There is an emerging demographic that has been dubbed the “sandwich generation.” These are people that are simultaneously caring for their children and their aging parents, and they are typically in their late 30s and 40s.
Their ranks are growing because the baby boomers are attaining senior citizen status, and they face challenges because they have to juggle many responsibilities.
Take Care of Yourself
Experts that have studied this phenomenon emphasize several key points to keep in mind. First, they advise people to prioritize self-care above all because you cannot effectively assist others if you are not healthy and balanced yourself.
Of course, this is easier said than done, but you should make an effort to be kind to yourself as you keep the holistic picture in perspective.
Budget Your Time
There are only so many hours in a day, and you have to use them efficiently when you have a lot on your plate. Set up a schedule and stick to it, even if you have to decline some requests.
Be Realistic About the Financial Implications
Expenses can sometimes be incurred when you are caring for an aging parent, and you should not be afraid to speak about the subject. A lot of people will take an “I will find a way” approach, but this can lead to financial pressure that makes a challenging situation that much worse.
Involve Family Members
Let’s say that you find yourself caring for your mother, and your siblings are grateful, but they really do not participate on a day-to-day basis. If you need their help, you have to be willing to ask for it, and this falls into the category of self-care.
If you find yourself spending more and more time at a parent’s home because their needs are increasing, you may have to consider a change of venue. You may be able to do some remodeling and adapt your home to create an in-law apartment for your parent.
There are aging in place modifications that can be included to suit their needs, and you can make ongoing adjustments if and when they become necessary.
You can free up more of your time if you engage an in-home health aide, and in some cases, this will be necessary because of their expertise. It is logical to assume that Medicare will pay for this type of assistance, but in fact, it does not cover any form of custodial care.
Here in Los Angeles, the median annual cost for an in-home health aide last year was $66,352 according to Genworth Financial. This is a lot of money to come up with out-of-pocket, but there is another potential solution.
There is a Medi-Cal Home and Community Based Services waiver that will cover in-home care if you can gain eligibility. This is easier said than done because there is a $2000 limit on assets.
Household items and personal belongings that cannot be sold for a great deal of money are exempt, along with a motor vehicle and a home. When it comes to the home, it would not count, but Medicaid can put a lien on residential property after the death of the beneficiary.
You could encourage your parent to establish a Medi-Cal trust to prepare for potential living assistance costs. They could convey their home and income-producing assets into the trust, and they would be able to accept distributions of the earnings while they are living independently.
If they fund the trust at least 30 months before they apply for the Medi-Cal waiver, the assets would not count. We should point out the fact that Medi-Cal will pay for a stay in a nursing home as well, and this strategy would apply to full-blown Medi-Cal coverage.
We Are Here to Help!
We can help your family develop a holistic plan that will provide you with peace of mind if you are concerned about these challenges. If you are ready to get started, you can schedule a consultation appointment at our Los Angeles elder law office if you call us at 310-337-7696.
There is also a contact form on this site you can use to send us a message, and if you reach out electronically, you will receive a prompt response.