The Sandwich Generation: Balancing Responsibilities
As a law firm that provides estate planning and elder law services, we work with a lot of people who are members of the Sandwich Generation. This is a term that describes middle-aged individuals who are faced with the prospect of caring for their aging parents while they simultaneously continue to raise their children.
The baby boomers are now reaching retirement age, with about 10,000 people applying for Social Security every day. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the majority of people who reach the age of 65 will someday require help with their activities of daily living. This phenomenon is fueling the growth of the Sandwich Generation, and we assist clients who are looking for solutions.
With regard to living assistance, many seniors can receive the help that they need from family members and friends. However, a significant percentage of them will ultimately reside full time in assisted living communities or nursing homes. Many people are surprised to hear that Medicare does not pay for long-term care. Paying out of pocket is obviously a possibility, but to do so, you need very deep pockets.
The Genworth Cost of Care Survey that has been released annually for a number of years is a very solid source of information that sheds light on the state of long-term care costs. According to the survey, in 2016, the median monthly charge for a private, one bedroom unit in an Indiana assisted living community was $3520. If you multiply that figure by the 12 months in a year, you are looking at over $42,000. The median annual charge for a private room in a nursing home in Indiana was almost $92,000 last year.
Members of the Sandwich Generation often have to work with their parents to prepare for these expenses. Medicaid is a government program that does pay for long-term care, but there is a low asset limit, so it takes careful advance planning to obtain eligibility at the right time. All of this is naturally going to cross over into the realm of estate planning, and the totality of the situation can be very complex. This is why it is wise to develop a plan with the assistance of a licensed elder law attorney.