Jam Sandwich?

Anyone with a living parent or parents (including in-laws) who has kids, has a career, or is self-employed, and/or has a partner is likely what I call a Jam Sandwich. What do I mean by this? There is an undeniable and inescapable shift in reality for the jam sandwich resulting from role reversal. Role reversal is the shift from being a child to having the responsibility of assisting, advising, and eventually making decisions for one’s parents, beginning with one or more of their instrumental activities of daily living, to acting as their power of attorney for personal care and/or finances. As our parents’ age, aspects of their lives will change due to age and time. Denial, both by the parent and the child, is a significant cause of the crisis. So how do you plan to prevent the situation? One of the most straightforward strategies is to outline or classify key aspects/areas of their lives that the parent(s) currently manage. The second step is to check off the areas that will be compromised in the event of a change in their physical and/or mental health. Lastly, identify who will be accountable for either delegating this responsibility or taking it on and the backup in either situation. Many issues will arise once individuals are identified as part of the team that will care for their parents. Three pillars will empower your team: legal, financial, and relationships. There is no prefabricated solution – each family is unique. Some parents plan to live down south, and some plan to use all their finances for themselves, while others plan to leave it all to their kids. Some emulate ostriches in the face of fear, while others are so control-oriented that delegation is virtually impossible. So the best place to start… a cold glass of milk? The start is to sit with a team of specialists and work with them to create a realistic plan of action. I recommend having the following coaches in your group: a general-practice lawyer, a financial planner, and a case manager/social worker. Or you are welcome to attend a seminar with our team of specialists and ask questions before you start this journey. Either way, you’re part of the jam sandwich, as am I.