Caring for Aging Parents: Tips for the Sandwich Generation

Caring for Aging Parents: Tips for the Sandwich Generation

By Steve Crifasi, CTFA, CFP®

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the duties that come with caring for aging parents, you’re not alone. You’re part of an entire generation that’s managing to take care of their own children and their elderly parents at the same time.

As your parents get older, they need more involved support. The days of simply helping them move furniture or read fine print are in the past. Now things like managing their finances and planning their estate are front and center.

Having to care for someone you previously thought was infallible is hardly any child’s dream, but having a plan in place can help lessen the load. It’s time to take a serious look at the legal, emotional, and financial guidance tips provided below.

Understanding the Sandwich Generation

Let’s start with a simple definition. The sandwich generation refers to middle-aged adults, typically in their 40s and 50s, who are simultaneously caring for their own growing children and their aging parents. Essentially, they’re “sandwiched” between two generations that depend on them for physical, emotional, and financial support.

Long-Term Care Planning for Aging Parents

To pursue comfortable senior years for your parents, long-term care planning is essential. Consider the following:

  • Long-term care needs: Determine the potential level of care your parents might need, including in-home care, assisted living, or nursing homes.
  • Living options: Think about various living arrangements. Will they be able to stay in their own home? What are the other living arrangements available for them?
  • Financial planning: Explore long-term care insurance to manage the potential high cost of elderly care.

Planning ahead can help lessen the emotional and financial strain on your family while providing the care your parents deserve.

Legal and Financial Planning for Aging Parents

Legal and financial planning for aging parents includes the following three crucial elements of safeguarding their well-being during their senior years:

  • An updated will (or trust) and advance directives that reflect their current wishes
  • A plan for potential long-term care needs, including cost considerations
  • A power of attorney document for financial and medical decisions in case of incapacity

Emotional and Relational Aspects

Caring for aging parents can be a complex yet rewarding process full of both love and challenges. Here are a few ways you can navigate the emotional toll:

  • Invest in quality time with aging parents, creating memories and strengthening relationships.
  • Encourage open and honest family discussions about expectations, responsibilities, and planning.

Financial Planning for Your Own Children’s Needs

When simultaneously balancing the financial needs of your children and aging parents, it’s crucial that your children’s future is a prominent part of the equation. Here are a few tips to help you plan wisely for your children’s future:

  • Consider utilizing tax-advantaged savings vehicles like 529 plans for education costs.
  • Explore investment options like custodial accounts and Roth IRAs.
  • Teach your children about financial responsibility and involve them in family financial discussions.

Estate and Legacy Planning for Aging Parents

Estate and legacy planning for aging parents involves honoring their intentions for the distribution of their assets after they pass away. Take a look at this summary of the key duties:

  • Create efficient legacy and estate planning that enables a smooth wealth transfer to children.
  • Use estate planning to convey family values and guide children in managing their inheritance.
  • Plan for the preservation and distribution of assets to minimize conflicts and work toward fairness.

Self-Care and Support

Although caring for aging parents and your own children at the same time can be gratifying, it is still often a demanding experience. It’s important to take care of your own needs before and while you’re taking care of others. Here are some tips for working toward your own self-preservation:

  • Recognize the emotional and physical toll of caring for two generations, and seek support when needed.
  • Utilize community resources, support groups, and professional counseling to manage stress and maintain personal well-being.

Get Professional Help

Trying to manage your parents’ financial decisions and conflicting family opinions may feel overwhelming. Professional guidance can make a world of difference.

The right financial advisor helps you navigate the inevitably complex financial scenarios for both your parents’ care and your children’s future.

Our team at Westover Capital Advisors is dedicated to supporting, educating, and providing informed direction to every client. If you would like assistance planning your parents’ care or your children’s future, we’re here to help.

To get in touch, call (302) 427-9600 or email We look forward to hearing from you.

About Steve

Steve Crifasi serves as Associate Director of Wealth Management and Business Development at Westover Capital Advisors, an independent, fee-only, and privately owned investment and wealth management firm founded in 1999 and based in Wilmington, Delaware. Steve provides tailored guidance and works in partnership with his investment, tax, and planning colleagues to understand clients’ wealth management goals and objectives and help fulfill them. Steve thrives off developing personal relationships with clients, serving as their reliable and trusted financial partner; and as a fiduciary, he provides advice that is always in their best interests.

An advisor since 2009, Steve has over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry. He began his career as a research analyst at Penn Square Capital focusing on the equity and private real estate markets and spent over 13 years at Glenmede and Wilmington Trust as a relationship manager for high-net-worth clients. Steve received a BBA in Finance from Villanova University and also holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification and Certified Trust and Financial Advisor (CTFA) designation from the American Bankers Association. In addition to his role at Westover, Steve is a member of the Delaware Estate Planning Council and Wilmington Tax Group. He has also served on committees for several local charitable and nonprofit organizations in and around Wilmington. To learn more about Steve, connect with him on LinkedIn.

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