Caring for Children and Aging Parents

Caring for Aging ParentsTaking care of the little ones can be stressful enough, but adding an aging parent to the mix can be downright exhausting.  Your aging parent may have medical needs such as Alzheimer’s disease or physical limitations, which can add another level of stress.  It certainly does not get any easier when the kids are home for summer break and everyone’s routine is a little off.

The Sandwich Generation

People taking care of both their children and their parents make up what is known as “the sandwich generation.”  According to The Pew Research Center, the sandwich generation is composed of those “who have a living parent age 65 or older and are either raising a child under age 18 or supporting a grown child.”  

According to the latest Pew Research Center analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data (Nov. 2018), 12% of parents who have a child younger than 18 at home are also providing unpaid care for an adult.

This juggling act can be exhausting physically and financially, as well as emotionally – in fact, according to the 2013 study, nearly 38% of those surveyed said both their grown children and parents rely on them for emotional support.

Having to think of everyone else’s needs and being pulled in so many different directions can take its toll.

Finding Balance

Practice self-care.  Getting plenty of sleep, exercise, and maintaining a balanced diet will help you feel better during this hectic time.

Set up activities both the kids and grandparents can enjoy. This a great opportunity for the grandparents to teach the kids something new (chess anyone?) and for the little ones to practice reading to someone, or engage in a craft. It’s a great bonding time where the two generations can share stories and will leave you with some free time to tackle that never-ending list of tasks.  

Employ summer help. You don’t need to take on the responsibilities alone. Give yourself a much-needed break. Just a couple hours of care a day can be freeing and give you some critical respite time. Here are some tips to finding a caregiver to help your aging parents. Hiring a summer babysitter to help care for the kids, even part-time,  will allow you to spend some time on yourself, get things done around the house, or catch up with your spouse.

Hiring Caregivers  If you do choose to hire summer help, it is important to keep in mind that when you hire someone to work in your home, that person will be a household employee and will need to be paid legally. As of 2024, if you pay $2,700 or more in cash wages to a household employee, you must also withhold and pay Medicare and Social Security taxes for this employee (FICA), as well as federal unemployment taxes (FUTA).

NannyPay, a DIY payroll software that makes it easy to track your domestic employees’ wages, will make calculating your employees’ “nanny taxes” less stressful. While household payroll services could cost more than $1,000 the first year alone, for just $199.99 per year (for up to 3 employees), NannyPay calculates the appropriate withholding taxes, and will even generate year-end IRS Forms W2/W3 and a Schedule H at no extra cost.  These are the federal forms most household employers must file to report and pay their federal nanny taxes each year. Doing your own summer payroll with NannyPay will not only keep you legal, but will leave your family with extra money to spend on that summer holiday vacation instead of spending it on expensive nanny tax payroll services.

Sandwich Generation Stress