sandwich generation

The Sandwich Generation: Caring for Elderly Parents and Your Children

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The ‘sandwich generation’ is a growing phenomenon in the UK with just over 2 million people involved in caring for both children and elderly parents.

People who are caught in the middle of a care conundrum, caring for children whilst simultaneously looking after elderly, sometimes ill or disabled parents are a growing statistic, and this problem is only going to get worse.

Research has found that the phenomenon has come about largely as a combination of people leaving it later to have children and older people living longer as medical care improves significantly.

What are the Effects of Being a ‘Sandwich Generation’ Carer?

Statistics have shown that those who are in the middle, caring for children and parents, are suffering increased levels of stress and mental ill-health. Add in the strains on family finances plus the disadvantages suffered in the employment market and it’s no wonder that many may be tempted to look into residential care home options for their elderly parent.

However, our No Place Like Home Report highlights how a massive 97% of people would not want to go into residential care but would much rather, understandably, stay in their own homes. But when your elderly parent is perhaps ill or disabled or simply needs round the clock care and supervision the alternative to consider is live-in care. This allows your parent to stay in their own home whilst receiving one-to-one 24/7 care from a dedicated carer. Importantly, it takes an enormous amount of pressure off you and allows you to get on with caring for your family safe in the knowledge that your parent is being expertly looked after and is happy and well.

Research All Help Options

In the meantime, while you are deciding which option is best for you and your whole family you need to look at what help is available for you. For elderly people with disabilities or illness who need help with care or supervision something called Attendance Allowance is available. This amounts to between £59.70 and £89.15 a week, tax-free and is paid directly to the claimant to be used to help pay for care if desired. Direct your parent to the gov.uk website or get them to phone on 0800 731 0122. This could help to ease some of the financial pressure on you.

Are there any siblings or older children who could take their turn in helping to care for your parent? Also, look into whether you can claim the Carer’s Allowance. This is available to those who care for someone for more than 35 hours per week and amounts to £64.60 a week.

However if you need a more permanent care arrangement in place for your elderly parent, maybe it’s time to look into how professional care at home can work for you and your family. This would allow your elderly parent to stay in their own home, surrounded by familiar things, but wouldn’t leave them alone for long periods, something that you may be worried about as part of the Sandwich generation.

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