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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Sandwich Generation


What is the Sandwiched Generation?


The definition from Wikipedia reads:  The Sandwich generation is a generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.

According to the Pew Research Center, just over 1 of every 8 Americans aged 40 to 60 is both raising a child and caring for a parent.  In addition, between 7 to 10 million adults are caring for their aging parents from a long distance.
This number will continue to increase. US Census Bureau statistics indicate that the number of Americans aged 65 or older will double by the year 2030, to over 70 million.

Are you traditional, club or open-faced?

 

Carol Abaya from www.sandwichgeneration.com has even identified different types of situations, each with their own challenges.  Her definitions are amusing, yet very insightful:

  • Traditional: those sandwiched between aging parents who need care and/or help and their own children.
  • Club Sandwich: those in their 50s or 60s sandwiched between aging parents, adult children and grandchildren, or those in their 30s and 40s, with young children, aging parents and grandparents.
  • Open-Faced: anyone else involved in elder care. [1]


How do you manage and track important information for everyone? 


We all know that there are very important documents that we need to keep for our own household.  The USA Government website here gives some very detailed information regarding what files every household should keep and have available for different scenarios. Now multiply this by the other households (families) you're responsible for.  That is a lot of information you need to keep safe, sort, find and make available to others when it’s needed.  And sometimes, say during an emergency or sudden illness, it’s needed very, very quickly.

This is the very reason that SafelyFiled came to be.  Most of us at SafelyFiled are in the sandwiched generation.  We are executors of our parent's estates or are responsible for their care full or part time.  All of us have children or young adult offspring who are dealing with college or setting up their own careers.  We all have families who look to us for guidance and assistance, and some of us have grandchildren getting ready to move into the young adult stage or in one team member's case, depend on us for most of their care and well-being. These are big responsibilities and we certainly need all the help we can get.

There are ways to make it easier


You probably could have separate paper folders for each person, with all the important documents in them.  But what if you have siblings who help with the care?  Are you going to set up and maintain their files too?  Can you trust them to do it themselves?  It’s a lot of work keeping track of every change in medication, every immunization, and every password you use to pay bills online.  Do you need to notify your sister or brother every time mom changes her meds or you pay her taxes?

And what if you take a much-needed vacation or are traveling on business?  Your responsibilities don’t stop just because you’re not at home.  What if you needed an actual paper original?  Could you or somebody else quickly find it?  If you’re not at home, could you tell your spouse or one of your children exactly where to find it?

There is no way any one of us could easily organize, store and then find all the important documents in a paper-based system.  And the challenge is even greater when we are caring for family members who live hundreds of miles away. 

Secure, organized and sharable cloud (remote) storage


Unless you have attorneys or accountants on retainer and available to you 24/7, the only way to efficiently organize, manage, share and have access to all the files you need as a member of the sandwiched generation is to take advantage of the remote storage and organization services offered on the internet.  Take a look at them.  Whichever one you choose needs to be highly secure, lets you identify where originals are located, helps you organize, helps you share certain documents with siblings or others and is accessible from anywhere.

And please check out SafelyFiled.  We designed it for ourselves, sandwiched, responsible adults with too much to do, too much responsibility and too little time.  When you use it, we hope you’ll find, like we do, that it makes your life a little easier and that you’ll sleep better at night knowing that at least one of your responsibilities is fully under control
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