiencing it. Sandwich Generation is a term used when someone is caring for their children and caring for their aging parents.
For most people, they coordinate with their spouse in order to care for their children. There are shared responsibilities and possibly hired help (e.g., daycare, nanny, etc.).
The complexity heightens when caring for aging parents is added to the mix. It’s even more stressful when the caregiver works.
If you find yourself in this situation, take action now to avoid burnout. Here are five things to explore with your Human Resources department and manager.
Your firm may have resources to help you care for aging parents. If you’re with a larger firm, you may have discounts with aging agencies as well as support groups available to help you cope. Finding out what is available to you will help you better juggle your responsibilities in the sandwich generation.
2- Flexible Hours
If you need more flexibility during the day to take your parents to doctor appointments, then ask for it. Make up work during the evening. With technology, it’s easier to work virtually.
3- Temporary Workload Reduction
Your manager may be able to temporarily reduce your workload by shifting client work or changing deadlines. It’s worth having the conversation. The worse thing that could happen is they say “no.”
4- Additional Team Members
If shifting deadlines or reducing your workload isn’t an option, then ask for additional help. With more team members on the project, you’ll meet work demands while caring for your aging parents.
5- Family Leave of Absence
Some firms may grant a family leave of absence according to the Family and Medical Leave Act that was enacted in 1993. It may be unpaid leave but will allow you to return to your job. It also allows you to continue having access to your benefits such as health insurance.
This time could be used to set-up your parents – whether it’s finding in-home care or moving them to a facility. It’s also a good time to meet with their health care providers and review their finances.
If there is no relief from your employer, then it’s time to make a tough decision. Can you afford to move to a lesser role with your current employer or with another firm?
It would mean having less income and reducing expenses. But you would have less stress juggling a less demanding job and caregiving.
Another option is to stop working. The gap in your resume can easily be explained because you took time off to care for aging parents. But will you need the mental break work affords while caregiving?
Becoming a caregiver for aging parents while you have underaged children and work full-time, is stressful. While many of us prefer to keep our private life separate from work (especially if you’re in a senior position), instances like being a caregiver take precedence over the general rule of thumb.
Talk to your Human Resources department and manager to explore options available with your employer. You may miss that big promotion but remember it’s easier to rebound from a gap in your career than to make up time with a loved one.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA™, RICP®, CRPC®, is the Founder of Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing spending plans, comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”
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